TALLAHASSEE, Fl. (WTXL) — On October 27, 2014, Seminole softball alum, Dana Bailey Coya died after a battle with cancer. On the same day, five years later, #6's legacy lives on through her teammates and the Seminole softball program.
A few of Dana Coya's teammates began a fundraising effort for a memorial locker in honor of the former infielder. For teammate, Myssi Calkins Brown, she remembered Dana as going "all out" in everything she did.
"She came on our Halloween weekend recruiting trip and was just dressed head to toe as a cheerleader," explained Brown. "I was like, 'who is this cheerleader chick?' but little did we know, it would be so fitting for her because she dressed up that year as a cheerleader, but she was a cheerleader on the team, she was always rooting everybody on."
Dana was originally from Louisiana. When she came to Florida State, she played infield and center field. Brown said while at Dana's funeral, she had the privilege of sharing about her time with her teammate. She explained that, at first, she didn't care for Dana, but eventually she was won over by Dana's strong personality. "She won my heart over like she did with everyone and we were best friends. I was there until the end, at the hospital. You just couldn't not be won over by her personality, how fun she was. She was not afraid to even come to recruiting trips and be larger than life, all out. She was like that off the field, and definitely like that on the field, with her effort, her attitude, and her encouragement for others."
Dana's teammates said they set the fundraising goal for the memorial locker at $50,000. "We wanted to do, not only the locker in her honor, but be able to have some to go to the team for their different purposes, to the dugout club, and just for softball specifically, to just show the support, not only the impact of Dana and her life, but just the commitment from alumni and former players to say we are all family," said Brown.
The locker will also be a reminder for current players that the FSU softball alumni will always be there for them.
Lonni Alameda the FSU head softball coach added, "It brings back the special feeling of what family means, what it means to be a teammate. The excitement to wear the jersey every day, sometimes you get in the grind of it, and you forget this, so this pulls you out to the bigger picture. And I think, honoring Dana Coya today with her family here, really brings perspective to just kind of have as much fun as you can, and try to be the best teammate and best version of yourself you can be daily."
Dana's two oldest children were on hand for the event, along with her father and several other family members. Her oldest son, Josh, was given a ball to throw out the first pitch of the exhibition game against Rollins.