By MARINA WATERS
Few things mean more to recent Daniel Boone High School graduate Eric Rigsby than the Boone community. And for the 6-foot-1 baseballer, signing to continue his academic and athletic career at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee also had colossal meaning — mostly where his family, friends, teammates and coaches were concerned.
“With signing, doing it in front of my teammates and friends at the school was big for me because I couldn’t have done everything without them,” Rigsby said. “(Being) in front of the Boone community was huge for me. All in all, it was a great day. I felt accomplished.”
Rigsby is a two-time, first team all-conference third baseman/short stop who also earned a regional all-team and an all-state nod during his senior season. But Rigsby didn’t just compete on the dirt for the Boone Trailblazers; Rigsby was also a leader on the hardwood as one of the basketball team’s top scorers. He was named an all-conference basketball player for his junior and senior seasons and also reached the 1,000th point mark this past season.
Though the Carson-Newman signee said it required a lot of time and hard work, being a multi-sport athlete throughout high school was well worth it. In fact, he said if he could do it all over again, he’d even add another sport into the mix.
“Honestly, if I had just played one sport I feel like I would be left out,” Rigsby said. “I regret not playing football. I wish I had played football because of all the people I would have met and the closer connections with my teammates.
“I was always doing something when I was playing basketball and baseball. Right when basketball was over I was starting baseball. With basketball, it just always kept me in shape. I was ready right when baseball started, shape-wise. I always had something going on and something I could just get better at. It just gave me more motivation for sure.”
Of course, Rigsby says that part of his motivation also came from the Boone community.
Rigsby said the highlight of his baseball career has been being a part of the ‘Blazer family — and that connection was never stronger following the untimely death of his friend and classmate Kaylee Rabun. Rabun lost her life in an automobile accident in the fall of 2016. Though it was a trying time for Rabun’s family and friends, Rigsby said the amount of kindness and support shown within the community, touched his heart and left him with a lasting fondness for his community.
“Me and her were very close. We dated in middle school and were so close. Honestly, when that happened it was a heartbreak,” Rigsby said. “It destroyed many people. But just knowing the Boone community was behind everybody and everyone that was heartbroken — the Boone community was right there with them for sure. No matter what happened, they were there and they did everything they could for people who were hurting and were heartbroken, especially for their family because I know their family went through a lot. And they were with them.
“That was probably the highlight of how honored I am to be with the Boone community.”
Up ahead, Rigsby said he’s most looking forward to building new relationships at Carson-Newman, much like the relationships he built at Boone.
“I’m excited to meet new people,” he said. “I’ve been with a big group of people for four years. I’m just excited to compete with teammates and just gain more connections with them. And meet new coaches, professors and people around me.”
Rigsby said he’s ready to embark on his new journey in life, but in doing so, he’ll be carrying a love for where he’s from and what all his community back home means to him.
“Kind of like in the community here, I’m just excited to have another one to support me and will be there for me,” Rigsby said. “I’m excited about that.”