A good guy stepped down as Herbert Hoover’s football coach last week. And he had a very good reason for it.
Tim Meyer, after 11 seasons as the Huskies’ head coach and 20 seasons overall on the team’s staff, decided to exit the job he held for so long. What I’ll always remember about his time there was his ability, in the most adverse conditions, to hold the program together.
When the Elk River destroyed Hoover’s old building in 2016 and left Joe Eddie Cowley Field uninhabitable for weeks, the Huskies had every excuse to punt on that football season. They had to lift weights in one spot and practice in another. They had to lug equipment to and fro and had their class schedules upended having to share Elkview Middle with the middle school students.
All this, while so many players dealt with various degrees of rebuilding their homes.
The Huskies could have packed it in, but Meyer and his staff kept the season from falling apart. The result was an astounding seven-win season and a Class AA playoff berth. When Hoover fans remember Meyer’s contributions to the program, that has to be at the top of the list.
But Meyer decided to step away last week because of what was at the top of his list — his family and his 8-year-old son, who he wants to watch grow up more than just between film sessions.
I think some people forget about the time requirements high school coaches have. I think some others don’t think about it in the first place. It’s not just practices and games. It’s offseason conditioning. It’s weekend film sessions. It’s being there at all hours of the day, maybe to instill some discipline, maybe to be a sympathetic ear.
The stipend for a high school football head coach in Kanawha County this school year is $4,200. That’s a nice boost, but break down how much time is spent coaching, and the per-hour average isn’t so lucrative. And football coaches have the largest stipends among the sports. Other sports offer much less, so it really is a labor of love.
I totally understand when a coach with a young family decides to put away the whistle and focus on being a mom or a dad. It is the most important job above all others. And I appreciate the sacrifices coaches make in their personal lives to be there for those athletes. They look at those kids like their own.
So when you’re in the stands and your blood pressure is rising because a coach has your kid playing a defense you’d never pick in a million years, remember what those coaches are giving up to be on the sideline in the first place. And give those coaches some space when their kids run up to give them a hug after the game.
When I started scanning ESPN’s list of the top 150 coaches in college football history for West Virginia connections for Wednesday’s column, I was thinking to myself, “Man, I sure hope I don’t miss one.”
Sure enough, I did. A big one, too.
A couple of eagle-eyed readers (Hey! I have readers!) pointed out that former Southern Cal coach John McKay was born in Everettville, a town that no longer exists, and grew up in Shinnston.
Ya know, no big deal missing him. Only a guy who won four national titles with the Trojans. Add him to that already esteemed list, and, man, there’s no doubt the Mountain State can grow itself some college football coaches.