In case you hadn’t noticed, these are challenging times for coaches. Today’s climate is different. As a result, coaches don’t always stay in one place for very long.
If you look around the country, one ill-advised act, one loss of temper, one slip of the tongue, one harsh or sarcastic word can get a coach fired.
It’s hard to be perfect. Coaches are often expected to not make mistakes. Their bad decisions and imperfections are also on public display for all to see. Their win-loss records are used as measuring sticks.
Add to that the fact that parents are more involved today. We also now have fantasy baseball, fantasy football and other games that cause everyone to think that they can be a coach or a general manager. It is not that easy. Just because a play works on Xbox or Madden does not mean it will work on the actual playing field.
In years past, many coaches in the Kanawha Valley were respected and impactful figures in their schools. This is not a complete list, but here are some of the coaches that I remember from the era of the 1960s and 1970s.
Don Arthur: Known as “The Duke,” he led East Bank to Class AAA state titles in 1971 and 1973.
Tom Bossie: He coached football and wrestling at DuPont, and he also taught life lessons, like the value of a firm handshake.
Steve Edwards Sr.: His sophisticated passing attack was ahead of its time.
Delmer Good: His Dunbar teams were always tough and athletic.
Corky Griffith: Not many coaches enjoy life more than Corky. He coached DuPont to state title games in 1976 and 1978.
Jim Hamrick: The father of Herbert Hoover football. When Clendenin and Elkview merged to form Hoover, Hamrick built the program.
Bill Jarrett: He had great teams at Stonewall Jackson and produced NFL players such as Dennis Harrah, Ron McCartney and Walter Easley.
Jim Jarrett: The former coach at all-black Garnet High School in the 1950s, Jarrett became an assistant at Charleston High. He was also an outstanding history teacher.
Sam Larose: A coaching legend at St. Albans, respected by all.
Jon Loftis: He had good teams at Nitro in early 1970s. He and Pat Vance were respected Nitro coaches.
Forrest Mann: It’s easy to coach at big schools with talent. He coached at Cedar Grove and Sissonville, where it was not easy to win. His teams often overachieved.
Mickey McDade: Charleston Catholic used to play physical, tough football. He sent players to Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, WVU and Marshall.
Joe Sawyers: A coaching legend at Sissonville. The stadium there bears his name.
Joe Snodgrass: If DuPont played it, he coached it. He was an assistant in football and head coach in basketball and baseball. He was also an outstanding teacher and later a beloved administrator.
Frank Vincent: He earned statewide notice when he coached Charleston High to AAA state football titles in 1968, 1969 and 1970. He played and coached at Glenville State.