Our state lost a sports legend this week with passing of former Ceredo-Kenova football coach Carl Ward, who died at the age of 91.
On Friday, HD Media writer Tim Stephens wrote an excellent article on Ward, who coached the powerhouse C-K Wonders for 28 years.
He won 10 Class AA state football championships between 1963-83. He also had three runner-up teams and posted a record of 244-61-1.
Because his school was “almost in Kentucky,’’ Ward never really got much coverage in Charleston, but he was not the only coaching legend at C-K. Behind every great head coach is an equally great assistant. When I think of Ward, I think also of Dale Craycraft. The combination of the two was almost unbeatable. Ward was the head coach in football and Craycraft was the assistant. They reversed roles in basketball.
Under Craycraft, C-K had incredible basketball success. The Wonders won the Class AA state title in 1968, crushing Charles Town 66-48 at the old Charleston Civic Center. In 1969, C-K won the AA crown again, beating Pineville 48-44 at Memorial Field House in Huntington.
Not only did Ward and Craycraft represent coaching excellence on the field, they modeled humility off the field. Both were quiet and unassuming, never drawing attention to themselves.
n Like Craycraft, one of the best coaches in the Kanawha Valley was also an under-publicized football assistant, Freddie Myers. Late in his long career, Myers coached football at consolidated Class AAA schools such as Riverside and Capital, but he also made a big mark at AAA Herbert Hoover with Joe Cowley.
While at Hoover in the 1970s, Myers coached WVU signees Robin Lyons and John Coutz, future Marshall standouts Ed and Mike Hamrick, as well as popular Elk River athletes Steve Chandler and Allen Chambers. Lyons won the Kennedy Award in 1974.
Former DuPont and Riverside assistant Danny Hill said of Myers: “He was a prepared coach every day at practice. A lot of young coaches could learn a lot by observing Freddie Myers.”
Former East Bank and Hoover assistant Neil Hopkins also had great respect for Myers: “Freddie played at West Virginia Tech from 1967-71. He was also mentored by two great ones in Tom Bossie and Joe Eddie Cowley. He coached fundamentals and details and knew how to relate that to the players.”
Myers is now retired and lives near his grandchildren in the Tampa, Florida, area.
n Fans of the boys basketball state tournament enjoyed watching point guard Kaden Metheny lead University High to the AAA state title two years ago. Metheny is now a freshman at Bowling Green.
He has started all of the Falcons’ first five games and his team is 4-1. The lone loss was at Michigan. In five games, Metheny is averaging over 24 minutes per game and just under 11 points per game.
I am old enough to have seen a young Danny D’Antoni play at Mullens High School in 1965. Metheny’s game reminds me of Danny D. at that age.
n In case you did not watch the game, former WVU quarterback Trey Lowe put on a good show Thursday night as he led Southern Miss to a 45-31 win over FAU.
He threw for 209 yards and two touchdowns and also ran 16 times for 70 yards. Will Hall, the new Southern Miss coach, had to like what he saw of the former Mountaineer.