Magnolia High Golf Scramble To Be Held
The 2021 Magnolia High School golf team is sponsoring a four person golf scramble at Riverside Golf Course in Sardis, Ohio on August 28 beginning at 8 a.m. All proceeds from the tournament will benefit the Blue Eagle golf team. As a special feature the tournament will honor Larry Edgell, long time Wetzel County teacher and golf coach at Magnolia High School as well as a distinguished member of the West Virginia Legislature.
Coach Edgell’s accolades as head man of the Magnolia High School golf team span two different stints of service. Larry’s wife, Ceci Edgell, wasn’t sure of the length of tenure of his first tour, but remembers he began the journey in 1978 when golf was a spring sport. Ceci shared a story that is well known in the halls of Magnolia High School when it comes to all-sports banquets. Ceci recalled it was a hot evening on Mother’s Day 1978 with a large crowd gathered in the un-air conditioned high school gym to honor the previous year’s sports teams. Her memory is very clear on how hot it was at the time because she was pregnant with their first child. Long winded presentations were given by Charlie Toth, head basketball coach at the time and Dave Cisar, head football coach, to the sweltering crowd of guests growing more anxious by the minute in the heat. As the award dinner continued, next up was the golf team’s turn to present, and Coach Edgell headed to the podium. Facing the melting crowd he briskly said, “We were one and several,” and returned to his seat.
The thunderous applause and laughter showed his brevity was appreciated!
Larry Edgell is the son of the late John W. “Duke” and Edith Edgell, and was born in Hundred, WV. A doctor traveled to his grandparent’s home on horseback to deliver Larry on November 16, 1946. His early years were spent in Benton’s Ferry and Pleasant Valley, both near Fairmont WV. When he started 7th grade, the family moved to Elkins WV where they remained until Larry’s graduation from Elkins High School. While in Elkins Larry’s parents became avid golfers and joined the Elks Country Club sharing the sport with their children.
Larry served his country giving four years to the United States Navy from 1966 through1969. Two of the years were served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga and two years stationed at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Larry obtained his BA in Education from Fairmont State College. He attended graduate classes at both WVU and Salem Teikyo International, completing his master’s degree. As a Fairmont Falcon, he played one year on the golf team.
Larry’s second stint as golf coach at Magnolia began in the fall of 1988 and continued for 10 years. At the time Gerrita Postlewait served as superintendent of Wetzel County Schools. Gerrita had the difficult job of explaining to Larry golf hadn’t been included in the yearly budget and there was no salary for the golf coach. Larry volunteered to coach the team for free with a promise a salary would be budgeted the following year. As promised Larry began collecting his coaching salary the next school year, but he always transported the team in his vehicle and never received a penny for transportation costs from the county. Larry relinquished his coaching position in 1998 to successfully campaign for WV Sate Senator for District 2.
Coach Edgell is well known in the community for a summer week-long youth golf camp offered at Riverside Golf Course in Sardis. The camp successfully ran from 1989 through 2006. Chris Horn, son of longtime Edgell family friends, Lee and Bob Horn, recalled some of his early days at the camp. Chris reminisced, “I can vividly remember LJ’s (Larry’s nickname) golf camps at Riverside Golf Course in Sardis, Ohio. Kids of all age ranges would be there to learn about this wonderful game.” Chris remembers sitting in the grass listening to LJ and the local golf pro teach them about golf. It seemed LJ had a special talent for keeping all the kids engaged.
Some of the older camp kids always begged Coach Edgell to hit a few balls. That wasn’t something Larry did as he spent most of his time working the camp with the kids in attendance or organizing the next event for the day. Chris recalled a time Larry finally gave in to their requests. Coach Edgell asked to borrow Chris’s driver. “For the rest of my life, I will never forget what happened next. LJ pulled a ball and tee from his pocket. He had everyone’s attention. He placed the ball on the tee, took no practice swings and with one small waggle behind the ball he smashed his drive over the highway at the range!” Chris went on to say all the kids cheered like crazy and just couldn’t believe what they had seen. Chris ended up becoming the most popular kid at the camp that week because it was his club that hit the ball over the highway. Every kid wanted to use his club but no one could duplicate the shot Coach Edgell had demonstrated. Chris explained, “Of course, we were all kids at the time, but, I’ve been trying to duplicate that shot for nearly 30 years now!”
Larry’s work as a member of the WV Legislature also gleans high praise. Jeff Kessler, former member of the West Virginia Senate, has great regard for Larry. Since meeting him in 1998 when they began serving together in the WV State Senate, Larry has become one of Jeff’s dearest lifelong friends. It didn’t take the two long to discover they shared a common passion for public service, their beloved Mountaineer and Pittsburgh sports teams, Neil Diamond songs, cold beer and the same birthday. Jeff explained, “In my 19 years of Senate service, I have met and served with many great men and women, including presidents, governors and others of great distinction, but I have met no finer public servant, more devoted family man, loyal individual or better man than “LJ” Edgell. It has been my distinct honor to call him “friend.” He expects nothing but deserves nothing but the best.”
Another constituent offering approval is Mike Ferro, who was in the House of Delegates with Larry and is on the Marshall County Commission. “Larry Edgell was an outstanding legislator. It was an honor to have served with him. As good a legislator as Larry was, he is even a better person and friend,” Mike admitted.
Larry and Ceci have been married for 46 years, and have two adult children and seven grand children. Their son Josh lives in NC with his wife, Lisa, and the Edgell’s grand children David, Andrew and Lucy. Josh inherited his dad’s love for golf. “It’s impossible to succinctly describe the role golf has played in my dad’s and my relationship. I have countless memories of the game that’s been described as ‘a good walk spoiled.'” Josh explained how golf and his dad have taught him life lessons in honesty and good character by reminding him no matter how good a score may look, one would never outlive the guilt of cheating to record it. “He’s taught me to love the sport whose defining characteristic is relying on and improving oneself through practice and repetition.” Josh thinks he will always love the sport and hopes to be fortunate to share the rich history with his own children one day.
Larry and Ceci’s daughter, Eva Edgell Wilde, lives in Kentucky with her husband, Damon, and more Edgell grand children: Claire, twins Abby and Royce, and Julia. From a very young age, Eva understood that golf was as much a part of the Edgell family as their beloved pet cat. During weekend visits to her grandparents’ home, the kids would tag along to the golf course to see the pro shop and meet their grandparent’s friends. She remembers her dad would always carve out some time to “hit a few” with Papaw Duke. “It was not lost on me then, and I remember with fondness and admiration now, the patience that our dad had for Josh and me while we learned and became a part of his treasured pastime. He not only invited us along, into his sacred world, but enjoyed teaching us the skills to begin to master it. From grip and swing to where to step and NOT step on the green, and eventually, to our utter delight, how to drive the golf cart, he gave us the most precious gift: his time,” acknowledged Eva.
Ceci Edgell is very aware of her husband’s positive influence over the golfing community, but feels his greatest talent lies in the compassion he has for others. She revealed that no one will ever know the many kindnesses he has humbly offered over the years. Ceci also knows she is biased in her thinking but always felt LJ was one of the most naturally gifted teachers she ever knew. Ceci shared, “I thank God every day for the husband, father and grandfather he is. His greatest joy is family: the one he came from, the one he chose, and the one we created.”
Larry’s passion for golf and the children he coached is part of the legacy he continues to build in his community. As much golf as Larry has played over the years, an interesting side note is he has never scored a hole in one. He has, however, scored two albatrosses, or double eagles, which are rarer than scoring the much sought after “ace.”
It is easy to understand why Larry Edgell was and continues to be a great golf coach. Many life lessons are taught on the course learning the rules of the game of golf. Things like trust, integrity, honor and respect are just a few. They also happen to be the same words people use when speaking about Larry Edgell and his impact on his community. Thanks, Coach, from all the kids both young and old you mentored along your journey. We continue to watch and learn from your example.