The Press Box for October 16
A couple weeks ago I attended the induction of ex-Paden City high school Coach Henry “Hen” Healy into the Wetzel County Museum. For Paden City, coach Healy set the standard of what a coach is all about. He took his duties seriously and let no one get in his way. I thought long and hard about the influence high school coaches have on their players and how they impact the lives of those who not only play sports but other students as well.
Healy was a master of earning your respect. Just as it is today (but not to the extent as today) there were those who tried to upset the apple cart. However, I can tell you first hand he earned mine. Back in those days there was something called Coaches/Players privilege something similiar to a Doctor /Patient relationship where it stays in the office. You could go into the coaches office or talk to him in private and everything stayed there.
I think that’s kind of where we have strayed from the course. Today it becomes more parent involved and that ruins kids respect for coaches. They no longer want to listen to the coaches, they don’t go to them for advice, and if they do, they take it home and it becomes a problem.
I listened to ex-West Liberty University coach Jim Crutchfield speak on Thursday night last week at the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner. Coach Crutchfield has been a successful basketball coach everywhere he’s been. His career record as a coach is 405-75 with a .844 winning percentage. He’s a two time National Coach of the Year (Basketball Times – 2012-2013). Three time Atlantic Region Coach of the Year (2011, 2012, and 2013. Seven time Conference Coach of the Year and four time Furfari Award Winner for top college coach in the state of West Virginia for all sports.
He started his coaching career at Cameron High School and later coached the Hilltoppers of West Liberty for 13 seasons where his teams averaged over 30 wins per season over his final eight years and won five of the last seven Atlantic Region titles. His teams also played in three of four NCAA Division 11 Final Fours and made the Sweet Sixteen seven straight seasons.
He is now head coach at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, where he’s taken a 6-20 program and turned it into a contender in just two years as they finished last season with a 29-4 record and number three ranking in the polls.
Listening to him speak reminded me of some of the things I heard growing up from our coaches. “Work hard and do it right, they use to say, you can improve, but it takes hard work, listen to the coaches.” Alot of kids are so enamored with their own talent that they don’t realize they still have things to learn.
I believe good coaches develop relationships with all of their athlete. Every single one of them, from the team managers to the star players. They all can have lifelong friendships with their coach. It’s a two way street, a give and take process, where you listen to what coach tells you and if it’s not working for you it something you should be able to talk with them about.
I believe I was fortunate to have one of the best high school basketball coaches the Valley has every known. He told me many things in the classroom and on the court that I still carry with me today.
And I believe much of what I learned from him made me a better person. Even if your not one of the best athletes on the team or the so-called go to person, you can still learn a great deal from listening. Many times I’ve heard people say “are you listening to me.”
I thought about that while listening to Coach Crutchfield the other night. His record speaks for itself and you can be sure that a lot of athletes from the high school level to his present day college players have listened and payed attention. He couldn’t have won 405 basketball games if his players weren’t paying attention. The old saying you’re never to old to learn is sure true. I learned a few things from him the other night just by listening.
Tyler Consolidated got another big win on Friday night and Coach Ryan Walton is now tied for the most wins in school history. The Silver Knights are ranked in the top 10 setting at number nine in Class A. The Knights have two of the best seniors in the state with Mark Rucker and Gage Huffman and are exciting to watch. They also have several young freshmen who have been making their presence felt. I look for them to end the season just where I picked them at the beginning of the year 7-3. The Knights have a tough one this wek as they host Williamstown. Lets hope Walton and squad can pick up win number five and make Coach the winningest coach in TCHS history.
If everything goes the way I think it will Paden City will finish where I picked them in preseason at 5-5. The Wildcats are a scrappy bunch who gave a good Clay Battelle team a tough battle. Coach Heasley has them working. They have this week off and return to action on October 25, for homecoming against Hancock, Maryland. Ex-Wildcat Coach Steve Deem and his 1979 12-0-1 state championship team will be honored at the game.
How about those Wildcat girls. For the third year in a row the Volleyball team has captured the OVAC Championship in Class A. Coach Jennifer Yeater in just her second year has won two straight and has the team setting on a 24-4 record following the win. With only two seniors on the team and several freshmen the program looks good for the next few years. Congratulations on the big win. firstname.lastname@example.org