FAIRMONT — Pending approval by the Marion County Board of Education, a new head football coach has been hired to lead East Fairmont High School as Wes Eddy assumes the role vacated by Lou Geary.
Eddy comes to Pleasant Valley from Princeton, where he coached the Tigers the last two seasons, finishing with a combined 10-11 record and a playoff appearance in 2015. Princeton got off to a strong start each of the last two years — 5-2 in 2015 and 5-1 in 2016 — earning a Top 10 ranking early in each season.
“When I took the program over, I think it was 4-6 a year before and they hadn’t made any playoff appearances since 2009,” Eddy said. “So I think that we started to make a little bit of a difference.”
As a Class AAA school, Eddy said that he was proud of the fact that he got participation to a point where the team could compete at the highest classification and also have a JV team.
Eddy previously served as an assistant at his alma mater, Brooke High School, from 2000-11. From there he went on to coach two years as the head coach at Webster County before going to Princeton.
“We are leaving a very good situation at Princeton,” Eddy said. “A great group of seniors will be back, and I think whoever takes that program over can be in a situation where they’re at least hovering around .500 and perhaps shooting for a AAA playoff spot.”
As he heads north to Marion County, Eddy, who played high school football at Brooke and college football at Bethany, is excited to be closer to home and is looking forward to joining a school that has proven it’s capable of athletic and academic success.
“(EFHS) competes very well at wrestling, basketball, baseball, track and soccer — where they were state champs,” Eddy said. “In most of their male athletics, they’re doing very well.
“I would like to throw my hat in and see about getting that program up to standard with the rest of their programs that they’re running.”
Eddy said that he is looking forward to competing in the Big 10 Conference, where scheduling each season’s games will be easier than it was in Princeton.
“Down (in Princeton) we were making some four-and five-hour trips, and it was hard to get our fans there,” Eddy said. “It took a toll on the kids, all that traveling. I think that will be a real positive at East Fairmont — being closer to everything.”
East Fairmont athletic director Rick Morgan said that eight candidates interviewed for the position, all with various levels of experience.
“We really had some good candidates, and it was a tough process,” Morgan said. “We looked really had at three or four of them. It just really seemed like Wes was going to be a good fit for East Fairmont High School.”
Eddy and Morgan have a previous professional relationship that dates back to when Morgan was a coach, and Eddy believes that he will fit in very well with the EFHS administration and in Marion County.
“Fairmont is a great area,” Eddy said. “You have the flagship school of the state sitting there with WVU. Fairmont State is a great school that is doing fantastic at a lot of things right now. It’s just a great fit at the right time.”
Morgan said that in addition to his success as a coach, Eddy came highly recommended from other coaches and previous administrators.
The one thing that Morgan hopes Eddy brings to the program is stability at the head coaching position.
“We need somebody with some consistency,” Morgan said. “He’ll be the fourth coach in the last four years.
“For whatever reason a couple of them left and others changed over. But we just need to get some stability.”
On the field, Eddy said that everywhere he has coached his teams have run an option scheme, and he will determine exactly what type of option the Bees will run once he meets them.
Defensively, Eddy plans to run a 4-2-5 on defense, a scheme that dates back to his days at Brooke.
“Both of those schemes are ones that I’ve been involved with for a very long time,” Eddy said. “I think that you have to find something you enjoy doing, stick with it, rep it and not change every year. You have to be able to find something that you hang your hat on.”
While he has to meet with the EFHS administration before finalizing a coaching staff, Eddy hopes that whoever is on the sidelines — players and coaches — can all gel together and become successful.
“I’m hoping that it’s a gel between the coaching staff and the kids and that we can come together and hopefully, with such a limited time together, end the playoff drought and get those kids in a position where they are competing week in and week out,” Eddy said. “There’s no doubt there’s a lot of great athletes there. That’s another reason I was attracted to that place. In Marion County and Fairmont, there’s a proud tradition of football in that area. I think East is a great place to build a program and try to get some excitement building and see where we can take the program.”
While his hiring is not official until the BOE approves it, administrative assistant in charge of personnel and student services Andy Neptune said that he does not anticipate any issues with Eddy’s hire.
McNamara is the sports editor for the Times West Virginian in Fairmont.