When Tyler Warner was attending Parkersburg High School, one of his summer traditions was to attend the annual kicking camp at Stadium Field put together by Big Reds assistant football coach Mark McCullough, who now serves as one of the team's radio broadcasters.
Now that Warner has graduated from both PHS and Marshall University, he believes it is his calling to give something back to the community that supported him.
Thus, this Friday and Saturday, Stadium Field will be the site of the Tyler Warner Kicking Camp. Registration for the camp will take place from 9 to 9:30 a.m. on Friday.
In addition to Warner -best known in Parkersburg for kicking a state record 50-yard field goal in the 2006 Class AAA state championship football game -other instructors include former Ripley High School and University of Kentucky kicker Mark Johnson, former Ravenswood High School and West Virginia University kicker Frank Nestor and Tyson Gale, a Marshall University linebacker who also served as the team's longsnapper.
The two-day camp is for youngsters entering middle school and high school this fall. Warner said one 11-year-old who already has the skills to keep up with the older kickers also will be in attendance.
Cost of the camp is $150. Warner will use the funds to support his next project. In April, he will be heading to Lexington, Ky., where he will be working with University of Kentucky athletes as part of Athletes In Action, a group of athletes whose mission is to spread the word of Christ.
Warner has been a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and has decided to put off going to chiropractic school to join Athletes In Action.
"It's what God wants me to do,'' he said.
Warner spoke with McCullough about reviving a kicking camp at PHS. He quickly learned just how much work is involved in coordinating such a major project.
Warner has designed and distributed flyers promoting the camp. He's worked with PHS Athletics Director Lori Lowers to secure the use of Stadium Field. He's ordered T-shirts for the campers and has arranged for each camp participant to be videotaped so they can see themselves on film.
I remember arriving at the Big Red dressing room early on practice days to do interviews with coach Bernie Buttrey. One of the always present members of the team would be Warner, who would volunteer his services tutoring his teammates on classes in which they were having difficulty.
When Marshall University Athletics Director Mike Hamrick spoke to the Parkersburg Rotary Club, he cited Tyler Warner as the ultimate example of a student-athlete.
As we get older and more set in our ways, we wonder if the younger generation will continue the community traditions.
Then we hear about someone like Tyler Warner and we get that comforting feeling that everything will be just fine.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org