For the new football coach at Tyler Consolidated High School, family matters.
Better yet, when making decisions which will have a residual effect on the family unit be certain everybody is on the same page.
"There is a lot of work to being a head football coach," said Ryan Walton, who was approved by the Tyler County Board of Education last week to take over the position vacated when Rob Caldwell resigned after the completion of the 2012 season. "But my wife supports me and I'm sure she will put up with the headaches."
Walton played both tight end and linebacker as a member of the Tyler County High School football program. After graduating from high school in 1993, he earned his bachelor's degree at Glenville State College then received a master's degree from West Virginia University.
Before taking over as the high school athletic director three years ago, Walton spent 10 seasons as an assistant coach with the Silver Knights' football program.
He can't wait for that first Friday night under the lights when Tyler Consolidated is scheduled to travel to Williamstown on Aug. 30 for its season-opener. The Silver Knights have picked up a pair of new opponents for the 2013 campaign in Buffalo and Valley (Wetzel).
"Coaching football is definitely something I missed," Walton said. "When the opportunity came up to apply for the head coaching position, it was a no-brainer."
However, wearing multiple hats at the school as both athletic director and head football coach wasn't an option if it didn't fit within the family circle. He wanted input from his wife, Melinda, who was Ryan's high school classmate. They also had two children (JoLee and Ty) to consider.
"My wife and the kids made it to all the games even when I wasn't coaching," Ryan said. "We enjoy football here in the county. They've always been involved and that's what we do."
Producing wins at Tyler Consolidated in recent years has sort of hit a snag. Since advancing to the Class AA state playoffs and finishing 9-3 in 2007, the Silver Knights have failed to close out the year above .500. In that five-year span, they are averaging just 3.6 victories per year.
Walton and his staff are seeking to change the approach of the players within the system. A total of 43 players attended the first meeting conducted by Walton after he was hired as the head football coach.
"We're looking to increase those numbers if possible," Walton said. "It's football and it's physical, so we are trying to instill an attitude of hard work. Players need to put the time in and that's when you get results."
Walton cherishes the support that he has received from administration, the community, players and his family.
"I'm going out looking to make the community proud and make the kids proud, and represent the school well," Walton said.
Contact Kerry Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org