PARKERSBURG - Mike Eddy's first season at the Parkersburg South football helm is still in its infancy, but the Tyler County native is looking "to do something here at South that hasn't been done before."
Mike DeVol won a state football championship for the Patriots in 2003, but Eddy noted that since South fielded its first varsity football team in 1968, that's been the only one.
So Eddy "wanted to have an opportunity to build something, to try to put together a program that could withstand winning multiple championships. And that's my goal here - let's see if we can put together six, seven, eight solid years of competitive football and challenging for state championships. I probably should be shy about saying it, but I haven't been. I expect us to be doing that."
He believes "the pieces to do that are here. Now it just falls on us as coaches primarily to make sure we get all the pieces in the right place, so that those things can happen."
Eddy came to South from a four-year head coaching stint at Gallia Academy, down the Ohio River in Gallipolis, Ohio
But before that, he did spend five seasons as an assistant on Bernie Buttrey's staff at Parkersburg High.
* Aug, 30: at Ripley
* Sept. 6: Linsly
* Sept. 13: Morgantown
* Sept. 20: at Warren
* Sept. 27: at University
* Oct. 4: Open
* Oct. 11: John Marshall
* Oct. 18: at Brooke
* Oct. 25: Greenbrier East
* Nov. 1: at Wheeling Park
* Nov. 8: Parkersburg
Eddy said that "it was a very, very difficult decision" he had to make to leave Gallia for the South job
Especially, he added, "since it came on the heels of one of the best seasons in recent school history there, and all those kids were juniors, so they were coming back this year. So from that standpoint, it was difficult to leave
"It was a tough call, but this gave us an opportunity to come back here. Parkersburg is what we consider our adopted home. In those five years we spent here before, we just fell in love with it."
Eddy and his South staff "had 80 kids in our three-week coaching period in June. So we have a large freshmen class as of right now - around 30 boys, which is a great place to start."
Meanwhile, Eddy noted, "Our upperclassmen are still in the process of trying to learn the new expectations we have for them. So like I said, the numbers are where we need them to be at this point in the process."
Of course, one of those challenges Eddy and his coaching staff face this season is the Patriots' high graduation losses over the last two years.
"We just graduated 14 seniors, most of whom were starters," said Eddy. "Even though we have a large senior class this year, most of them haven't necessarily played from a varsity standpoint. Most of those guys were JV players last year. So a lot of those guys we're going to start this year haven't had a lot of Friday night experience. So for us, that's the thing that we haven't been able to evaluate yet: how do these guys perform under pressure? And that's the part we haven't been able to really assess to this point."
Although, Eddy stressed, "during that three-week period, they did a great job picking up and grasping all the details of the concepts we were wanting them to learn. So I think going into August, we're where we need to be."
Nothing much, however, as far as starting positions are concerned have been positively determined yet. But Eddy said, "We have a pretty good idea of who's going to able to do what for us. But you don't know anything for sure until we actually get into playing some 'live' football with full gear on in practice in a couple weeks. Then we'll be able to pinpoint a little bit more who can and can't do what."
Eddy likes that the annual PHS-South football game has now been moved back, starting this year, from the middle of the season to the last game. "I think that's where it should be," he said. "Obviously, I'll feel a little bit more pressure that week than most this year."
A running back in his playing days, Eddy - a 1996 Fairmont State graduate - will be the defensive coordinator and coach the offensive line for the Patriots this season.
On his team's 2013 schedule, that starts with South visiting Ripley on Aug. 30, Eddy thought that "this is by no means an easy football schedule. Not mentioning any teams in particular, I would like to say that we should be able to go out and, if we did nothing else, just play and win four games. It's those other six games where you actually have to earn your money - as players, not necessarily as coaches. Those are the six games where we really find out who we are."