PARKERSBURG -After leading the Parkersburg High School Big Reds to a record of 14-15, coach Alan Burns was recognized as the Mountain State Athletic Conference's baseball coach of the year.
An award voted and decided by all the coaches within the conference, Burns felt not only happy to receive the award, but honored as well.
"It means a lot, with other contenders for it like Ripley, it shows it's not a popularity contest," Burns said.
This was the first time Burns has won this award and he feels it is the greatest one to win.
"It means more than any other award because it shows respect for not only you, but your program," Burns said.
When asked what he felt led to his recognition, Burns said it was because of how the Big Reds played.
"The kids got some key wins this year," Burns said.
Burns also noted that he feels his team earned respect as well as recognition.
"Well when you knock off the No. 1 team in the state, you earn respect," Burns said.
Burns has been coaching for 34 years, first coaching American Legion baseball for 10 years before leaving for Harrisville High School. The three years he coached the Gators, he managed to lead the team to a championship title, the first one the school had earned in 15 years.
When Burns first arrived in 1989 at PHS, he was an assistant to head baseball coach Larry Rhodes. He continued as an assistant for 10 more years until taking over as head coach in 1999.
This year, the Big Reds won their opening round sectional game against Parkersburg South, then dropped two straight to the Patriots.
"We were really competitive, our season had it's ups and downs, it was disappointing losing in the sectionals," Burns said.
PHS finished fourth in the 16-team Mountain State Conference, its highest finish in the league.
Already looking forward to next year, Burns has his mind on the future.
PHS lost nine seniors to graduation, which will present Burns and his staff with a major challenge.
"I have an incredible coaching staff," Burns said of his assistant coaches Mike Goodwin, Mike Allan, Andy Patrick, Jesse Young, Tim Barnett and Brett Burns.
"It is going to be tough,'' he said. "Next year's boys will be young so we are going to have to do a good job coaching them up."