WILLIAMSTOWN - Jeff Givens, who serves as the athletic director and as an assistant principal at Williamstown High School, has taken the reigns as president of the Little Kanawha Conference.
Givens has been an LKC man for basically his entire life, having graduated from WHS in 1981 while even claiming an LKC wrestling crown.
The 2003 Dix Manning Coach of the Year for Class AA/A when he was the head wrestling coach for the Yellowjackets knew he was likely going to get the nomination with Braxton County's Lynn Stalnaker stepping down from his perch.
Photo by Jay W. Bennett
Williamstown athletic director and assistant principal Jeff Givens takes over as the Little Kanawha Conference president.
"I had about as much chance of getting out of this as, I don't know, maybe dying was the only way," jested Givens, who was voted in during the LKC spring meeting at Ripley.
"I've been around a while and obviously I grew up in the LKC. I don't make my judgments on what's best for Williamstown, I make my judgments on what's best for the LKC. I think that garners somewhat respect."
Of course, Givens will be the first to tell anyone this isn't about him, it's about continually trying to make the LKC one of the best conferences around.
The first thing Givens did after getting nominated and approved as president was to get Parkersburg Catholic's Danny Tennant to stay on as vice president. Wirt County's Tim Murray is the treasurer and Roane County's Don Williams is the secretary.
"Tim is a younger guy and has everybody on board with e-mails and keeps everybody posted," added Givens, who noted he only plans to serve his two-year term.
"Tim's very valuable and he's done an amazing job of organizing us. Don is still hanging tough in there, God bless him. I don't know how much longer he's going to be able to hang in there."
Throughout the years, the LKC has gone through many changes, most for the better.
Currently with 15 conference schools and new divisions of East and West instead of the old North and South, one thing that may or may not change in the future is additional teams.
Givens, who graduated from West Liberty in 1986 with a degree in safety and physical education, said the rules for applying to the LKC will remain the same. Schools may come to a meeting with their committee and make their presentation. However, getting out will not be as easy.
"We've put some new things into our new bylaws that if you come in and decide to get out in a year you are paying the conference $5,000 and it goes down $1,000 every year until you are vested after five years," he added.
"This stuff of letting somebody in for a year or two, then redoing schedules and then they have to go back and redo them again, it's not good. We are not going to do that. If you are going to get out, you are going to have to think about it. Now you have to make some kind of commitment."
Not only is Givens, who has a pair of masters degrees from West Virginia University and Salem International University, the AD for WHS, but he also takes care of the middle school aspect for that as well as doing a vast majority of the finances for the school, spearheading fundraisers and running a construction company.
Although Givens definitely has a lot on his plate each and every single day, he's ready to try and guide the LKC for the next two years.
"From an athletic standpoint, I think it still has room to grow," he said. "You've got to continually look at the future if you are in these administrative or management positions."
That's one of the reasons why Givens and other LKC athletic directors have started sending, for example, both the baseball and softball teams on the same bus to away games. It's also one of the reasons the LKC went to the new East/West format to try and curb transportation costs by allowing teams more flexibility in their scheduling.
"It's not too far in the future we've got to do something, no one can afford it," Givens said. "We try to keep getting in front of it and trying to do things scheduling wise as a group so we can allow these kids to go. Eventually, I don't know if the amount of games will be cut or what.
"You hate to say this, but bus drivers salaries and gasoline is going to drive these decisions unless there is some funding that comes up. Some counties, they pay for it so they are good, but we don't have that luxury here. We get a stipend, but I go over it every year."
Another idea that has been bounced around is to try and hold the LKC boys and girls Night of Champions at one venue with not only the championship and consolation game taking place as usual, but also have all the placement games occur on the same day.
"I thought it would be nice for the fans," Givens explained. "If you are really a diehard basketball fan, you could go one day to a gym and watch every team in the LKC and know what they got.
"It's things we're kicking around. If that works out I can see maybe volleyball wanting to do that and some other things."
There are also some new ideas being formulated for 2016 when it comes to conference football scheduling and Givens should be around to see that come to fruition.
"People offer (me) congratulations, I said you offer congratulations when it's a paid job. When it's a non-paying job you offer your condolences," quipped the new LKC president.