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ALBRIGHT: Patriots’ Ed Davis steps down

Ed Davis never came close to standing as tall as Scott Stephens.

His voice didn’t have quite the same boom either.

The often soft-spoken Davis did though bring with him the same amount of excitement and optimism to coaching as his long-time friend and predecessor.

Davis needed both of these traits as Stephens had constructed a Parkersburg South powerhouse (three state titles and numerous trips to the state tournament) during his time at the school. One the fanbase hoped would continue under new leadership upon Stephens’ departure to assist daughter Kim at Glenville State College.

Yet, Davis held another trump card up his sleeve upon his acension to head coach.

His positive, upbeat attitude stemmed from the fact the first-time varsity leader coached many of the faces he would see on the top team. Five years leading the junior-varsity team tends to help with personnel. The girls responded well to him too.

“He was always willing to give up his personal time to help me with anything I needed,” said Makenna Winans, who was named to the Class AAA All-State first team this season.

“I honestly wouldn’t be the person or player I am without Ed. He doesn’t just care about how I am as a player. He cares about how far I will go as a person and that’s why I respect him so much,” said fellow all-state first team selection Devin Hefner.

Game plans were molded around the talent ascending through the system. Comfort and flexibility fueled his lineups because of this understanding.

Yet, he also brought his own family atmosphere to the team. The girls learned more about one and another during practices as he quizzed the team on various tidbits. This in turn brought them all closer together.

“He would always have us do little team bonding things like shopping for Christmas or running the Turkey Trot and that always made us feel like a big family. I’ll remember those things way more than I will remember the games we played,” said Winans.

This approach to coaching nearly brought state title No. 4 to the school’s trophy case in his second season. South’s starting five were one of the best defensive groups in the state due to a close bond. They were only eliminated by rival PHS, who willed themselves to the first of two straight state titles, by two points.

Two regional co-final losses to Huntington bookended the trip to the state tournament. Division I Xavier player and Mary Ostrowski award winner Jordyn Dawson and the eventual state champion Highlanders eliminated them in 2016.

Lonnie Lucas’ squad then capitalized on the absence of Winans this past season.

Losses his players and himself handled with grace. Davis always found time to give credit where credit is do and carried himself the same win or lose. There almost was a champions’ bravado to it.

However, we won’t know if he will ever achieve a state championship as a head coach. Or we will have to wait a little longer to find out after he abruptly stepped down Tuesday at the Wood County Board of Education Meeting.

According to a letter posted on social media, “God has led me to make this decision at this time, don’t know what He has next for me, but we must always step out in faith and trust Him and His leadings.”

When or if he returns to the coaching ranks remains to be see. One thing is for certain though …. He left a positive impact on those around him.

“It’s upsetting to see him step down because he has helped so many people while being a coach … but I am really blessed I got to play for him,” said Hefner.

Contact Joe Albright at jalbright@newsandsentinel.com.

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