ALBRIGHT: Patriots’ Mike Eddy leaving is a big loss

Wrestling, a fight between boys’ and girls’ basketball, and then comes into the picture football.

The above ranking stands as the heirarchy of Parkersburg South High School’s Top 4 sports in order of importance.

Sure football might fill the seats, but the grapplers’ and hoops’ teams are known for bringing home the state titles along with having the pick of the best athletes.

Mike Eddy knew these facts when he took the gridiron reins from Jon Bolen after the 2012 season.

He did not care.

The architect of Gallia Academy’s turnaround during his four years at the Ohio school understood the uphill battle he faced in south Parkersburg better because of his previous stop. He faced it during his time with the Blue Devils, especially during an inaugural two-win season.

Kids wanted to be part of a winning program and losing is not fun.

He also understood every young man traveled their own path. Never finding problems with their decisions and accepting anyone who wanted to play for his team.

Whining was never a word in his vocabulary as he coached the kids who chose to come out for his Patriots’ squad. There was no recruiting or under-the-table arrangements to have an outsider transfer in to play.

Would he have liked to have a few of the heavier wrestlers out for the offensive and defensive lines?

Sure, but there was no crying over the fact they chose not to participate in the sport.

Of course, he voluntarily assumed two other jobs in conjuction with his assignment as head coach. Eddy was a teacher and molder of young men.

Two jobs he took seriously.

Preparing those under his care for the real world stood as a sacred task.

His captain-selection process may be the best example of the commitment to the Patriots’ young men. Any potential leader of his football team basically experienced a job interview. If you were going to lead the Patriots on and off the field, you were going to explain your reasons and answer the tough questions before receiving the position.

Interviews were conducted in front of the dozen members of the coaching staff on a strict time schedule.

Answers needed to be clear and concise and all applicants needed an open mind for constructive criticism.

This was if you got past the application process.

Though history may not look back kindly on his 28-34 final mark, Eddy had a successful tenure in my mind. The respect he exhibited to media members, other coaches, and his players filtered through the program. I cannot recall a single conversation with any Patriot player during his tenure not including the phrases ‘Yes sir,’ ‘No sir,’ ‘Thank you’ or any other appropriate nicety.

“There is a lot more to winning life than what your record is,” said Eddy of his final mark and time at South. “I hope during the time I was there the people my wife and I met and interacted with were changed for the better. My goal as a head coach was to make great people. I am never going to forget the people that we met and the impact they have had on our lives.”

His teams also never gave up no matter how dire the circumstances. Schedules stayed the same year-in and year-out too. South would not run from sometimes overwhelming Ohio Valley Athletic Conference competition. After all, the hard tasks do not just go away in the real world do they?

One of those hard tasks Eddy dealt with during his decision process to step away from the Patriots for Logan High in Ohio.

“That is the hardest question to answer is ‘Why?,’ said Eddy during a Saturday interview. “The only thing I could come up with is because it feels right. I was not looking for work but Logan contacted me and I prayed about it and it just happened. It just kept feeling a little bit more and more like the right place for me in my life.

“I was hesistant to have the conversation at first. I love this community and the program is headed in the right direction, but I thought I would at least sit down and hear what they have to say.”

Eddy shared he carried away nothing but positive feelings for his time at South.

“Me personally I don’t believe there were any whatifs, fortunately,” said Eddy. “What I am the most proud of was to see our kids be successful. I hope the lessons they learned from me will be carried with them into the future regardless of a movement into the community, work force, or more football. I hope everything continues to help them grow and mature into the kind of people god intends them to be.”

Contact Joe Albright at jalbright@newsandsentinel.com.