GRAFTON -- As the June workouts for Grafton High School’s sports programs have been underway during the past few weeks, and a few of them will continue this week, three new coaches have been getting a feel for their respective programs.
Well, maybe we should say two and a half new coaches, since coach Bryant McCarthy actually took over the boys’ soccer team late in the 2011 season, after several players, and a couple of coaches, had left the sidelines for various reasons.
McCarthy married a former Grafton High School athlete, Jenny Gallaher, and then the young couple moved into our community.
He played high school soccer at Weir, before graduating from that school in the spring of 1998. McCarthy also played college soccer at Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, and then transferred to West Virginia University. Between his time at those two institutions of higher learning, he picked up a degree in business, and another one in history.
McCarthy is currently employed at Taylor County Middle School, serving as a special education teacher, and working under his mother-in-law, principal Pam Gallaher.
“I was successful in high school, scoring 94 goals during my career, and I went to Waynesburg to continue my soccer career on the college level.” McCarthy said. “So, I know a little bit about this sport.
“I hope to work with these boys that want to represent Grafton High School on the soccer fields of North Central West Virginia,” McCarthy continued, adding, “I also want to build some confidence among our kids, and make this program more successful than it has been during the past few seasons.”
The Bearcats have posted back-to-back winless seasons, finishing 0-19 in 2010, and then winding up 0-15-1 in 2011, while extending their current winless streak to 36 games in a row, dating back to a 3-1 sectional play-off win over Notre Dame on October 22, 2009.
“Right now, I’m just trying to find some athletes to mold into a ‘core-group’ of kids, then I hope I can teach them how to play some competitive soccer,” McCarthy said. “But, the first step is simply building some confidence among the boys in this program.”
Another new face belongs to Karen Anderson, who is taking over the Grafton High School Girls’ Volleyball Program.
The Lady Bearcats were 4-22 in 2011, under the guidance of coach Sarah Sine...Plus, they were 4-19 in 2010, under the guidance of coach Janon Klug...So, Simmons will become the third different coach in three years for this program, as well as, the seventh coach during a span of 20 years.
Anderson is employed as a secretary in the Taylor County Board of Education Office. She was a member of the final graduating class of Flemington High School in the spring of 1990, after playing girls’ basketball for coach Rod Auvil. After high school, she attended Fairmont State College, earning a degree in nursing.
“My daughter, Brianna, plays volleyball, so I have coached this sport at a recreational-league level before,” coach Anderson told the Mountain Statesman. “I plan to teach some basic skills, and try to make this program more competitive.
“The girls are practicing hard right now, and we have had some good days with solid workouts, so far,” continued coach Anderson. “We have two returning starters, Emily Holmes and Brittany Marcavage, to build around,.”
Last November, the Grafton High School Cheerleading Program was in turmoil, with an interim coach doing the best she could do under the extreme circumstances that she inherited the squad in at the last minute. There were several defections, for various reasons, among the group, and several injuries to some of the girls, who were determined to stick out the season. As a result, the squad did not even enter their regional competition.
However, new coach Diana Simmons is determined to get this ship back into the water, so to speak. “I have always wanted to get into coaching.” She says. “Plus, this program needs to be rebuilt, around a strong group of senior leaders...For the most part, we did not have a senior on this squad last year.
“My main goal is to rebuild a competitive atmosphere, so this program will be reflected in a more positive manner,” Simmons added. “And, I also want to make sure that the kids will have some fun, while we are still in the process of working hard to become more competitive.”
Simmons, who cheered when she was in high school, is employed by the Taylor County Board of Education as a school nurse. She graduated from Grafton High School in the spring of 1987. Then, she attended Alderson-Broaddus College, and went to Marshall University, majoring in nursing, and then education.
In addition to these three new coaches, the Taylor County Board of Education also renewed several other coaching contracts during a recent meeting, including: Lorraine Isner for Grafton High School Girls’ Soccer; Jeremy Loomis for Taylor County Middle School Girls’ Volleyball; Kim Wood for Taylor County Middle School Cross Country, as well as, at Grafton High School for the assistant girls’ track & field position; Keith Zebley for the assistant wrestling position at Grafton High School; Roger “Deuce” Ware for Taylor County Middle School Wrestling; Hartsell Keener for Grafton High School Girls’ Softball; Matt Dillon for Grafton High School Baseball; Jeff McCloy for the assistant baseball position at Grafton High School; Paul “P. D.” Louzy as the assistant boys’ track & field coach at Grafton High School; and Shane Rogers as the assistant tennis coach at Grafton High School.
Also, new coaching contracts were extended to: Eva Robinson for Taylor County Boys’ Basketball; and Robert Neason for the assistant boys’ basketball job at Taylor County Middle School.