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Memories of former prep football coaching greats

By Frank Giardina

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- IT'S THE TIME of year when I find myself thinking of some of the men who have roamed our area sidelines coaching high school football in the region over the years. Here are some names to remember from the past.

  • Don Arthur, East Bank: Arthur won AAA state titles in 1971 and 1973 with stars such as Lanny Steed, Claude Geiger, Paul Engle and Lester Weems. Geiger signed with Michigan State, Engle with Virginia Tech and Steed and Weems with Marshall. He also had plenty of O'Neals, Baskins, Daniels and Paynes.  He even had a Maggio, not Joe D of the Yankees but a receiver named Mike.  
  • Tom Bossie, DuPont: Bossie coached many outstanding players in the 1960s and '70s, including quarterbacks Glenn Booker, Jim Fout, Billy Booker, Roger Redman and Danny Williams. Williams took the Panthers to the 1972 AAA state championship game, played at WVU and was a Rhodes Scholar.
  • Larry Canterbury, Hurricane: Canterbury was a high school star at Ceredo-Kenova and a college star at WVU for Gene Corum from 1963-65. Later, he became an assistant coach for Colin Cameron at West Virginia State. And was a head coach at Oak Glen and then Hurricane in the early 1980s, when the school was a small AAA. He has been teaching and coaching in North Carolina since 1987.   
  • Homer Criddle, South Charleston: Criddle had the toughness of a Marine with his 1970s South Charleston teams. He coached future college stars and future NFL players such as Robert Alexander and Carl Lee. He also had quarterback Randy Pauley, who went to Kentucky, and Greg McCollam, who worked in pro sports with the Indiana Pacers and Cincinnati Reds. He also coached a several hard-hitting members of the Withrow and Polcari families. His 1975 team lost in the AAA state title game to Bluefield.  
  • Steve Edwards Sr., George Washington: Before there was Steve Edwards Jr., there was Steve Sr., who helped start the Patriots program when the school opened in the mid-1960s. The early Patriots featured wide receiver Greg Edmonds, who went on to play at Penn State on their undefeated teams in 1968 and '69. Among his quarterbacks were Trippi Adams, Billy Williams, Scott Long and Mike Estes. The Patriots won a Class AAA state title over North Marion in 1982.
  • Delmer Good, Dunbar: He always had outstanding teams with the Bulldogs, including the 1965 squad led by quarterback Melvin Walker that lost to Bluefield in the AAA state championship game at old Laidley Field. Good's early-1970s team featured such talent as Tony Harris, Heywood Smith, Jeff Good and Doug Spry.
  • Bill Jarrett, Stonewall Jackson: He coached many outstanding players in the 1960s and '70s, including Ron McCartney (Tennessee and the L.A. Rams), Denny Harrah (Miami and the Rams) and Raymond McClure (Rice). His 1974 team, led by Walter Easley, won a AAA state title over Parkersburg and  is considered one of the best to ever play in the Kanawha Valley.   
  • Mike Linsky, Duval: A two-time Class A state champion at Duval High School in Lincoln County (over Doddridge County in 1978 and Sistersville in 1982), Linsky went on to coach John Marshall and won a AAA state title there, defeating Capital 29-22 in 1996. He lost a battle with cancer at the age of 55 in May of 2006.  
  • Sam LeRose, St. Albans: He was a fixture at Crawford Field in the 1960s, when the Red Dragons did not have lights and played all their games on Saturday afternoons. LeRose was known for having large rosters as he encouraged every kid in school to play football. He coached such talent as Malcolm Calhoun, Reggie Cain, Walt Carr, Donnie Carr, Monty Aheart, Roger Childers and Kim West.
  • Reach Frank Giardina at flg16@hotmail.com.


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