CHAPMANVILLE — It’s never easy to replace someone like Danny Godby.
George Barker said he will do his best.
Barker, the Chapmanville Regional High School football coach, was named recently to replace the retiring Godby as the new CRHS athletics director.
Barker, a Chapmanville High School graduate, has been the Tigers’ football mentor since 2004, leading the team to six straight winning seasons and five Class AA playoff appearances in a row. Last year, Chapmanville went 9-4 and reached the state semifinals for the first time in school history.
Barker said he’s excited about his new role as the Chapmanville AD.
“Coach Godby did a great job here,” Barker said. “All I’m going to try to do is continue everything that Coach Godby has done and just do the best that I can with it. Doing both (football and AD) I’m going to need some help from everyone else involved, particularly during the football season, but my role will be to help all of the coaches be successful in their programs. We’re going to try to be as competitive as we can be and do everything the right way. What we want to teach our kids is the right way to compete. I hope we can continue to do that.”
As Barker enters his new job, Chapmanville athletics are in a strong state.
Just about every program — from football, basketball, baseball and softball on down to volleyball, tennis and golf — have enjoyed recent success on the ballfields and hardcourts.
Chapmanville’s baseball team, coached by Eric Ellis, won the 2011 Class AA state championship — the school’s first since 1997.
The Chapmanville girls’ softball team, led by veteran head coach Ronnie Ooten, have won the 2A state championship five times in the last 14 years, including back-to-back crowns in 2009 and 2010.
Coach David Williamson’s Lady Tigers’ basketball team went to the state tourney a couple of seasons ago after bringing home the regional championship.
Chapmanville golf, led by Tommy Kirk, and the Lady Tigers’ volleyball squad, led by head coach Angie Willis, have also been very good. Last season, the girls’ volleyball team at Chapmanville went 22-8. The Chapmanville tennis squad, coached by Don Saunders, enjoyed its best season in many years duiring the ‘12 campaign.
“We are real blessed to have a great community around us that back our school,” Barker said. “We’ve also been blessed to have great individuals such as Coach Godby who had the vision to do the right things. It’s a great place to work and I’m glad to be part of it.”
As far as Chapmanville athletics is concerned the center subject right now is the boys’ basketball program.
Last month, the resignation by three-year head coach Harry Kirk was a surprise to most. Kirk took the Chapmanville job in 2009 and turned around the Tigers’ basketball team, leading CRHS to a 45-26 mark the last three seasons, including a Cardinal Conference championship.
Kirk was the former longtime head coach at Harts High School and led the Lions to two Class A state titles. He replaced former coach Dave Elkins, who had a seven-year mark of 73-91 as the Tigers’ mentor from 2002-09.
Since Kirk’s departure, the talk has been about his replacement.
Who will it be?
Two names had been tossed around early on — Logan High School assistant coach Brad Napier, a Harts native, and former Chapmanville assistant coach Jody Harless, who served under both Godby and Elkins with the Tigers’ hoop program.
However, over the last few days, a new front-runner has emerged — Allan Hatcher.
Hatcher, the father of Logan basketball coach Mark Hatcher, had most recently been the head coach at Perry Central High School in Hazard, Ky. He reportedly resigned his post there just a few days ago.
The elder Hatcher has already reportedly taken a teaching job at Chapmanville Regional High School and was at school on Monday. It appears now that he’s the strongest candidate for the job.
Barker said the basketball job has yet to be posted, however, by the Logan County Board of Education.
However, one person close to the situation at CRHS said of Hatcher, “He’s here at school and began his teaching job today if that tells you anything.”
“You have to go through the posting process and you have to post the job and open it up for bids. It hasn’t been posted yet,” Barker said. “I’m sure if this is the case and he’s here and he’s interested he would be a viable candidate. We still have to go through that process. The Board of Education will hire the basketball coach. I’m not Oliver Luck. I don’t get to pick them. The only thing that we’ll do is go through the process and see what the final outcome is.”
Under Hatcher last season, Perry Central was 23-5 but was beaten 46-42 by Buckhorn in the post-season. Two years ago, Hatcher led Perry Central to its first-ever 14th Region championship and trip to Kentucky’s Sweet Sixteen at Rupp Arena in Lexington.
Before his five-year run with the Commodores, Allan Hatcher had a successful run at Graves County, Ky., leading the team to 10 regional championships and two Sweet Sixteen Final Fours.
In West Virginia, Hatcher was the former coach at Williamson High School and led the Wolfpack to a pair of state championships. He has more than 700 career wins under his belt.
If Allan Hatcher is hired, the Hatchers would form a father-and-son coaching combo at Chapmanville and Logan — schools only 10 miles apart.
Chapmanville and Logan did not play each other last season as the county series was put on hiatus. Logan won every meeting with the Tigers since the series was resumed in 2002 — a winning streak of more than 20 games.
It’s unclear if the Tigers and Wildcats would meet during the 2012-13 roundball season as each team’s schedules have yet to be released.