Fred Colvard 1942-2021
Fred Colvard, the only ever Logan County high school football player to win the Kennedy Award, is being remembered.
Colvard, a Logan High School graduate and winner of the 1959 Kennedy Award, given to the state of West Virginia’s top prep football player, passed away on February 9 at his home in West Palm Beach, Florida, at the age of 78 after a valiant fight against cancer.
Colvard later went on to play collegiate football at WVU and Florida State and professionally with the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League and the minor league Charleston Rockets of the Continental League.
During his senior season in 1959, Colvard, a halfback turned quarterback, scored 14 touchdowns on the ground and threw for eight more touchdowns. He was directly responsible for 145 of the 191 points scored by the Wildcats.
He also had 614 yards on punt and kickoff returns.
The 1959 Wildcats finished with a 7-3 record, winning six out of their last seven games after opening with setbacks to Man (18-6) and Welch (12-7). The Cats closed out with a 32-18 win over Williamson at Lefty Hamilton Park.
Colvard, a member of the Logan High School Athletic Hall of Fame, played football for Coach Todd Willis, who was head coach of the Wildcats’ football team from 1956-65, producing seven winning seasons, including the 1963 team that went 9-1 and is considered one of the school’s best.
Colvard was a special guest in September 2019 at the Logan football stadium dedication luncheon at the Chief Logan State Park Convention Center as LHS named its gridiron facility Willis-Nisbet Stadium in honor of former coaches Todd Willis, Jimmy Joe Willis and George Nisbet.
Colvard spoke to The Logan Banner at the event. It would be his last interview with his hometown media.
When asked about the Kennedy Award, Colvard, seated at a table and eating, pointed to Johnny Walker and Donald Hylton, two of his linemen 60 years ago and sitting across the table from him.
“These are the men who won the Kennedy Award,” Colvard said.
Colvard said all three coaches are deserving of having the stadium named after them.
“It’s time the coaches get some respect,” he said. “They touched the lives of so many kids. We were all kids at that point. Coaches should receive more honors than they do as well as teachers. I had the most fantastic coaches are far as techniques. With the direct snap I was a triple threat kind of player as a running back. I did the kicking. I did the passing, and I did the running. I had Todd Willis as a coach for two years in junior high and all three years in high school. Basically, he taught me everything about football.”
Colvard said Logan ran the Single Wing offense in those years under Coach Willis.
“I took the direct snap,” he said. “Todd had a concept that was, ‘Fred if you go they go,’ meaning that the outside linebackers if they go back to cover the receivers then I go and follow them. If they come my receivers will be open in the flat. That was Todd. He was so into it.”
After winning the Kennedy Award and graduating from LHS in 1960, Colvard went on to play two years at West Virginia University, a year at Florida State then later had short stint with the Ottawa Rough Riders of the CFL and the Charleston Rockets of the Continental League. Colvard’s stay in Canada with the Rough Riders was a short one due to an injured back.
“The equipment is much different today. When I was quarterback at West Virginia, I had no protection on my rib cage,” he said. “I was the starting quarterback in 1960 and 1961. I have a lot of love for WVU also. I was a starter with the freshmen team in ‘60 and a starter in ‘61. I won some awards there, but I got upset with some things, and I transferred to Florida State with Bobby Bowden. I stayed there one year then I went to Canada. I got hurt then I came down to play in the Continental League.”
Colvard said he wouldn’t have been a success in life had it not been for Jimmy Joe Willis, Todd Willis and George Nisbet.
“It all started right here,” he said. “I was in the initial Hall of Fame at Logan. Todd was, and Willie (Akers) was as well. So it began right here.”
Fred was born July 18, 1942 in Charleston, the son of Jess and Marika Glycadis Colvard.
Growing up in Logan, Fred was an all-around athlete playing football, basketball, baseball and wrestling. It was on the football field where the speedster earned the nickname “Colt 45” and many accolades.
Colvard’s stay in Canada with the Rough Riders was a short one due to an injured back.
The following comes from Colvard’s obituary.
While he was an outstanding athlete, Fred made an even greater impact off the football field as he had a passion to help others.
He earned his Bachelors degree from Morris Harvey University (now The University of Charleston), a Masters from Xavier University and his Doctorate from the University of South Dakota. He spent 40-plus years working in educational systems in West Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida. He was a staple to education in Lake County, Florida — coach, teacher, principal, deputy superintendent — and he helped to build the first school in The Villages years ago.
Whether he was a teacher, coach, mentor, principal, administrator or professor, Fred was known for driving results and improving community relations. Fred could always be found walking the halls of the school with a cup of coffee in hand wearing a ‘Save the Children’ tie.
It was in his last position as the principal of Marathon High School in the Florida Keys, where he met the love of his life, local real estate broker Diane Chaplin, and they settled into retirement. Together they traveled the world making memories.
Fred loved God, his family, college football (especially the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Florida Gators), the Miami Heat and anything or anyone from West Virginia. He will be remembered for his infectious smile, willingness to lend a helping hand to anyone in need, bad ‘dad jokes’ and showing his family the true definition of love and happiness.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date.
He is survived by his soulmate and wife of 19 years, Diane Chaplin; devoted children Rick, Tim (Mary Beth), Kaylee and Kellee (Sean) Anderson; loving grandchildren Will (Briellen), Christopher, Clayton, Macsen and Brayden; adoring great-grandchildren Cayden, Ben and Ty; and loyal yorkies T-Bo, Lucky & Lady.
Kennedy Award Winners
2020—Blake Hartman, Musselman
2019—Ethan Payne, Poca
2018—Connor Neal, Fairmont Senior
2017—Mookie Collier, Bluefield
2016—Jeremy Dillon, Mingo Central
2015—Tyrhee Pratt, Capital
2014—Kashaun Haley, Capital
2013—Chazzy Thomas, Morgantown
2012—Ryan Switzer, George Washington
2011—Ryan Switzer, George Washington
2010—Justin Fox, Magnolia
2009—Tyler Harris, South Charleston
2008—Will Cole, Bluefield
2007—Jordan Roberts, Scott
2006—Kyle Allard, Fairmont Senior
2005—Josh Culbertson, Nitro
2004—Nate Sowers, Martinsburg
2003—Brandon Barrett, Martinsburg
2002—Brandon Barrett, Martinsburg
2001—Marc Kimes, Parkersburg
2000—Mark Wigal, Morgantown
1999—Todd Mosby, Musselman
1998—Quincy Wilson, Weir and J.R. House, Nitro
1997—Chris Yura, Morgantown
1996—J.R. House, Nitro
1995—Frank Aliveto, Hedgesville
1994—Randy Moss, DuPont
1993—Mark Cisar, Magnolia
1992—Mark Cisar, Magnolia
1991—Daryl “Boogie” Johnson, Wheeling Park
1990—Eric McGhee, Wheeling Central
1989—David Mayfield, Morgantown
1988—Keith Jeter, Weir
1987—Jed Drenning, Tucker County
1986—Jeff Swisher, Sistersville
1985—Ted Kester, Winfield
1984—Joel Wilson, Sistersville
1983—Tony Johnson, Morgantown
1982—Brad King, North Marion
1981—John Koontz, Petersburg
1980—David Bayer, George Washington
1979—Tim Stephens, Parkersburg South
1978—Curt Warner, Pineville
1977—Mike Estes, George Washington
1976—Robert Alexander, South Charleston
1975—Robert Alexander, South Charleston
1974—Robin Lyons, Herbert Hoover
1973—Danny Williams, DuPont
1972—Danny Williams, DuPont
1971—Rick Petty, Williamstown
1970—Rick Hurt, Charleston
1969—Kerry Marbury, Monongah
1968—David Morris, Wayne
1965—Melvin Walker, Dunbar
1964—Frank Criniti, Charleston Catholic
1963—Jim Smithberger, Welch
1962—Joe White, Charleston Catholic
1961—Paul Allen, Huntington
1960—Bob Kelley, Weir
1959—Fred Colvard, Logan
1958—Larry Drake, Fairmont Senior
1957—Jim Bargeloh, Parkersburg
1956—Johnny Frye, Huntington East
1955—Tags Meredith, St. Albans
1954—Noel Whipkey, Charleston
1953—Bob Barrett, Barboursville
1952—Don Griffith, Stonewall Jackson
1951—Dale Boyd, Vinson
1950—Jim Early, Parkersburg
1949—Hoppy Shores, Stonewall Jackson
1948—Randy Broyles, Woodrow Wilson
1947—Darrell Patrick Shires, Hinton