CHAPMANVILLE - In the classic 1983 movie Trading Places, Eddie Murphy plays Billy Ray Valentine, a down-on-his-luck homeless man who gets an opportunity of a lifetime: a chance to switch places with wealthy upper-class commodities broker Louis Winthorpe III, played by Dan Aykroyd.
This football season there will be a little bit of that trading places theme along the Chapmanville Regional High School sideline. In a move rarely seen, Chapmanville Offensive Coordinator James Barker and longtime Defensive Coordinator Bo Berry will be switching roles this season.
Barker will be putting on the headsets to lead the defense, while Berry will be switching over to the offensive side of the ball.
"We have realigned some of our roles as coaches," Chapmanville head coach Rob Dial said. "The biggest being that James Barker will now be our Defensive Coordinator and Bo Berry will be our Offensive Coordinator. As a staff, we believe that this is going to be a great change for us. It's going to bring in new energy. It has already shown itself in June with the energy among the coaches and the players."
Berry had been the Tigers' Defensive Coordinator for many years, serving under Dial the last three years and before that under former head coaches George Barker and Ronnie Ooten. Barker had been the Offensive Coordinator the last seven seasons.
"It's not a big concern to me," Dial said of the switch. "The reason for that is both James and Bo are very experienced and very successful coaches and have a proven track record over the course of their careers," Dial said. "Bo has been the Defensive Coordinator at Chapmanville since 2004. James has been the Offensive Coordinator since I stepped away seven years ago. Even before then he was my ears. He was up in the box calling plays. He had a lot to do with our success offensively with the things that he was bringing into the system. He was really a co-coordinator with me. He just didn't have the title."
Chapmanville, 5-5 last year, hopes the switch will pay off this fall.
"I've liked our schemes over the last few years both offensively and defensively," said Dial, also himself a former Chapmanville Offensive Coordinator for many years. "I think that we've been a very sound football team but I also wanted to bring in some new energy and the best way to do that is to make a change. Are there going to be bumps in the road? Absolutely. With change comes new energy and also new challenges. We're going to work through those."
Dial said the idea of the change came back in January.
"We all got together as a staff back in January and talked about some things," he said. "Coach Berry, Coach Barker and myself sat down and had a long couple of conversations about making this switch. We batted around the pros and the cons. When we all left out of there in that last meeting we felt that there were many more positives in making this move now than there were negatives. So we decided to make the switch. We think that it will pay off for this upcoming season.
"We think that this is going to pay dividends, not only this year, but we see it as a positive in the long term success in our program."
Since both Berry and Barker are experienced coaches that should make for a smooth transition, Dial said. Both coaches began their new roles in June during the three-week summer practice period.
"We wouldn't have made this change if we had two inexperienced coaches, if we only had coordinators the last two or three years," Dial said. "Both of these guys are battle-tested and veteran coaches that can handle this change. Who better to design a defense to stop and offense than somebody who has been calling plays for the last 15 years and vice versa."
The move is also a good one for Berry. His son is Chase Berry, Chapmanville's senior quarterback and a three-year starter.
"We also see that as a positive," Dial said. "Your quarterback and your offensive coordinator must have a close relationship. So obviously, a father/son duo is really going to help make this transition much more smooth. The rest of our offensive skilled position players are relatively new, so the way I look at it, we pretty much have a clean slate on offense. Several of our lineman are returning and our quarterback is returning but there will be a lot of guys that will have to learn a new position. They may be older newbies, such as seniors who might be playing on offense for the first time but they are all going to relatively new."
The Tigers, and other county teams Man and Logan, are set to begin regular practices on Aug. 5. Dial said he plans on have a rare two-a-day with CRHS hitting the practice field at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
"We don't do that too often but we need to make sure that we set the tone on Day One on the first day of practice," Dial said.
Chapmanville's season opener is set for Thursday, Aug. 29, against Sissonville at Charleston's Laidley Field.
Paul Adkins is the sports editor of the Logan Banner. Follow him on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.