The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

High School Sports

April 5, 2014

Finalists for boys coach of the year announced

BECKLEY — Great boys basketball coaches are commonplace around the area, so there are always plenty of candidates for The Register-Herald Boys Basketball Coach of the Year award.

This year’s group contains some familiar names as well as some fresh faces looking to put their teams among some of the traditional powers.

Here’s a look at the five finalists for the award, which will be announced in Tuesday’s paper.

Wes Brown (Oak Hill) — Last year, the Red Devils won just three total games and ended the season with 11 straight losses. They failed to win a single contest against a region opponent and won just one game in front of the home fans. But Brown turned that around quickly.

In his first season, the new Oak Hill coach led his team to a winning record as the Red Devils finished 11-10. Included in those wins were two big victories over Class AA power Westside and two against regional rival Shady Spring.

Dan Burd (Greater Beckley) — After taking the Crusaders to the state tournament for just the second time in school history last March, Burd proved it was more than just a one-time run as he took GBC back to Charleston this year. The Crusaders finished 19-6 and knocked off defending Class A champion Tug Valley for a sectional title. Junior Elisha Kidd was a first-team all-stater, and senior Javonne Staunton-Bailey was a second-team selection.

Nick Cook (Westside) — A 20-7 record is strong any way you cut it. When it comes against one of the state’s toughest schedules, it’s even more impressive.

That’s what Cook did this season as he played anybody and everybody trying to prepare his Renegades for the postseason. Westside started its season with an 83-81 win over Class AAA power Greenbrier East and nearly did the same at Woodrow Wilson late in the year before falling 83-78.

The season looked as though it may crumble at one point, when the Renegades lost three out of five games, including losses on back-to-back days on a road trip to Robert C. Byrd and Fairmont Senior, but they responded by winning eight of the next nine before falling to RCB in overtime in the Class AA semifinals.

Joe McCoy (Valley) — Twenty-six times the Greyhounds took the court this season. Twenty-two of those they left with wins. McCoy helped Valley to a magical season that included a 16-1 start and impressive wins over Tug Valley, Nicholas County, Greenbrier West and Sissonville along the way. The only losses came to Class A champion Charleston Catholic in the Class A quarterfinals, state tournament semifinalist Clay-Battelle during the regular season, defending Class A Tug Valley during the regular season and a hiccup against Midland Trail early in the year. The Greyhounds later avenged that lost to Tug Valley by knocking out the defending champs in a regional co-final to punch their ticket to Charleston.

Brian Phipps (Nicholas County) — Phipps did a solid job with the Grizzlies, falling short of a trip to Charleston only from a buzzer-beating Chapmanville 3-pointer in a regional co-final. Nicholas County won nine of its first 12 games and knocked off area rivals Summers County and Liberty along the way. A 58-56 win over Sissonville in the postseason put the Grizzlies in a sectional final against Poca.

— E-mail: chuffman@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

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