By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
When Woodrow Wilson head basketball coach watched Martinsburg cut down the nets in March, he thought his biggest problem would be replacing his star point guard, Andrew Johnson to graduation.
Now it turns out he’ll be replacing his point guard and two of his assistant coaches.
When the Flying Eagles suit up in December, they’ll do so with only one Nabors — the one on the court.
Longtime Woodrow Wilson assistant coaches and legendary former players, Brian and Gene Nabors will not be on the sidelines or associated with the Woodrow coaching staff.
Instead, they’ll be replaced by a pair of former middle school coaches in Park Middle School’s Spanky Francis and Shady Spring Middle School’s Ronnie Olson.
The Nabors brothers were ousted by Francis and Olson due to the fact that neither are certified teachers.
“To be a coach you’ve got to have a teaching certificate,” Kidd said. “Brian and Gene didn’t have that.”
It’s a move that came as a shock to not only Kidd, but to Gene Nabors.
“I don’t really understand what happened. I mean, it’s a law,” Nabors said “But why now? I don’t understand. I don’t get it. I think someone is trying to prove something.”
“It’s a big shock to me,” Kidd added. “These guys have played for Woodrow. They know the Woodrow system. It’s going to be different for us.”
Francis and Nabors have something in common. Both wanted to watch their son play from the confines of the Woodrow bench. Gene’s son Donte was a Player of the Year candidate in 2012 and will return for his senior season, while Francis’ son Isaiah will be a freshman for the Flying Eagles and is expected to be in the hunt to replace Johnson as the starting point guard with junior Corey Accord.
But just because Nabors won’t be on the bench doesn’t mean he won’t be courtside, sitting beside his father, Gene, Sr. cheering on Donte.
“I’ll be there, I’m not going to miss a game,” Nabors said. “Hopefully we won’t miss any of the games. All 25 of them up to the state championship. Beckley’s always been my high school and I will support them.”
But still, Nabors was noticeably shocked.
“I was told that if you’re a professional teacher, no one can bump you out,” he added. “Obviously, it seems like there’s a different set of rules for different people. I think I was loyal to this program and it seems like they’re not loyal to me. I’m going to keep doing what I do.”
Part of what Nabors is doing is helping instruct players during the summer with brother Brian.
“They’re kids. They’re teenagers,” he added. “This is a life lesson. Ya gotta keep moving on. I’m not going to stop giving back to these kids and teaching these kids and helping these kids. It’s why God put me here.”
Kidd did confirm that longtime assistant Steve Kidd will return for the 2013-2014 season.
Olson won’t be a complete stranger to the Woodrow program. Olson attended Woodrow Wilson before transferring to Independence High School his senior year. Olson helped the Chad Perkins coached Patriots stun Class AA in 2000 by making it to the championship game, losing to Magnolia 52-48. Olson earned All-Tournament honors.
Kidd hopes that the changes in staff won’t damage the already fantastic chemistry of the Flying Eagles.
“This is going to be a big thing for us,” he said. “A big adjustment.”
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.