High school baseball in Raleigh County will be getting a veritable facelift next spring.
Three county high schools will be led into the 2020 season by new coaches, highlighted by the unexpected moves of two veterans.
Mark Daniel has resigned as coach at Woodrow Wilson after 19 seasons with the Flying Eagles. His resignation was officially accepted at Tuesday night’s Raleigh County Board of Education meeting.
Shady Spring’s Dave Shaw has retired after 23 years leading his alma mater. Ironically, he was an assistant to Daniel at Shady Spring before taking the head coach position.
“It had been coming on for a year or two,” Shaw said. “When you look at all the things a coach has to handle, you really put yourself out there. You’re always with the kids making sure they are doing good in school and not doing bad things. We raised a lot of money to take the kids to a lot of places. We flew to Florida, went to Louisiana and Cooperstown and did this and that.
“It got to where it was like, ‘I like the (fundraiser) golf tournament, but I really could be doing something else.’ When you’re a coach, you just know when it’s time.”
The Tigers made four state tournament trips under Shaw, including three straight from 2004-06. They lost 6-2 to Weir in the 2004 title game.
Shady returned last spring and fell to six-time Class AA state champion Bridgeport in the semifinals in what would be Shaw’s final season.
Shaw, who said one of the biggest highlights of his career was getting to coach his son Adam, has no regrets about the last 23 seasons.
“I think about what (former University of Charleston) coach (Andrew) Wright said he tells his pitchers — leave the game in a better spot than when you got it,” Shaw said. “I look at it and I like that I am leaving the program in a better position than when I got it. We accomplished a lot of things.”
The same is true for Woodrow, which played in five state tournaments under Daniel. The Flying Eagles lost 11-4 to Jefferson in the 2007 Class AAA state championship game.
Daniel, like Shaw, is happy with the advancements the program made since he took over for Tom Parham in 2001. But he felt there could have been more.
“We did a lot of upgrades to the facility,” he said. “We had no bleachers, so we got some bleachers. We built a press box and some storage rooms. We just hit a lot of road blocks on things. I wish we could have gotten more support.”
There were personal reasons that weighed into Daniel’s decision.
“My dad’s health is not well,” he said. “It’s time to watch my daughter (Mallory) cheerlead and run track.”
Shaw’s position has officially been filled by Jordan Meadows, who played centerfield for Shaw from 2011-14. He was also an assistant at Shady last year after graduating from West Virginia.
Robbie Stewart, who was an assistant coach to Shaw all 23 years, will remain in the dugout with Meadows.
“I think (Stewart) and Jordan will do a fantastic job,” Shaw said.
The Woodrow position is still in the application process.
Meanwhile, Liberty also has a new coach in Greg Betkijian. The former Raider was officially hired Tuesday and replaces J.J. Tabor, who was placed on administrative leave after his May arrest on charges of driving under the influence of a controlled substance.
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