Fairmont State University is entering a new era in collegiate football.
The Falcons hope to get back to relevance under first-year head coach Jason Woodman.
Other coaches besides Woodman had hopes of turning the Fairmont State program around, but it hasn’t happened in a long time. The last time the Falcons finished as high as second in their conference was in 2001, and they haven’t finished as high as fifth since 2006. There have been only two winning seasons in the past 11 years. And it has been 46 years — that’s correct, 46 — since coach Deacon Duvall guided his Fighting Falcon team to a national title.
Woodman knows turning the program around won’t be easy. He knows it all too well.
“As a team and as a program, we’ve got a ways to go,” he said in a recent interview. “We have to get better, but we also know and understand that’s something that’s not going to happen overnight.”
Woodman says he is seeking players with good attitudes and good character.
“They’re doing the right things, and right now that’s all we can ask for. From what I’m seeing, we’ve got a bunch of guys who care about getting better as football players.”
There aren’t many familiar names on the Fairmont State football team, but there are a few.
Junior running back Daniel Monroe is closing in on 2,000 ground yards and ranks in the top 10 at FSU for career rushing touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Chris St. Hilaire ranks in FSU’s career Top 10 in pass receptions and receiving yards. Senior linebacker Garrett Davis led the Falcons last year in total tackles (80) and solo tackles (60). And offensive tackle Chris Barfield is considered to be one of the country’s best at his position.
The Falcons, while beginning their new era, also are in a new conference, although seven of their opponents in the new league are quite familiar.
Eight of the former West Virginia Conference schools are bunched along with Urbana, Notre Dame College and University of Virginia-Wise to form the Mountain East Conference. Fairmont native Reid Amos, for a long while the radio “voice” of the Fighting Falcons, is the new commissioner of the conference, while Adam Zundell, also from Fairmont, is an associate commissioner.
Fairmont State also has a new athletic director who is extremely excited about the 2013 football season that opens tonight with the Falcons facing Seton Hill. Tim McNeely has been here since April and he will finally be able to see one of his school’s premier squads in action. McNeely has been most encouraged about the attitude of the community toward Fairmont State.
Fairmont State’s new head coach is no stranger to Marion County. Woodman is a graduate of North Marion High School and also Fairmont State. And working his way up the coaching ladder, he’s had the opportunity to work with both Nick Saban and Bobby Bowden — two very familiar names to the athletic scenes of Marion County as well as West Virginia. He has paid his dues well in earning his first collegiate head coaching job.
Woodman has been waiting for weeks for tonight’s season opener, and like the old saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Woodman wants his Falcons to make the most of that opportunity when they open the season tonight against Seton Hill University at Duvall-Rosier Field.
The Times West Virginian wishes the Fighting Falcons the best of luck in their new era of collegiate football.
Fairmont State University is entering a new era in collegiate football.
Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives
A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region
Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
That’s why we need a strong Fairmont General Hospital.
When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.
COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community
There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
I had that blessed opportunity to hold that hopeful future in my arms last week when I visited my dear friend Jen and her newborn son Tristan at Fairmont General Hospital.
Putting a cost on safety issue has been culprit in 13 traffic deaths
Would you believe that an item costing just 57 cents — less than the price of a can of pop — is being cited as the culprit in 13 traffic deaths?
A simple 57-cent item.
That’s how much fixing the fatal ignition switches that General Motors installed in new automobiles would have cost, and 13 lives would probably have been saved.
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- Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives