The Times West Virginian

Opinion

December 26, 2012

Woodman can lift FSU football to new heights

It would appear that Fairmont State University has hired a young man who might be able to lift the school’s football program to new heights.

That’s what the administration, including athletic director Rusty Elliott and President Dr. Maria Rose, are hopeful of after 33-year-old Jason Woodman was named the new gridiron mentor last week.

He is excited about getting his first head coaching position, enthusiastic about the opportunity that has been presented to him and eager to meet all his players as soon as the Christmas break is over.

He has worked in different capacities under several of the top coaches in college football — men such as Les Miles, Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher and Bobby Bowden — and now he is getting that golden opportunity to return to his alma mater and turn its football program into a strong one as it was in the days of Deacon Duvall and several other fine gentlemen who succeeded him.

One member of his Fighting Falcon team pointed out that Woodman said all the right things as he met a gathering of Falcon supporters who turned out on a Saturday afternoon to welcome him to his new home.

Well, it’s not exactly a “new” home, as he earned his diploma from Fairmont State and is a native of Mannington, and we believe Woodman is quite happy to be coming back to an area with which he is familiar for his first college head coaching job. He hopes all the young men on the Falcon team will share the same passion for the game as he does.

Woodman did say all the right things. That’s important. But we are always reminded of a just-hired Fairmont State coach many years ago who made about as good an opening address as we had ever heard, and everyone was looking forward to a great season. By the time that campaign ended with just two games on the “W” side of the ledger, it was obvious that the man could speak much better than he could coach football. And he was gone.

Woodman said he was planning to surround himself with assistants who have the same vision he does. He pointed out that, as FSU Board of Governors chairman Ron Tucker stated, “Our goal is to be in the upper tier of Division II football, and in order to do that job, you’ve got to bring people here who have experience in higher levels of football.”

Woodman said Fairmont State was “going to set a high level of expectations, and we are going to hold ourselves accountable — every single day.”

He realizes, of course, that the Falcon gridiron team has prided itself in the past under coaches Rusty Elliott and Mike Lopez with its academic standing, and it’s very important that this continues.

The Times West Virginian congratulates Jason Woodman on his lofty new position with the Fighting Falcons and joins the general public in pulling for him to be successful.

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