The Cameron High baseball program has a new boss.
Rich Moffo, a former Buckeye South diamond standout, replaces Eric James at the Dragons' helm. Moffo is currently a health and physical instructor at Cameron Senior/Junior High.
Moffo brings with him a wealth of baseball experience.
The 1988 South grad earned a host of prep baseball honors, including first team all-OVAC, and first team all-district. He went on to earn degrees at West Liberty in exercise physiology (B.S.) and Health and physical education (B.A.). He is currently working on his master's in education.
Moffo was a four-year member of the West Liberty baseball program.
"I can't say enough about the baseball program I'm inheriting. Hang those shoes up. I'm not looking to fill them," Moffo said. "Eric James did a wonderful job."
James had a 248-132 in his 11 years of directing the Dragons.
Moffo has been exposed to numerous tremendous coaches from whom he gleaned useful learning tools. He played hoops for Herk Lasasz, Legion baseball for Chuck Watt and Ang Vaccaro and college baseball for Bo McConnaughy.
"I learned perseverance and to never give up from Coach Lasasz. Coach Watt taught me discipline, sacrifice and dedication while Ang preached honor, integrity and pride. Bo made us play hard and keep our mouths shut," Moffo said. "They have served as great coaching models for me."
After his collegiate career, Moffo played professionally until sidelined by a shoulder injury. He was a pitcher for the Chillicothe Paints in the Frontier Professional Baseball League.
In addition to his Cameron teaching and coaching duties, Moffo is well known throughout the Ohio Valley for his strength and conditioning tutelage. He is one of the area's premier flexband instructors. Moffo is the strength and conditioning coach for Wheeling Park High athletic teams.
"I love it at Cameron. This is my second year here. The school and the county have been wonderful to me in every regard," Moffo said. "Being members of the Northern WV Rural Health and Wellness Committee has given us grant money to do everything we are wanting to do (per exergaming, flexband and health/fitness). We're obtaining a grant right now that will afford us the ability to equip our skytrack weightrooms with six Cybex machines, which will allow much more community involvement and provide those not suited for free weights a user-friendly method of resistance training for the entire body."
Moffo is excited about the upcoming season.
"I can make some early guarantees. We will be competitive. We will be intelligent on the mound, solid in the dirt, swift in the field, and aggressive on the pads and at the plate. We're going to be selfish and greedy," Moffo said. "That's the motto I coach under. We want as many runs, hits and bases as possible, (greedy), and will try to limit our opponents to as few as possible, (selfish). Confidence is one attribute I can't say enough about.
"You have to teach these kids that it's the same game they have been playing since they were little. Score runs, get outs. Steal bases. Run downs. There was a time that kids got together and played outside, that was actually practice and conditioning, running hills, kicking cans, climbing trees, swatting (at) lightning bugs with a stick," he added.
"That was practice. Monkey in the middle. Practice. Getting 14 kids together and having a 7 on 7 game of tackle on any level field you'd find until you got kicked out. Practice. That's where I start with my athletes; at home, buy the kid a ball and let him throw it, kick it, catch it, bounce it, they'll get good at it."
Moffo also sees a benefit from his having many of his players in the academic setting.
"I'm fortunate to have these kids in phys. ed. It's a small school, I get every single one of them at one time or another. I teach them to play," Moffo said. "We have an Exergaming room, which is also housing the flexband class. It has 14 big screen televisions hooked up with "active" video games, table tennis, carnival speed basketball, bicycling, the students wonder how they got sweaty, they were playing games, yet increasing cardio, improving hand eye coordination, balance and stamina."
Moffo has a no-frills plan for success.
"Keep it simple. Break down the goals. Figure out how to achieve the goals. Practice and condition accordingly," he said. "We'll throw and hit snowballs if we have to but we'll be ready this spring."
Moffo has three sons: Ryan (10th grade), Max (8th grade) and Jacob (6th grade.)