OVAC?All-Star coaches named
Football season has been over for just two weeks.
Attention now shifts to the Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Charity Football Classic, which will be held on Sunday, July 28 at Wheeling Island Stadium.
OVAC Executive Secretary Tom Rataiczak and Mumley Game Director Bob Koch announced that Shadyside’s Mark Holenka and Wheeling Central’s Mike Young have accepted the conference’s invitation to coach Ohio and West Virginia, respectively, in the game.
HOLENKA guided his Tigers to a perfect 10-0 regular season and berth in the Division VI playoffs. However, the Orange were dispatched in the first round by Berlin Center Western Reserve. It was Shadyside’s first-ever loss on its home field in the postseason.
In the process of the undefeated regular season, the Tigers captured their 12th OVAC title in school history and second under Holenka’s watch.
When Holenka leads the Ohio squad onto the field in July, it’ll be the first time a Tiger head coach has guided the Ohio side.
“I guess it’s a father in the cap of Shadyside and for our entire staff,” Holenka said. “It puts Shadyside on the map a little bit.”
Holenka, who is a Bethany College graduate, didn’t have the opportunity to play in the game during his senior season. He graduated in 1971 and that was one of two years when the game wasn’t staged because of NCAA sanctioning.
“I looked forward to the chance to possibly play in this game as a kid and then they didn’t have it,” Holenka said. “We didn’t have the chance to be picked and now I’m on the other end of it.”
The selection of players is something that concerns Holenka the most.
“I enjoy the coaching aspect and look forward to that, but I really wish there were some sort of committee to choose the teams,” Holenka admitted. “For me, I am (coaching) because of my players at Shadyside. Now, I have to make the separation of who (plays in the game). And those kids are the reason that I am going. It’s tough, but we’ll certainly do our best and make the most of it.”
Holenka is still formulating his staff for the game.
YOUNG, meanwhile, was invited to guide the Mountain State all-stars for the first time in his career after guiding the Maroon Knights to a 7-3 record and yet another trip to the West Virginia Class A playoffs.
While this is Young’s first time on the Mountaineer sideline, it’s his second tour of duty with the OVAC game. He coached the Ohio squad in 1991 when he was the head coach at St. Clairsville and led the Buckeyes to a 30-6 victory.
He’s also been an assistant coach, twice under George Strager with Ohio and once under Jim Thomas on the West Virginia side. He was also a trainer in the game five times.
“I’ve been involved with this game for 20-plus years through the scholarship we present at the Strager Evening With the Stars dinner,” Young said. “This is definitely a honor and something I am definitely looking forward to.”
Young was a member of the North coaching staff for the West Virginia North-South Game last summer and that experience made him even more excited to accept the OVAC nod.
“To me, coaching football has been my life, and I am not ready to give up my life yet,” Young said. “I still have a passion for it and still enjoy it. I enjoy being around new kids, who’ve been selected as ‘all-stars.’ Just the opportunity to coach this level of an athlete should be considered a great honor and will be a great experience.”
Young believes his entire coaching staff will join him at the all-star game.
The coaches are expected to receive the player nominations next month and will then begin the process of trying to select the best 32 players they can to represent their respective state.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org