After Huntington’s first solid football season in years, it is without a coach again.
Wade Bartholomew, the school’s third football coach in the past five years, will leave the school at the end of the year to take the job at Gallia Academy, a school — and a program — the young coach feels comfortable with.
“I was born and I was raised in Oak Hill,” Bartholomew said. “Gallia Academy was a school we always heard of. And when we heard of that opening, my whole family — my father (Logan Elm football coach Scott Bartholomew), my wife and my whole family, we knew this was a chance for us to find a place to settle down.
Wade Bartholomew, a former quarterback for Westfall and in his mid-20s, jumped at the chance. It was a quick process that lasted less than a couple of weeks from the first interview to the job offer, all of which came to a close late last week.
But the coach’s decision to keep things close to his heart during the weekend was based on where he’s been, not where he’s going.
“I got the job last Friday,” he said. “It’s Tuesday now, so I’ve had it for a while. The people I’ve met there have been great, and it came down to the fact that this was a decision for me and my family. This is a great job, but I really wish I could take the kids I had at Huntington and implant them in this new job.
“I wanted to be the one who told those kids at Huntington what was happening,” Wade Bartholomew said. “I didn’t want them to hear it on the radio or read it in the newspaper or on Facebook first. I wanted to be the one who told them. And by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done was, on Monday, to look at those kids and tell them that I wouldn’t be back. Looking at those kids was very hard for me. But the only thing I could tell them was that this program didn’t turn itself around on its own. It turned around because of those kids, and the work they put in.”
The Huntsmen were 0-27 in the previous two-plus years before Wade Bartholomew took charge, then went 0-10 his first year. Huntington shocked everybody in 2012 with a 5-5 record and a spot in the postseason conversation until late in the year.
“Whenever I think back about my life, I’ll always think back to the Huntington team that I went 0-10 with,” Wade Bartholomew said. “I’ll never forget that, and I’ll never forget the work they put in. Huntington is a special place in Ross County and in my heart. And, like I told the kids, Huntington football will continue to go in the right direction because of them.”
Wade Bartholomew expects to finish out the school year as a teacher in the system. He has yet to offically resign his post with the Huntsmen, but will do so at the March 21 meeting. He officially will be hired by Gallia Academy on March 20.
“I want to make sure everybody knows that me and my family appreciate everything Huntington did for me,” Bartholomew said. “I know, and we know, that they did a lot for us. And those boys need to understand they can be as special as anybody else in Ross County.”