There’s good news and bad news for Kellie Thomas. The good news is that there’s nowhere to go but up for the Hannan football program. The bad news is that she’s still assured to receive plenty of attention for everything she does as a bona fide trailblazer in the state of West Virginia.
Thomas, the new head football coach at Hannan, is also the first woman to serve as head coach of a West Virginia high school football team. A veteran coach of multiple sports at the school and a former athletic trainer on the 1992 Marshall Div. I-AA football national championship squad, Thomas is confident that she’s ready to take the reins of the small, rural West Virginia program.
That’s not to say that Thomas’ ascension will cure all of Hannan’s ills. The coach admits that she and her team will be fighting an uphill battle because of limited participation numbers. Per CBS affiliate WOWK, Hannan’s small roster will assure that the players who do stick with the sport will almost certainly have to play on both sides of the ball.
That’s a limitation, but for a coach of volleyball and basketball teams like Thomas, it’s also an opportunity. While she is already busy game-planning for future opponents, the coach is first focused on ensuring that her smaller squad is prepared to handle the rigors of the season ahead. How? With lots and lots of conditioning work, per WOWK and the Huntington Herald-Dispatch.
“A lot of these boys will be playing both sides of the ball so they have to be in shape,” Thomas told WOWK. “So we’re are running every day, and before practice, during practice, after practice we run.”
And here’s what she provided in an interview with the Herald-Dispatch:
“It’s a real honor to be hired as the new football coach at Hannan,” Thomas said. “I appreciate the opportunity that I have been given. I’ve been around the game for many, many years. …
“We’re in a rural area and as a community we stick together. There’s no finger pointing or anything like that. It is a challenge when you look on the other sideline and see 30 or 40 kids and look on ours and see 15 or 20, but we’re going to get them in shape and keep them in shape to avoid injuries and make sure they’re not gassed after one half.”