Tongues began wagging after Kinder took extended leave for personal reasons and was noticeably absent for the Massey Energy Senior Hatfield-McCoy Bowl. Kinder remains missing as football practice began for the high school.
Mingo County Superintendent Randy Keathley assured the Daily News these tales are completely unfounded.
“I can confirm that Kinder is currently the head football coach at Matewan High School,” Keathley said. “Because of personal reasons, he is unable to coach at this time. During his absence, assistant coach John Fry is coaching the high school team.”
Fry had heard the rumors and was visibly upset.
“Coach Kinder will return once the personal matters are taken care of,” he said.
Kinder has been the head coach at MHS since 1986 and has over 200 wins under his belt. Fry said the seasoned coach has won more games than any active coach in the state of West Virginia.
“I consider it an honor to assist Coach Kinder,” the former All-State linebacker said. “He is the greatest coach the state of West Virginia has ever had. He has opened doors for me that would never have been opened if not for him.”
Fry said he stays in contact with Kinder by phone and through his son, Ryan Kinder, who is the team’s trainer.