Long before the women’s lib movement in the 1970s, Ann Offutt was making a statement for the female gender in the sports world right here in the little town of Williamson, West Virginia.
Ann Offutt was the mother of Frank Offutt, a Williamson High School graduate and member of that school’s hall of fame. But Frank learned much of his skills and how to win from his mom.
“This was a team in which several men coaches had quit,” Frank Offutt said. “So they were without a coach with a couple of games left in the regular season.”
“My mom was asked to coach because she had taken over a Midget League football team earlier in a similar circumstance.”
“The team ended the regular season – if I remember correctly – with a 3-13 record with one win being a forfeit.”
“They then proceeded to win the Mingo County Tournament, defeating three teams that had beaten them twice each through the regular season,” Offutt recalls.
“The final game was against a Matewan team that was undefeated, led by Roy Phillips, who later was a high school star and an All-WVIACC conference player at Salem,” Offutt remembers. “He later was a coach at Parkersburg High School.”
“When the game was over the Matewan coach literally ran off the floor to keep from having to shake hands with my mom,” Offutt said. “He had told her the day before, after our semi-final win – ‘whatever your boys score tomorrow, my boys will double’!”
The Williamson Midget League team won 30-24, Offutt proudly recalls.
“My mom then coached Midget League football and basketball for several more years, winning championships much of the time,” Offutt said of his mom. “I believe we won the football league three out of four years.”
“This really killed the men coaches and they took a lot of ribbing about losing to a woman,” Offutt said.
“It was particularly tough on WHS hall of famer, WVU player and former NFL player Frank Kimble,” according to Offutt. “He (Kimble) kept scheduling scrimmages and we won all of those as well!”
Offutt said his mother didn’t have a clue about either sport when she began coaching, but learned on the job and the kids loved her.
Offutt helped his mom coach as he got older.
“She was a remarkable woman and certainly ‘out of place’ coaching boys, particularly in the mid-1950s. She coached a number of players who went on to play for Williamson High School and that became hall of famers.”
“I think she belongs there herself,” Offutt concluded.