To say that Edwyn May is excited about becoming head coach for Tug Valley’s basketball program might be an understatement.
The longtime hoops coach is elated about taking over the Panthers’ program that has had so much success in the past few years.
“It’s happened really quickly,” May said. “Nobody really expected Coach Thompson to resign. But I’m really excited and it is a great opportunity for me and I think we have a chance to be really good.”
May succeeds Garland “Rabbit” Thompson who resigned after eight seasons at TVHS and will now take over the Mingo Central program. Thompson guided the Panthers to five state tourney appearances and won two state championships.
May inherits a roster of several talented players. Two players, who were just freshmen this past season, made the second and third team Class A All-State teams. One was shooting guard Tyler May, Edwyn’s son, and the other is guard-forward Jeremy Dillon. Calvin Blankenship has been a two year starter and will return for his senior season, while his younger brother Jonathan, another talented freshman for TVHS last season, saw playing time off of the Panthers’ bench.
Other players that return with some experience are seniors Corbin Oliver and Chandler Runyon, junior Brady Spalding and sophomores Garret Brown and Colby Savage.
“Last year, even though they got to the state tournament, I think there was a learning curve because there was a gap between the older kids and the younger players,” May stressed. “I thought toward the end of the season they learned to play together. With all the talent we have coming back, big things are expected.”
May knows he has big shoes to fill. “I’m stepping into a job that not only are you expected to get to Charleston, but to have a chance to win it,” he added.
May was a star at the old Kermit High School before the school was consolidated with Lenore to form Tug Valley. He graduated back in 1987 and teamed up with James Smith (now the sheriff of Mingo County) to form a one-two scoring punch for the Blue Devils under Coach Kent Hoke. May then went to Alice Lloyd College to get his teaching degree and play basketball for the Eagles in the early 1990s.
He had been coaching at Kermit Middle School before getting the Tug Valley job. In past years, he was an assistant at Tolsia High School under his brother Mike Smith. He also served as interim head coach for the Rebels for one season.
May will get things started off come Monday, as the 3-week summer session opens up for West Virginia high schools.
Expect May to play a more up-tempo style on offense.
“We want to score more points,” May said. “I think we can do that. We want to get the ball up and down the floor.”
“We want to move the ball and run a lot of motion,” May added. “But, we’ll run some sets too. Hopefully we will get a little better offensively and maintain what they had defensively.”
“Defensively, I’m primarily a man-to-man guy. I think if you can play man, then you can play any defense,” May said. “We will press some too.”
He can’t wait to get started.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” May concluded.
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)