POCA, W.Va. — Teddy Stewart emerged over the past week to become Poca’s new head football coach. The Hurricane assistant was officially approved on Monday to take over for longtime head coach Bob Lemley who retired this past offseason.

“It’s been a whirlwind for me,” Stewart said. “When Coach Lemley retired, some people had asked if I would be interested – and it did strike my interest, being so close (to Hurricane) here in Putnam County. I thought this may be my time. I love the game of football and (this) has been a goal of mine – the opportunity was there and I took it.”

Stewart, a Clay-Battelle graduate, has spent the past couple of seasons under Jeremy Taylor at Hurricane. He was also previously a head coach at South Middle School in Morgantown, before joining John Kelley’s staff for three seasons at University High.

“I’ve been very lucky to have worked with some head coaches who have been head coaches for a long time,” Stewart said. “We’re here to work and have a great work ethic – I hope folks expect that from me and the kids. We’re here to win and that’s what football is all about, trying to build a program. We want to get community support and involvement – make Poca proud when their football team gets on the field on Friday nights.”

It’s a football program overall that certainly was used to success during the peak of Lemley’s 24-year tenure, as the Dots won state championships in 1994, 2001, 2002 and 2003, along with a state runner-up finish in 1996.

“They are definitely big shoes to fill,” Stewart said. “It’ll be a challenge, but I think that I’m ready for it. Once I get my staff together and the kids get to know us, I think we’ll have a chance. Coach Lemley had some good teams – so hopefully we feed off of that, get the community involved and the kids up about it and get the program back to where it once was.”

Stewart met with his team for the first time back on Tuesday, but will take a few weeks to put together his staff and evaluate the best offensive and defensive schemes to fit his personnel.

“I’ve seen some film from last season and there are some good things there,” he said. “We have to work with what we have. Being in high school, we don’t get to pick the players that we need – but we are cognizant of that and optimistic. We have a good group of seniors coming back and we can work from there.”

Stewart will be looking to turn around a program that went 1-9 in 2013 and has made the postseason just twice in the past 10 years.

“I got to meet with the boys (this week) and we had about 40 kids show up from ninth through the 11th grade who would be interested to play next year,” he said. “They all seemed interested and ready to go, one boy was ready to get on the field right now. It was positive and we can build off of that, get them in the weight room and get ready for the three week practice session in June.”

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  • Phyllis Brooks


    So proud of the person you have become. You where always a wonderful and kind person.

    Hope you have a wonderful season this coming year!

  • richard

    thatguyoverthere has no clue in what he is saying. did you get your feelings hurt from years ago because you sat the bench. coach lemleys record speaks for itself. he could have coached a few years more but knew it was time to give someone else a shot. i commend him for that. i had a son play for him in 2002, 2003, 2004 and never saw, heard or was given any inclination that he played favorites or accepted anything from a parent. you, (as a player), had to earn your way on the field in practice. people such as thatguyoverthere, need to keep quite when they know not what they are talking about!

    • ThatGuyOverThere

      Truth be told, I played too much for Bob, played while injured, while sick, etc. I wish i would have never played one snap of football, those small injuries add up when you get in your 30's (and beyond I assume) I saw things happen in and around that program that made me sick to my stomach...I wish the new guy well. You don't have to like what I say, sometimes people don't want to hear the truth, they just want to think back to the good ole days and have fond memories of it.

      • richard

        sick to your stomach?? if they are that bad----just say what they were. coach lemley needs to be held accountable for what he did. take a stand and tell the truth.....tell what you saw that makes you sick to your stomach!! don't make lemley out to be a bad guy unless you back it up. have some backbone.

        • ThatGuyOverThere

          Already said what they were, bribes...Pretty hard to watch your friends bust their butts to get on the field but, because of what your last name is or what their parents do for the team, others with no business playing, get on the field. I am not revealing who I am, it doesn't matter, obviously a few of you will be the old men in the stands talking about the good ole days playing for ole Bob and the Crew...Personally, I did enjoy playing for Jim Abshire, he was one heck of a defensive coach, I'd have hated to lined up against him in highschool or college...he was a terror.

          • rlr

            You didn't play for poca....noneof the guys I posted with.knew how good coach abshire was as a player

      • rlr

        I guarantee you didnt play...I had a brother on the 94 team and played myself in the early 2000s....how bout you give your name up??

  • East Bank

    East Bank 1996!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • rlr

      POCA 94....2001....2002....2003!!!!!

  • Rick W

    I have known this young man for many years As an official have been fortunate to have seen him play and watch him coach Congrats and wishing him and his new team the best of luck

  • Big Deal

    Coach Stewart is a good man and good coach. The Poca football program is in good hands.

  • ThatGuyOverThere

    Bob should have been ousted years ago. When I played for him, parents bribed him so their kids could play, painted the field so their kids could play, striped the field so their kids could play, etc. I firmly believe that Poca has a chance to have some quality teams again. I really hope the new coach eliminates the entourage on the sidelines of unnecessary personnel, they create confusion and in some instances a safety hazard.

    • wrong

      The fact that you calledhim Bob is a pretty good indication that.you are a bitter parent not an ex-player

      • ThatGuyOverThere

        I called him Bob to his face in practice one time, I did many up-downs for that one. Hahaha...His teams had been a joke for the past 5-7 years becasue kids wouldn't play for him anymore.

    • rlr

      You are so right!!!! A man that went to 5 state championships south have been out....wow get a clue...I was on the state championship teams none of the best players parents volunteered to get their kids playing time....you were probably not good enough to get on the field...

  • richard

    good luck! Poca is a proud program that needs help in getting it back to where it once was. coach Lemley will be missed. he did a lot of good things for the high school and middle school. good luck coach stewart!