CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Hall of Fame high school football coach Steve Edwards Sr. will be remembered this week by those who knew him best.
A candlelight service is set for Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the field which bears his name.
Edwards died Saturday morning at the age of 81. He coached the George Washington Patriots from 1968-1983. That included the school’s only state championship in 1982 when the Patriots were 13-0. During his tenure he had a record of 99-67 and went to the playoffs four times.
He played high school football for St Albans and graduated in 1955. During an interview with WCHS Radio from 2007 he recalled losing his final game as a player.
“We were 9-0 and Barboursville was 9-0 and our last game was against each other. Whoever won that game was supposed to be the state champion,” said Edwards. “We had a good team and it was a great game, but we got beat in the last game of the season. It came right down to the end of the game and they won out 13-7.”
Edwards would go on to play at West Virginia University before returning to teach and coach in Charleston.
“He was a great man, ” said Charleston Mayor Danny Jones. “He was actually at George Washington High School when I was a freshman in 1965. He was the assistant coach and that’s when I first remember him.”
Jones noted Edwards was always involved in the community.
“He worked for the city. He was a shop teacher up at GW He was a gym teacher at George Washington. He was the coach for a long time and twice a candidate for sheriff of Kanawha County and ran very good campaigns,” said Jones.
“He touched lives of tens of thousands of people,” Jones remarked. “The fact that his wife was in education and now both of his kids are, I cannot imagine the effect they have had on tens of thousands of people. All of them.”
Edwards spent a few years working for the city in retirement. He patrolled with an assistant and removed graffiti from various places around town, a job Mayor Jones assigned for him as he looked for something to do.
In recent years, Edwards had returned to coaching, serving as a close assistant to his son Steve Edwards Jr at George Washington. He recalled how much the game had changed since his playing days.
“Old people like myself would always say it boils down to block and tackling–which it does in a sense,” the elder Edwards once commented to WCHS Radio. ” It’s so much more wide open today. They spread you out and make you defend the whole field. The offense is so much more sophisticated than it was in 1955 or ’54.”
The elder statesman of GW football will be on the minds of players, coaches, and fans this Friday night when George Washington opens up the playoffs at Spring Valley. His funeral will be mid-week.
“He wouldn’t want any kind of services or anything to distract or disrupt the process of a game on Friday night,” said son Steve Edwards Jr. who was on hand for the playoff coaches meeting Sunday in Parkersburg. “I’m here because he wouldn’t have expected anything else from me.”