MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — At least thirteen high school football teams around West Virginia will enter the 2020 season under new leadership. Earlier this month, Herbert Hoover High School named Joey Fields as the sixth head coach in school history.
“I was ecstatic,” Fields said. “It was a long process but I can’t say enough about the administration and how they handled everything. The process was first class.”
Fields took over after Tim Meyer stepped down after an 11-year run leading the Huskies. Meyer led HHHS to four playoff appearances and the Huskies went 4-6 last fall.
“Watching film and watching ‘Hudl’ from last year, there is a lot back,” Fields said. “There’s some good skill guys and some big guys up front. Coach Meyer has always had some good size and they are physical up front. What I like about them most is that they play hard. And that’s what we are going to emphasize the most is effort and physicality. That’s the winning formula and everything else takes care of itself.”
Fields was part of the initial coaching staff at Mingo Central High School when the school opened in 2011. He was an assistant from 2011-2016 and was promoted to head coach in 2017 following the retirement of head coach Yogi Kinder. The Miners went 12-1 that fall.
“Being on the first coaching staff there with Coach Kinder and driving up to the field when it was just gravel, I feel I had a hand in everything that was built there program-wise and culture-wise. There’s good people there and they have been supportive of me.”
Fields joined the staff at Martinsburg in 2018 before returning to Mingo Central this past fall. He owns a pair of state championship rings from both of those programs.
“I have worked for good people and been around good programs. But there is nothing like when you are in the other seat building your program in your vision. I want to be around good people and hire good people. Hopefully I can be what Coach Kinder and Coach (Dave) Walker have been.”
Much like all other coaches around the state, contact with players is limited as extracurricular activities are halted due to the COVID-19 virus.
“I am contacting them through group messages and I have called a lot of them one by one. There’s not much we can do with the situation right now but I am just keeping in contact with them and keeping them excited.”
The Huskies should return a solid core of players this fall. Leading rusher Ben Kee will graduate but quarterback Nick Grayam and leading receiver Nathan Harper are scheduled to return.
“I believe in space and angles and finding grass but also having a physical run game from tackle to tackle. Defensively, we will emphasize open field tackling. My plan for the flex practice days was to see how they move, lateral movement, who can catch, who can run and then build from there. But I like what I see for sure.”
Herbert Hoover is scheduled to have a brand new football stadium completed in time for the start of the 2022 season. The Huskies will face their traditional Cardinal Conference opponents in 2020 and they will also host Mingo Central.
“I am not going to come in and be Mingo Central 2.0 or Martinsburg. I am going to take from both of those programs what I feel has made them successful. I am going to create something we can hang our hat on at Herbert Hoover and we can continue to build on from the ground up.”