Former WVU post player Jeremy Bodkin hopes to lead Pendleton County back to Charleston

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Two decades after wrapping up a productive playing career at West Virginia University, Franklin High School graduate Jeremy Bodkin has returned to his home county to lead one of the top Class A teams in the state. Bodkin is in his first season leading the Pendleton County Wildcats, a team that advanced to the state title game a year ago.

“It is something I always wanted to do,” Bodkin said. “I didn’t know it would be this early. I say early, I am not that young but I am young enough to do it and enjoy doing it. But it is something I have thought about for a long time. I got the opportunity and I took it.”

Bodkin remained in Morgantown following his graduation from WVU in 1993. He was a basketball referee and also served as an assistant coach at Preston prior to his return to Pendleton County.

Dating back to the start of the 2019-2020 season, Pendleton has posted a record of 47-3. The Wildcats took a 40-game win streak into last year’s Class A state title game. The Wildcats fell to Man, 43-36 in the final.

“You go 40-1 over two seasons and everybody is gunning for you. You make the championship game and play very well in it,” Bodkin said. “It was a learning curve for them and a learning curve for me. I’ve got one starter back from last year’s team. They graduated six guys. These kids have really — give them credit, they have really responded to how I am coaching and the change of offense.”

Bodkin replaced Ryan Lambert, who has been named Principal at Brandywine Elementary School.

“Ryan did a great job in the nine years he was here. He did a great job of teaching them. Kids want to learn. They are sponges and they want to learn. My first couple practices, I was telling them something and they looked at me like I had three heads. Once they understood what I was trying to tell them — my verbiage was a bit different than what Ryan’s was. We were saying the same thing, just in a different way. When they figured that out, they really came along.”

Tanner Townsend (left) is Pendleton County’s lone returning starter from the 2021 Class A runner-up team (Photo by Eddie Ferrari)

The Wildcats are 7-2 and they are currently on a six-game winning streak. Senior Tanner Townsend [14.2 points per game] is the team’s lone returning starter.

“You can’t do anything without Tanner. He gets you into the offense. He is good on defense and he is a smart kid. He is a heady kid. I don’t think you can give a better accolade than being a smart and heady player. He can flat out shoot it. You leave him open and he is going to knock it down.”

Cole Day [11.1 points per game] is one of three double-digit scorers for Pendleton. Junior Clayton Kisamore leads the team in scoring. He averages 15.6 points per contest.

“[Kisamore] is a big surprise. He is leading us in scoring right now. We’ve got three guys that are really meshing together and they play well together.”

Bodkin played four seasons at WVU from 1990-1993. The native of Upper Tract in northern Pendleton County scored 581 points and pulled down 361 rebounds as a Mountaineer. He was given the nickname “Big Cat from Upper Tract”.

“I am not sure where that came from. I really don’t know because I couldn’t jump and I couldn’t run very fast. But I will take whatever I get.”





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