GLEN DALE - Mark McCormick is a lot of things these days. Among them are nervous, excited, humbled, honored, and ready to go.
Most importantly, though, he's the new John Marshall girls' basketball coach, replacing the Dean of Ohio Valley Coaches, Stan Blankenship, who held the position for 36 years and more than 500 victories. McCormick was approved for the position earlier this week by the Marshall County Board of Education.
''I worked with Coach Blankenship side-by-side for 11 years,'' McCormick said Thursday. ''I am grateful for my time with Coach - he has helped me more than he knows, and I love him for that.
''Without him I wouldn't be in position to achieve my goal, my dream.''
With several qualified coaches sending in their resumes, McCormick, 35, and a Special Needs teacher at the school, seemed to have a couple of important advantages. First and foremost was a ringing endorsement from Blankenship.
But perhaps equally important was his working relationship with the team he stood to inherit. Even with his status in limbo, McCormick has run the Monarchs basketball ship this summer.
''I'm not going to lie, it was stressful,'' he said. ''As much as I wanted to worry about it, I couldn't.
''I had to make sure that our program stayed afloat and that my girls got the experience they needed this summer.''
Essentially he's being handed the keys to one of the Ohio Valley's premier girls' basketball program. There's pressure to be sure, but it's welcomed by not only McCormick, but his staff which will include Mindy Yoho as the head jayvee coach, as well as Jeff Stephens instructing the freshmen. Another yet-to-be-named individual is also expected to join.
''I don't see it as taking over the car,'' McCormick said. ''The car has steadied its way for 36 years.
''I'm just ready to go from the passenger seat to the driver's seat.''
New coaches often have the mindset of turning a program on its ear in attempt to make it his or hers. McCormick isn't going in that direction, though there will be some tinkering.
''I don't want to make too many drastic changes because it's obviously been successful,'' he said. ''Let's face it, you have to stop the other team. If you can control the boards and limit them to one shot, then the offense will take care of itself.
''I want to get back to that. Over the years I've thought we've lacked that - the defensive intensity. We had three or four defenses. I want to take one or two defenses and get good with that.''
McCormick said he's grateful for the BOE's vote of confidence. He plans to make good on that show of faith, but just asks for a little understanding at the beginning.
''I also know that there's going to be a lot of pressure on me, and people are just going to have to have patience with me until I get a handle on things,'' McCormick said. ''It's going to be an easy transition, but there's also going to be some difficulties because I'm not the assistant coach anymore.
''They're going to have to see me in a whole new light, and react to me in a whole new light.
''I've talked with some of the girls and they're excited because they know I have ideas and a plan. It's a matter of them buying into it and executing.''