JM’s West Is Coach Of Year

GLEN DALE – It’s not atypical for a coach to make sure his or her players realize that individual awards are always indicative of the team’s success. Knowing that, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that John Marshall’s Ed West, who led his softball club to the West Virginia Class AAA softball title last spring, wanted to give credit to everyone but himself when it was announced he has been named the National High School Coaches Association 2012 Coach of the Year, as selected by the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission.

After all, West believes, coaches and players on 20-loss teams aren’t generally given such accolades.

“I think that it all kind of comes together. We’re all in the same boat,” West said of he and his players. “We’re just trying to do the best we can, and if we happen to be successful everyone gets more recognition.”

The Monarchs are in the midst of an historic run, having put together a two-year record of 63-7. John Marshall hasn’t lost to a team from W.Va. this season and went wire-to-wire as No. 1 of the West Virginia Sports Writers’ inaugural poll this season. Included in that run is a pair of OVAC Class 5A crowns, as well as two sectionals, a regional title and of course the state title.

“That’s pretty good and we’ve been fortunate with a great group of seniors,” West said. “Amy (Rotriga), Kylie (Howard) and Wick (Kristin Lewicki) have been a big part of this since they were freshmen, and we’ve had other seniors come along and do a great job for us.

“And our underclassmen have really been something, too.”

A head coach is only as good as his helpers, West says. To that end, he couldn’t be happier for a coaching staff that has remained intact the last four years.

“Rod Swoger is our pitching coach. Eric Booth is first-base coach and works with the infielders, and he’s been around for at least 10 years,” West said. “Denny Phillips is our jayvee coach and works with outfielders, which we’ve had a super outfield the last several years.

“These guys are all very good at what they do, and I think the girls appreciate our staff as well.”

West will be presented with his award at the upcoming state tournament in Vienna, and it would be all the more special if his team is still playing at that point. The Monarchs travel to University for a regional contest Thursday.

“That’s what we’re shooting for, but we have some steps to take to get there,” West said. “We played (the Hawks) earlier in the season and beat them pretty good … Their first pitcher we beat 10-0, and I know last year we beat them 6-0 in the regional.

“Overall I don’t think they have the talent we do, but it’s a one-game situation and anything can happen.”