Beallsville Honors Football Coaching Icon, Dave Caldwell
BEALLSVILLE — It has always been my belief that there are two ways to truly honor special individuals. One is Hall of Fame induction. The second is naming something after that worthy person.
Dave Caldwell entered the OVAC Hall of Fame in 2017. It was a well-deserved honor.
This past Friday, Beallsville High School’s football field was christened “Dave Caldwell Field.” It was a fitting tribute to a dedicated man who walked those sidelines for 29 very successful years as head coach of his alma mater.
Caldwell guided his Blue Devils to 197 wins, six OVAC championships and six Pioneer Valley Conference titles. Moreover, Beallsville reached the OHSAA playoffs eight times (1994, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011) under his tutelage.
That included a berth in the Division VI, Region 23 state semifinals in 1994 and a 10-3 season in 2011 when BHS advanced to the D-VI, Region 23 title contest.
“I am really humbled by this honor. It is a pretty big honor. I appreciate everyone who helped me get there,” Caldwell said. “An honor like this is not about one person…it takes a lot of people. I have to thank all my assistant coaches, my players, the administration, band, cheerleaders and our fans. They all played a part in this. It was a team effort.
“I have a lot of great memories from my time here. I was able to coach a lot of great players who made a lot of great plays. I still remember when Rick Meade blocked a kick against Monroe Central in 1994 to get us in the playoffs. We averaged about 25-30 players a season. I think our biggest roster was 40 and the smallest was 16. We always had tough and dedicated players.”
Caldwell was tabbed Coach of the Year in the Eastern District and PVC multiple times and he coached in the OVAC Rudy Mumley All-Star Football Game five times (1989, 1993, 2001, 2005 and 2009).
“Dave deserves this honor. There is no debate. He is an OVAC Hall of Fame coach and won 197 games at Beallsville. Coach Caldwell put Beallsville football on the map. When I tallied up the career records of all football coaches in Beallsville history, it became even more clear,” Beallsville principal Casey Tolzda said. “Coach Caldwell had nearly 60 more wins than every other coach in Beallsville history combined. He won more championships, had more playoff appearances and did more with less than anybody.
“Many other coaches across the valley and state had good career records, but they didn’t coach at Beallsville. We have to work harder than anybody for anything that we do because of our size. Many coaches who have been successful in other places may not have been able to do what Dave did at Beallsville. That is not an insult to other coaches, but a compliment to Coach Caldwell.
Coach Caldwell is a great football mind and was a great coach, but he is an even better person. He made everyone around him better. He expected no less than the best. I spent a lot of time around him growing up, as he and my dad are great friends. You learn so much just by talking to him. He was tough, no excuses and all Beallsville.”
Caldwell was a three-sport performer at Beallsville High School (football, basketball and track), playing on the school’s first unbeaten football team in 1972. He went on to play football for four years at Muskingum University, earning his degree there in 1977 and later obtaining a master’s degree from Salem University.
“Sometimes people didn’t like him, but that’s just because he didn’t accept anything less than the best,” Tolzda said. “Once you learned that, you loved him as a coach, mentor and friend. He would do anything for anybody. Beallsville football owes Coach Caldwell so much for his many years of service and success.”
Caldwell and his wife, Karen, now reside in Cambridge to be close to their grandchildren. He teaches at Shenandoah.
“I appreciate everything the Beallsville community has done for me,” Caldwell said. “I have so many great memories. Beallsville is a special place with special people.”
In addition to naming the field after Caldwell, the 1994 regional team was honored Friday night and Don DeLong Drive was dedicated.
“Coach DeLong spent many years in many capacities at Beallsville,” Tolzda said. “We also dedicated the Henry Prichard Memorial Bleachers. We have a plaque in the new school for Coach Prichard because of the many roles he played at Beallsville. He also was the first football coach in Beallsville history.”
TOP FOOTBALL GAMES
It is said there are two seasons in the Ohio Valley — football season and waiting for football season.
To pay tribute to King Football, The Intelligencer, Wheeling News-Register and Times Leader are joining forces to identify and subsequently chronicle the “Greatest High School Games” of the past 50 years.
Criteria for those games include:
∫ History (first meeting of teams/most yards/points);
∫ Atmosphere (sellout crowd/standing room only);
∫ Competitiveness (back-and-forth/close game);
∫ Importance of the game (championship/playoff berth);
∫ Participants (All-time great players involved).
To help select the top games, we are enlisting help from our readership. Fans are asked to submit their choices with supporting information via email to email@example.com or by mail to Bubba Kapral, 200 S. Fourth St., Martins Ferry, Ohio 43935.
If you have a game that doesn’t meet the aforementioned criteria but has special significance, we want to know about it. Please submit with pertinent information.
Once the top games have have been selected, The Intelligencer, Wheeling News-Register and Times Leader will highlight those games in their Thanksgiving editions. Included will be game stories, photos, stats and comments from players/coaches and fans involved in those memorable contests.
SAM ANDY CLASSIC
The pairings have been announced for the third edition of the Sam Andy Classic set for Friday, Dec. 13 at Wheeling’s WesBanco Arena.
The opener tips at 5:15 p.m. and is a tremendous girls’ game matchup between Fort Frye and Wheeling Park. Both squads will be two of the premier teams in the OVAC this winter.
That will be followed at 7 p.m. by a quality boys’ affair as Wheeling Park meets reigning OVAC 4A champion Meadowbrook. The Patriots of Michael Jebbia and the Colts of Scooter Tolzda are both primed for quality campaigns. The two schools have not met on the hardwood since the 1988-89 season. They will square off again on Jan. 14.
The nightcap has the Cameron boys taking on Magnolia at 8:45.
Doors open at 4:15 that day. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students. WVSSAC and OVAC passes will be honored.
The first two Sam Andy Classics have proven to be major successes, paying tribute to a coaching icon.
∫ Glendale High School in Arizona is sporting a BB sticker on its helmets in honor of Bob Bruney, legendary Martins Ferry and Ohio State gridder. Bob’s grandson, Niko, is on the Glendale staff.
∫ Elijah Bell has had a tremendous grid career at North Carolina A&T. The talented Wheeling Park product etched his name into the A&T record book by hauling in a one-handed TD pass against Elon last week. Bell now has 26 career TD receptions, most in A&T history. The former Randy Moss Award winner caught nine passes for 93 yards in the opener.
∫ Zara Zervos is a remarkable all-round athlete. The John Marshall dandy was at her best last Saturday. After placing second in the Martins Ferry Cross Country Invitational that morning, Zervos proceeded to score five goals and dish out three assists in a soccer game later that afternoon.
∫ Are there any Steeler fans that still regret the Antonio Brown trade?
∫ Kudos to Andrew Connor for pocketing his 100th win as Indian Creek’s head football coach Friday night. Andrew is one the classiest guys in the profession.
Bubba Kapral can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org