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Cowden Named Weir Coach

By JOE CATULLO

For The Intelligencer

WEIRTON – Dave Cowden was approved by the board Monday night to become, technically, the third Weir High head baseball coach in the last 10 months.

Although there have been many faces, Cowden believes there will not be much of an adjustment period because he was an assistant the previous three seasons, even with a young squad with just two seniors currently.

“From the outside, it seems like they’ve had three head coaches. In reality, I’ve been with them for the past two-plus years,” he said. “I’ll know more come Friday regarding my staff, but I know (former Madonna head coach) Tim Provenzano will be with me. He’s worked with the kids during the summer.

“The fact is that the coaches who taught them during the summer are the coaches that will be with them now. There’s going to be less change than you would think.”

Cowden takes over the reigns from T.J. Miller, who was the head coach for about a few weeks before the 2020 campaign was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Miller was an assistant and had to take over following the sudden departure of Jason Angle.

A financial advisor during the day, Cowden also has been an assistant football coach for the past decade under Tony Filberto and when Frank Sisinni became the grid boss last year. He works with the offense and specializes with quarterbacks.

This will be Cowden’s first go-around as a head coach at the high school varsity level.

“I’m certainly be proud to be the new baseball coach. I’m a Weir High grad (1986) myself,” he said. “The main reason (for taking the job) is for stability with the kids. It’s a very good group of kids.

“I’ve worked with them for the last couple of seasons. I know they all work hard during the season and offseason.

“Obviously, nobody had a season last year. So, my mentality is to keep things status quo with this group.”

Cowden’s biggest challenge for 2021 will be working around COVID-19 and the delayed winter sports season. He plans on holding his first practice on Feb. 15, the same day basketball can start. It will be a day-to-day operation on what unfolds in the coming weeks.

“As far as I know, they’ll have to name a primary sport,” he said. “That’s another conversation I’ll have with the school on Friday. Obviously if basketball is still playing and we haven’t played yet, then they should play basketball. For some of the kids if they named baseball their primary sport, once we start, I think those kids will come to our games if there is a game on the same day.”

The Clarion University graduate added that even if that is the case with an already young roster, he is confident the Red Riders can be successful.

He has that mindset from his numerous years in football.

“In all of my years in football, if you have a senior playing against a freshman or sophomore, it’s an unfair advantage. In baseball, the physical contact isn’t there. I feel that freshmen and sophomores can compete with the older kids,” he said.

Who knows what the Red Riders will look like come April, whether they will have a full roster by then or wait for more to join. For the time being, at least Weir High baseball has its guy who is familiar with the program and all things red and black.

“This is all about the kids. It’s not about the staff or anything else,” Cowden said. “I feel like they were shorted a year of their high school career. Had that happen to me, I’d be very upset about it because athletics are very important to these kids. The staff and I will do whatever we can to make sure the kids can play as much baseball as possible this year.”

Cowden resides in Weirton with his wife, Allison. They have three children: Adam, 21 (a senior at West Virginia University and a member of the Red Rider squad that went to the state tournament in 2017); Kaleigh, 18 (a freshman at WVU); and Elli, 15 (current student at Weir High).

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