Football in the mountains is approaching quickly.
Along with the new season, the Phelps Hornets have a new head coach that is turning a small-town Eastern Kentucky community into the — Wild Wild West.
Newly named head football coach for the Phelps Hornets isn’t new to the program, but he is new to the role of being a head coach.
“The journey has been long but incredible,” West said. “I got my start at EKU working under coach Dean Hood and his amazing staff. Working for a Division I FCS program really gives you insight to the game and the operations of the game that a lot of people don’t get to see.”
West gives the Hornets a chance to practice and prepare like next level athletes.
West’s knowledge is a huge plus for the program, but to get an idea of what West has to offer comes from the rest of his coaching journey.
“After leaving EKU, I worked my first coordinator position at Russell County High School as special teams coordinator and DBs coach under coach Bill Sharp,” West said. “I met some amazing people there and it gave me an opportunity to grow as a coach and develop my own philosophy.”
The young coach still needed to develop his coaching philosophy, but how do you do that?
“After leaving Russell County, I came back home to Pike County to be the offensive coordinator here at Phelps under coach David Jones.” West said. “Learning from coach Jones was a once in a lifetime opportunity because he’s one of the best defensive minded coaches I’ve ever met. It also gave me an opportunity to get to know the team, which made the transition to head coach a lot easier.”
Finally, the journey to becoming a head coach had reach an end but the journey itself is far from over.
West is someone who is constantly absorbing knowledge and adapting.
“After being a few different places under some really knowledgeable coaches, I was able to pick some pieces of their philosophies to add to mine,” West said. “I haven’t really been anywhere where the head coach and I would have a conflict of philosophies, but there are no words to describe the feeling of getting my own program to develop the kids both on and off the field.”
West went on at length about what he hopes to bring to the table for his players from what he has learned thus far.
“I’ve learned so much from the coaches I’ve worked for in the past that we would be here all day if I were to go into that kind of depth,” West said. “The main thing I’ve learned from them is to love your players, respect them, and to trust the process. There are not a lot of careers that can compare to the feeling that coaching gives you. Taking your philosophy, implementing it and seeing the boys carry it out is the most satisfying feeling that anyone could experience. I spoke before about pulling bits and pieces of previous coach’s philosophies. By doing that I am able to take the best of what I have learned so far, and gives my players the best opportunity possible because I do this for them. I do this to give them an opportunity that not everyone gets.”
The fans at Phelps are loyal and support the team every Friday night. Hornetville is eager to see where West can take the program.
“There’s no fan base in the state like Hornetville,” West said. “They’ve supported these boys and previous Phelps programs through thick and thin. I’m really excited to give them a football program that they can be proud of and continue what coach Jones started here. They can expect an explosive offense and a hard-hitting defense. Most importantly, they can expect to see these boys having fun on the field because at the end of the day, that’s what this game is about.”
Coach West got down to brass tax when spoke about exactly what he wanted his guys to take away from there time with him once they have graduated and moved on to become their own men.
“Everything starts with respect,” West said. “Respect tradition, respect the game, respect others, and most importantly respect yourself. I want these young men to be contributing members of society after they leave Phelps High School. I want them to be great fathers, brothers, sons, cousins, uncles, etc. I want them to want the best for themselves and to always set achievable goals. If they follow this philosophy through life, it will make them that much better of a person. Football is just a game. Life will go on with or without it. What I teach them about life is far more important than X’s and O’s.”
The Phelps Hornets have themselves a devoted leader who is determined to bring out the untapped potential of the young men he is leading. West and the Hornets start their season on Aug 30th, when they face off against the East Ridge Warriors in the Pike County Bowl. Tune into the Bank On It Podcast to see the full exclusive interview with coach West.