LOGAN, W.Va. — Filling the shoes of Gary Mullins will be very tough for Logan High School.
Mullins resigned this week after 13 seasons as the Wildcats’ head football coach.
Mullins said it’s time for a change and wants to spend more time with his family.
Looking back on his coaching career there were many big moments for the Wildcats, which advanced to the playoffs five times under Mullins in 2005, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2013, with the last three being at the Triple-A level.
The 2011 season was probably the highwater mark for the Wildcats in the Mullins era.
Logan went 8-2 that year and despite a 38-7 upset loss at the hands of Scott in the regular season finale, the Wildcats received a first-round home game in the Class AAA playoffs. Logan lost 51-8 to a powerful Parkersburg South team to get bounced from the post-season but that did not diminish what the Wildcats accomplished that season.
It got started with a 30-7 win at county rival Man in the opener. Then after wins over Nicholas County (25-0) and Lincoln County (42-20) the Cats were 3-0.
In Week 4, Logan had a setback, falling 30-6 at home to Kentucky powerhouse Johnson Central.
Logan then reeled off five straight wins.
Three of those were memorable ones.
In Week 5, Logan went to county rival Chapmanville Regional and trailed the Tigers late 21-14. The Wildcats scored a touchdown in the final seconds of the game to pull to within 21-20. Then, in typical Mullins fashion he opted to bypass the game-tying extra point kick and overtime and go for the win with the 2-point conversion.
Bruising fullback Joe Street got the call. Street took the handoff and surged for the goal line but was hit and bounced back. Street’s second effort then put him in the end zone as the Cats won 22-21.
Then after a 28-10 win at Winfield, Logan scored another big upset win, downing Huntington, 22-21, on the road with another last minute touchdown.
Logan then beat Mingo Central (22-6) and scored another big upset, taking down Hurricane 27-23 at a muddy and rainy Logan Stadium.
“There’s been a lot of memorable moments,” Mullins said. “The years we beat Huntington and Hurricane in the regular season … that was special the way those games ended. Both of them came down to the wire. We also beat Chapmanville that year on the last play of the game. The entire 2011 season was that way.”
Mullins debuted on Aug. 27, 2004 with a 22-18 loss at home to Man. Mullins replaced outgoing former coach George Barker, who left for his alma mater Chapmanville High School.
The Wildcats were 3-7 in 2004 and bounced back to go 5-6 in 2005 with a Class AA playoff bid.
“Some of my earlier guys that I got the opportunity to coach, I was so young and I really didn’t take the time to appreciate them,” Mullins said. “All the players worked like those players worked. You realize that not everyone is going to be like the Cornelius Godfreys, the Perrin’s, the Sheppards and Joey Carter and people like that. Everyone is not like those guys. So I wish that I could have appreciated those guys a little bit more.”
Mullins was the head coach at Logan Middle School for one season in 2003. He brought many of his players up from LMS to the high school.
Those players bought into Mullins’ system and helped Logan rebuild its football program.
“That first group that we had, the first four years with guys like Cody Baisden, Robert Shell and Tyler Perry, we had 12 guys in that group that missed a total of 10 days in four years in the weight room,” Mullins said. “When you think about that, that’s a great commitment. That’s what we’ve got to get around here year in and year out if we want to compete in the Cardinal Conference because that’s what a lot of those schools get.
“I’ve been very blessed to have some great moments and some great players. We’ve had some great athletes. They played hard, hit hard and played the way that you are supposed to play. They came to work every day.”
Logan started out this past season with a promising start with a 3-0 record.
However, the schedule got much tougher and the Wildcats lost five straight games. Logan then saved face with wins over Oak Hill and Scott to close out with a 5-5 mark.
Mullins said whoever ends up replacing him will not have to build the Wildcats from scratch as many top players will be returning for the 2017 season.
“Hopefully, the Logan Wildcats can come together,” Mullins said. “They’ve got Shawntez Matthews and he’s in the weight room every day. Those are the kinds of guys that we need and we’ve got to have more guys like that. You have to really realize that you win football games from January through July in the weight room. When you get out there in August you are just polishing things.”
Several Logan players put up big numbers in 2016 in Mullins’ final season at LHS.
Freshman quarterback David Early was 89 of 150 (59.3 percent) passing for 1,525 yards with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He sat out the John Marshall and Greenbrier East games as he was benched. Early also ran for 321 yards on 67 attempts and scored five TDs.
Early was 16 of 24 passing for 268 yards and two TDs on strikes of 83 and 48 last Friday night in the win at Scott.
Senior wide receiver Braxton Goff also had a big year, playing in his first season of varsity football. Goff caught a team-high 38 passes for 613 yards and six touchdowns. He also ran with the ball — many on jet sweeps — rushing 20 times for 160 yards and scoring three more TDs.
On defense, Goff was also a factor as he had 50 tackles, four caused fumbles, four sacks, three fumble recoveries (one for a touchdown) and five pass breakups.
Senior Jamal Minter was also all over the field for the Wildcats with 26 catches for 427 yards and five touchdowns. He filled in for Early at QB and was 23 of 54 passing for 247 yards, one TD and four picks. He rushed 44 times for 208 yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore Michael Hall also had a big year and should factor heavily into Logan’s offensive scheme next fall. Hall rushed 33 times for 398 yards and scored four TDs and also caught 18 passes for 359 yards and four more TDs.
Senior Daniel Browning and sophomore Chucky Felder also saw time at quarterback.
A total of 23 Wildcats carried the football this season.
On defense, sophomore linebacker Shawntez Matthews led Logan with 83 total tackles, an interception, two pass breakups, a sack and a fumble recovery.
Browning, a linebacker, had 72 tackles, five sacks, a punt block, a pass breakup, three fumble recoveries (one for TD), a safety and a caused fumble.
Senior linebacker Cody Maynard finished with 57 tackles, a caused fumble and four pass breakup.
Minter also saw time on defense and had 57 tackles, four pass breakups, a sack, three caused fumbles, two picks and a fumble recovery.
Felder, a defensive back, had 44 tackles, seven pass breakups, two caused fumbles and an interception.
Senior brothers David and Cezar Cruz were also big on the defense. David Cruz had 41 tackles, two sacks, a pass breakup, four fumble recoveries, a TD on a blocked punt and a caused fumble. Cezar had 35 stops, a sack and a fumble recovery.
Senior Tyler Browning also played on both sides of the ball with 28 tackles, two fumble recoveries, two picks and a pass breakup on defense. He played as a wide receiver and running back on offense. He rushed for 144 yards and had 13 catches for 122 yards.
Trey Jude, a sophomore DB, had 28 tackles and a pair of pass breakups.
The Wildcats will play a full nine-game Cardinal Conference schedule next season with the additions of Wayne, Mingo Central, Herbert Hoover, Nitro and Winfield.
Logan is 7-11 all-time vs. Wayne, last playing the Pioneers in 2009 with a 34-14 loss. Wayne struggled to a 4-6 season this fall. The series dates back to 1928.
Logan is 2-1 all-time vs. Mingo Central in a series which spanned 2011-13. The Miners were 10-0 and Cardinal Conference champions this fall and grabbed the No. 2 seed for the Class AA playoffs.
The Wildcats lead Herbert Hoover 9-7 in the all-time series. Both have been conference members of the Cardinal Conference and the Class AAA Mountain State Athletic Conference. Logan last played the Huskies in 2010, winning 14-7.
Logan and Nitro were also former MSAC affiliates. Nitro leads Logan 4-2 in the all-time series.
Logan leads Winfield 4-3 in the all-time series. The teams last played in 2012 with the Cats winning 38-28.
Mullins said he wants to thank a lot of people for lending him support in his coaching career.
“I have been blessed and I have no regrets,” he said. “If I could do it all over again I’d do it the exact same way that we did it. I had a lot of coaches and administrators help me through the years. I’m thankful and appreciative to those people but most of all I want to thank my family.”
The Gary Mullins file
Year-by-year coaching record:
2013: 7-4 (Lost 41-14 at Point Pleasant in 3A playoffs)
2011: 8-3 (Lost 51-8 to Parkersburg South in 3A playoffs)
2010: 6-5 (Lost 42-8 at George Washington in 3A playoffs)
2007: 6-5 (Lost 55-40 at Berkeley Springs in 2A playoffs)
2005: 5-6 (Lost 66-0 at Weir in 2A playoffs)
TOTALS: 13 years, 61-74 record, 0-5 in playoffs
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).