RED JACKET – Former Burch High School basketball coach and all-state basketball player Kevin Hatfield has been selected to become the boys’ coach at Mingo Central High School.
The hiring committee interviewed nine candidates last week and Hatfield’s name has been turned in to the Mingo County Board of Education for approval at its next meeting on Tuesday, May 17.
“We are very pleased and excited that Kevin has agreed to become the boys’ head basketball coach at Mingo Central. He is the right person at this time for the job of rebuilding the program. The knowledge, experience, discipline, and contagious enthusiasm he brings are the things that we were looking for in a new coach,” stated Mingo Central Athletic Director Teddy Kinder.
“I’m excited to have my kids back in the community,” Hatfield said. “The kids always wanted to come back. That was part of it.”
Hatfield has been an active AAU coach since the consolidation. His son Drew Hatfield is one of the top rated freshmen in the Mountain State. He played at Sheldon Clark High School in Martin County, Ky., last season and started as an eighth grader. His son Devin will be a seventh grader this coming school year.
“The basketball program has had a lot of coaches and hasn’t had a lot of stability,” Hatfield said. “That is one thing that I can give. I’m a community guy. I think it is good to have a coach that is from the community and is invested in the student athlete. That is one of the main reasons I decided to apply.”
Hatfield becomes the fifth head coach for the Miners.
In year one, Duane Estepp guided the new consolidated school. He resigned at the end of the season and Frankie Smith returned to the area after he was hired to coach the Miners, but left before the season started. Then Brad Napier was hired and guided MCHS for three years. Last season Garland “Rabbit” Thompson took over the program on “Miner Mountain,” however he recently resigned after one season.
Hatfield said he is looking forward to the upcoming three-week period and jumping right into teaching his system.
“There is a lot of work to be done,” Hatfield said. “I’ve talked to a lot of people and the administration at Mingo Central. The three week period is probably going to be the most important since the first year the school came together. It’s important we get a lot of work done during those three weeks.”
“There are a lot of people that say it is going to take four or five years,” Hatfield said. “But I can’t wait that long. I hope it will only take two to three years.”
Mingo Central only won two games this past season and finished last in the tough Cardinal Conference.
Hatfield realizes the conference will return two of the top teams in the state in Poca, and Chapmanville, that also went to the state tournament and new CC teams like Logan and Winfield. The league also has good programs like Scott, Herbert Hoover and others.
Hatfield said he still has some work to do on the schedule. The conference provides most of the games, but he will have to schedule some out of conference games.
“We have to start building something,” Hatfield said. “The quick fix isn’t working. We have to find a way to build the program. The football team has built a good program.”
Hatfield said he plans to work with the Buddy Leagues in the MCHS area and the middle school programs, which are the feeder system for the Miners. “We want to get them acclimated to our system earlier,” the new coach said. “We want to turn this program around.”
“It will be a whole new system. Some of these kids have been through two coaches and two different systems. We have a lot of work to do,” Hatfield said.
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)