By Steve Keenan
Matt Boyd recently got the call to serve as Fayetteville High School’s boys basketball coach for this coming winter, but he knows where he’ll be headed when he gets a certain call come January.
Boyd, a 31-year-old Mount Hope resident and a 2001 Oak Hill High graduate, has been hired by the state Board of Education as head coach of the Pirate boys.
Looking ahead to basketball season, he and his wife, Rebekah, are expecting their first child in January.
“I’ve got a little dilemma coming up,” he said. “That will be right in the middle of basketball season, but when I get the call, I’ll (be there for her).”
Boyd, who played on state basketball and baseball tournament teams with the Red Devils, replaces Todd Mann as the Pirates’ coach. While Boyd has considerable experience in the past decade as an assistant coach, the Fayetteville job will mark his first head coaching stint.
“I’m real excited,” he said of his initial shot at being the boss. “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, but just hadn’t had the right situation come up.
(“Talking with his parents and his wife) I decided this was a good opportunity.”
Boyd is in his second year of teaching driver’s education and health at FHS.
In recent years, he has assisted Eddie Souk’s football teams at Mount Hope and Oak Hill high schools, in addition to assisting Dan Poland last year with the Fayetteville baseball team.
He got his start coaching basketball as an assistant for several years with Jim Maynor at Mount Hope, where Boyd’s father, Wally, was the head coach in the mid-1990s and took the Mustangs to the state tournament. The younger Boyd also was an assistant for Oak Hill basketball coach Fred Ferri in his final season and was an assistant for Red Devil baseball coach Chris Walls.
“I think I’ve had a great opportunity to be around some good basketball people like my dad, Coach Ferri and Coach Maynor,” Boyd said.
He says his wife, a former basketball standout at Meadow Bridge High School, offers him a lot of support and shares his love for athletics.
“She’s more sports than I am,” he said. “I didn’t coach basketball last year and she was more disappointed than I was.”
After he gets through the football season with the neighboring Red Devils, Boyd will turn his full attention to the hardwoods. While he realizes the roster will dictate things somewhat, Boyd knows what he wants from his squads.
“First and foremost, I want a team that is going to play hard; that’s No. 1,” he said. “I want my teams to play hard, physical basketball.
“We want to get up and down the floor, play up-tempo, press and play man-to-man.”
He expects Poland to stay on as his assistant, and Jason Blankenship is expected to fill the volunteer coaching role.
Boyd relishes the fact that more will fall on his shoulders.
“It (being a head coach) is a big responsibility,” he said. Now, he realizes he’ll have to be the one to make the big decisions concerning the program.
“I have looked at the schedule, and it is tough,” Boyd added, pointing to games with teams such as Greater Beckley Christian, Oak Hill and Greenbrier West. “I’m excited.
“I can’t wait for it to get started.”
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