ATHENS — Last December, Dave Walker was announced as the new football head coach at Concord University following one of the most successful careers as a high school head coach in West Virginia history.
Between then and now, the presence of COVID-19 cancelled spring practice and pushed the fall season back to the spring of 2021, forcing the program to start practices last Wednesday, the first time the Mountain Lions had a chance to work under their new head coach.
In his first press conference since taking the job, Walker said last Thursday, "This was the first August and September that I have not been on the field coaching or playing for almost 40 years, since I was a young guy so it was great being out there with those guys."
The first-year head coach spent 32 years in charge of high school teams first at East Hardy for nine years and then Martinsburg. In the 23 years at Martinsburg he’d led the Bulldogs to eight state championships.
Since players returned to campus, he said they have been training and doing other activities in small groups following protocols.
"Everything that's going on with the pandemic (has placed) everyone on new ground and definitely in an area we're all not comfortable with so we're trying to make the best out of a bad situation," he said.
Not playing until spring, Walker said, would give all the team, returnees and newcomers alike, more time to get used to his system and develop.
"I'm not hard to please. Just work hard and do the best you can do and I'm going to be happy and I'm going to be proud of them," he said.
The Mountain Lion schedule has not yet been finalized; but the MEC Commissioner of the Mountain East Conference had stated in August that teams would play five regular season games followed by a conference championship.
Jeff Harvey is a freelance reporter and columnist for the Princeton Times. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.