MASON, W.Va. — Wahama has big shoes to fill.
During his 19th season as head coach of the Wahama White Falcon football team, Ed Cromley announced his retirement on Thursday.
Cromley has brought great success to the White Falcon program, going 154-36 in his 19 seasons, an 81.1 winning percentage. All but four of Wahama’s 17 playoff appearances have been coached by Cromley, including five appearances in the state Final Four.
“I felt the amount of stress placed on me by the administration was unhealthy,” said Cromley “It’s not worth it, so I ended my employment with the school district.”
Cromley has taught at Wahama High School since 1979 and has served as the head football coach since 1994. Before teaching at Wahama, Cromley taught one year at Eastern High School right after college.
“I enjoyed coaching immensely,” Cromley said. “Being a football coach is something I have wanted to do since high school, and I’m very fortunate to have had this opportunity.”
The 2012 football team led by Cromley won the White Falcons first state football title with a 43-42 overtime victory over Madonna in the state final. The Wahama coaching staff made the tough call to go for two points, down by one in overtime in a make-or-break situation that made the White Falcons champions.
“Winning the state championship was wonderful,” said Cromley. “We had gotten close so many times with a lot of good teams and good players.”
Cromley won coach of the year honors in Class A last season, leading the White Falcons to a 14-0 record. Cromley has also won Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division coach of the year awards in each of the last two seasons. The White Falcons’ streak of 32 consecutive regular season wins was snapped earlier this season by Trimble, as was the streak of 24 straight league wins.
With the White Falcons homecoming game on tap for this Friday, Cromley added a message to the White Falcon faithful.
“It’s all about the kids,” said Cromley. “The fans need to continue to support the kids who are out there working hard and sweating.”
Defensive coordinator and WHS Track and Field coach Dave Barr confirmed to The Point Pleasant Register Thursday evening that he has assumed head coaching duties in Cromley’s absence. Barr has held previous head coaching jobs at Southern, Hannan and Wellston. The White Falcons are currently 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the TVC Hocking this season.
In an effort to get the school district’s side of the story, The Point Pleasant Register attempted to contact school district officials for an explanation. Wahama High School Vice Principal and acting athletic director Melissa VanMeter declined comment on the matter and advised that football coach-related questions should be directed to the Mason County Board of Education — which also had no comment on Cromley’s situation Thursday despite an office visit and multiple phone calls from the editor of the Register and the author of this report.
Phone calls were also made to the office of Mason County Schools Superintendent Suzanne Dickens in regard to this matter, but the calls were not returned by press time. Jack Cullen, administrative assistant to Dickens, refused to comment on the grounds that confirming Cromley’s departure might “violate the rights of district personnel”.
OVP Managing Editor Stephanie Filson contributed to this report.