So welcome to Coalfield Sports. We are a sister site to the message boards that started this whole thing: www.swvasports.com. Oh yeah, there’s a link up top to take you straight there. Join the site and join in on the fun.
Our SWVA Sports Podcast is hosted here. You’ll find that link up top, too.
We will strive to bring you interactive elements all season. Game previews and recaps. Q&A’s with various folks from the area. Players of the week (and year), a weekly Top 10 that comes straight from SWVA Sports.
Coalfield Sports Staff:
Ryan Dye – Author, Podcast Host
There’s just something about growing up in this area that lends itself to sports. Friday nights are the undisputed king. We all head to the local high school to catch a glimpse of those boys of fall.
That was no different in Richlands where I grew up with a love and a passion for the Blue Tornado. Unlike my co-host, I never strapped that lightning R on my head. I took the band route instead. However, that didn’t stop me from becoming most school spirited my senior year, a title I still proudly wear today.
Leaving to get my degree at Virginia Tech actually helped solidify all that I love about this area. Sure, football is a big deal in the NRV as well, but it’s just not the same. And that’s okay. Our area is special.
I’m happy to be back in SWVA this fall and I’m ready to bring you a plethora of content options as we embark on this thing called life. RIP Prince.
Oh, and Hunt Bros. Pizza is the best pizza.
Brady Hess – Author, Podcast Host
I am a graduate of Richlands High School—class of 2014. In May 2018, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism and History with a minor in War and Society from Virginia Tech.
My passions in life are numerous. We don’t have all day. This is not the place to divulge into Hokie Football, so I will shed some light on one of my other favorites.
I was born and raised in the coalfields of southwest Virginia—Richlands to be exact. I remember the first time I ever went to a high school football game (Richlands-Tazewell ’02). Since then, a passion has grown that is stronger than the current in the Clinch River. As a football player in this region, I was able to witness the passion oozing out of the hills firsthand. It was something that when I began college, people had a hard time believing the spectacle that is high school football in the coalfields. Luckily, I was able to go 42-8 in between the white lines on Fridays and Saturdays from 2010-2013. I look forward to having another platform to tell you my stories, your stories and their stories. Here’s to the good times and hoping I don’t leave you like I did Coach Greg Mance numerous times—by saying, “Gosh Durn It!”
Eugene Hilton – Author, Website Admin
BRMC born, Abb’s Valley raised.
Unfortunately, I went down with the ship as a Pocahontas Indian. I spent my last year as a Tazewell Bulldog. I moved away for a time and became a resident of Tuscaloosa County, Alabama (Roll Tide), but I eventually had to move back to the mountains of SWVA and assume the position of ambassador of Falls Mills, VA.
I work in insurance and handle retirement accounts for the largest parts of my day. During the occasional free time I have I find myself cleaning up after my two kids, being told that I’m wrong by my wife, and arguing with people on internet forums.
Being brought up in this area I’ve got to see the love and support that fans have for their teams. And that’s kind of how this website idea was born for me. I’ve been able to witness multiple times, 10,000+ people pack into Mitchell Stadium during the last week of August. I stood in line for 3 hours to get a seat in the sold-out Tazewell Middle School gym to watch Mac McClung and Gate City take on the G-Men in the state semi-final. But I’ve also been lucky enough to witness the passion that a smaller community has for their sports programs. You can pick up a newspaper during football season and see how passionate fans are at the Graham-Beaver game, or at a Richlands-Union game, but believe it or not – that same passion is held at a Hurley-Grundy game, or a Narrows-Bland game. But for the most part it just doesn’t get the same exposure. So that’s what we’re here for; we hope to change that. This website was built for all the passionate fans of sports in the coalfields, to read about their team, and learn the pride and traditions of others. It was built for the kids that put in all the hard work in the fall for our entertainment to get all the recognition that they deserve. We plan on having fun and interacting with everyone. Feel free to reach out if you’d like to be apart of our team!
Brian Owens – Author
I was born a Haysi Tiger but unfortunately succumbed to a broken heart on a cold, rainy afternoon in King William, Virginia on December 6, 2014.
However, I was reincarnated as a Wolf, and became a runner of the Ridgeview Wolfpack on August 28, 2015. You now hear me howling most autumn Friday nights high atop Rose Ridge in Dickenson County or anywhere else my Pack of hungry Wolves may be, from Grundy to Falcon Hill or from Ben Hur to Pikeville, Kentucky.
I never wolfed down (pun very intended) a Tiger Taco like Mr. Brady Hess, but I was and still am known to devour a pizza from Pizza Factory on Main Street in Haysi.
I have always wanted to write about sports and now I have the opportunity to thanks to those who have built this wonderful place on the world wide web. Hope y’all enjoy.
Brandon Sheets – Author
I’m a 2003 graduate of Tazewell High School and love the town I grew up in. After graduation I continued my education at Radford University getting my Bachelor’s degree in Management and a Master’s in Business Administration.
Personally, my life revolves around my family and main profession. I have an amazing wife and two beautiful, sweet little girls. Throughout the week you can find me at Ramey Automotive in Richlands, where I’m the General Manager. I’m blessed to be a part of a family business that is eager to support multiple things and especially high school football.
My grandmother lives in Bastian, VA and she has a sign that hangs in her carport that says “If you’re lucky enough to live in the mountains, you’re lucky enough.” Man, is that sign true. I’ve lived here all my life and there’s a few things constant; high school football being one of them. In 2017, I was fortunate to get to provide the color commentary for Tazewell Football on Kicks Country and G98 radio. I’ll continue to do so this year as well. Follow me as I share past stories and cover your Tazewell High School Football team throughout the season.
Zach Helton – Author
I’m just a simple man. I enjoy breakfast food and beautiful women.
Homegrown Raven boy with a passion for sports and broadcasting.
Coming up this fall, I will have broadcast close to 500 sporting events including football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, soccer and even hockey at levels ranging from pee wee to professional in states such as Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, North and South Carolina, New York, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia.
But one thing has always been certain, high school athletics in Central Appalachia have always been where I could find the most passionate fans and participants.
I’m excited to be a part of this great team and look forward to sharing with you just some of my musings here on the site.
Seth Hearl– Author
I’m Seth Hearl. I’ve been writing in sports media for the better part of a decade. I specialize in sports but I am comfortable writing about pop culture and need culture as well. I am a 2005 graduate of Powell Valley High in 2005, where I was fortunate to be a part of the Viking football team. Sports have been a passion since I was a kid. I owned a VHS covering every Super Bowl up to 1998, eventually wearing the tape out from use. I worked in the sports information department at UVa-Wise for five years, compiling recaps for all the games as well as longer form pieces. Being a lifelong native of southwest Virginia, I am deeply ingrained in the area, knowing who I can gather valuable insight from as well as being familiar with how the area works in relation to sports.
Doug Rose– Author
My name is Doug Rose, and I’ve been a lifelong sports enthusiast. I’m 39 years old and I have 2 kids. My daughter is headed to Alice Lloyd College in Kentucky, to throw shot put and discus. My son is a senior at Virginia High School, and has been a starter in 2 sports since his Freshman year. They are the two reasons I am proud to be a Bearcat Dad.
I’ve been married for 20 years to the love of my life, LeAnn, who will be responsible for many of the pictures I post. LeAnn and I are 1997 graduates of VHS, where I played both baseball and football. I was fortunate enough to experience a State Championship victory in baseball in 1996.
Trey Freeman– Author
Born in Pulaski, Va it only took a few years before I would end up in the beautiful Giles County where I would graduate in 2012 from Giles High School. Since the age of 4, Pearisburg has been my homeplace and I don’t have any plans to leave.
Sports have always been big in my family. My father was fortunate enough to be able to play football for the Spartans in 1978, which was the first year that Coach Steve Ragsdale introduced the single-wing offense which we will still run today.
My high school football career was cut short due to a knee injury that I sustained my junior year, but fortunately I was able to compete in the State Championship my senior year as a shot put thrower on the track and field team.
I now get to enjoy the football games in the stands with my father as we are known as, “them guys with the train horn,” which we take to every football game. GO SPARTANS!
Michael Surrett – Author
Coalfield Sports’ Abingdon Falcons writer!