CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It has been 14 years since Riverside High School became a new school.
Now in 2013, it is finally ushering in a new-school era of football.
After the Warriors' first two coaches, Dick Whitman and Ralph Hensley, each provided a direct connection to the two schools that consolidated to form Riverside in 1999 - Whitman coached at DuPont 1983-1998, Hensley at East Bank 1979-1998 - the program is going in a new direction this season.
Steven Freeman has been tabbed as the man to bring Riverside back to promise as the Warriors have missed the Class AAA playoffs in five straight seasons.
Freeman officially began his tenure Monday as practice began around the state.
Hensley vacated the head coaching position in November after six seasons at the helm and Freeman was officially approved for the job in late December.
Freeman, a Cabell Midland and Marshall graduate, has served as an assistant at Huntington for the last two seasons and was on the staff at Midland before that.
Needless to say, a Cabell County coach in eastern Kanawha County is an outsider, but Freeman said that's exactly what the Riverside fan base is ready for.
"For the most part, it has been a really positive reception," Freeman said. "People are open for change right now. There's a lot of excitement in our end of the county for football this year.
"Sometimes people in this end of the county feel like they're treated like second-rate citizens in Kanawha County. They've had huge coaching and staff turnover, and if someone is going to come in from the outside, people just want to make sure they want to be here. They want some continuity."
That and maybe some wins.
There lies the real challenge for Freeman and his staff as it tries to return a once-proud football community back to its glory days.
Freeman has some plans in terms of X's and O's, including running a hybrid offense that mixes a power running game and a west-coast passing attack.