CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Riverside had a head start on South Charleston and is further along in its quest to hire a new football coach.
Those two Kanawha County high schools had vacancies to fill when veteran coaches Ralph Hensley (Riverside) and John Messinger (SC) stepped down following their respective seasons.
Riverside Principal Valery Harper said her five-member committee has interviewed seven of the eight applicants for the job, and hopes to wrap up that process on Friday.
"We hope to have a decision prepared and ready to go by Monday, but it could be before then,'' Harper said. "I want to call all the applicants whether they get the job or not and let them know we appreciate them wanting to be part of our Riverside family.''
The Riverside committee is comprised of Harper, athletic director Jonathan Veazey, an assistant principal and a community representative of the two high schools that merged into Riverside - DuPont and East Bank.
Harper declined to name those who had already interviewed, but said some were from outside the Riverside community and not currently employed in the school system and one hails from outside West Virginia.
The Gazette has learned that two of the eight applicants at Riverside are current Warriors assistant coaches Nate Johnson and Jamie McDonough. Another is Jay Phares, defensive coordinator at Patrick Henry (Va.), whose head coach is former Moorefield and Glenville State coach Alan Fiddler.
South Charleston, meanwhile, trails Riverside in its search process because it hasn't conducted interviews yet.
The position was still posted on the Kanawha County Schools hotline until midnight Wednesday, so Principal Mike Arbogast didn't yet know the full field of applicants. He said interviews are scheduled for next week.
"We're going to move quickly,'' Arbogast said. "We hope to have things in place soon, and we hope to make a formal announcement before Christmas break.''
Arbogast likewise declined to name applicants the position has drawn so far, but the Gazette has learned that they include Donnie Mays, SC's current offensive coordinator, George Washington assistant Jason Smith, who has been on the Patriots' staff since 2001, and former SC head coach Todd Chevalier, who went 19-41 with the Black Eagles from 1996-2000.