INWOOD – The man at the helm of Musselman High’s football program since Richard Nixon was in the White House has announced his retirement.
Denny Price, a West Virginia native who played football at West Virginia State, gathered sports writers, former players, family members and supporters to the school’s library to say the Applemen’s just-completed season would be his last.
Musselman ended the 2012 season in mid-November with a Round Two playoff loss to cross-county rival and eventual AAA division state champion Martinsburg High.
Price, who came to Musselman in 1973 as a 23-year-old, spent his entire coaching career at the South Berkeley school. He retires with a state record of 276 wins, including three state titles.
The first championship came just a year later when the Applemen beat Hamlin, 8-0, in the A division for West Virginia’s smallest schools.
In 1982, after the growing school moved up to the AA division, Price led Musselman to a second title, this time over Wayne County powerhouse Ceredo-Kenova High.The next fall, the state title again came down to a showdown between C-K and Musselman, but this time the Wonders prevailed.
At the time, the C-K football team was coached by Carl Ward, who formerly held the record for most football wins at a single school. (Ward, who coached at the school from 1959 to 1988, retired with 244 victories. His record at C-K endures. A decade after his exit, the school was closed, consolidated with two others.)
In 1989, Musselman again finished as AA state runner-up and six years later, Musselman won a second AA title in dramatic fashion: starting as the 16th seed and taking out No. 1 South Harrison the first week of the playoffs on its way to the state title, a win over Bluefield.
During his 40-year tenure, Price – a native of Paden City along West Virginia’s border with Ohio – also led the school to four undefeated regular seasons, in 1980, 1982, 1993 and 1998.
Only three others have served as head football coach at Musselman since the school opened in 1949, including the school’s first football coach Kenneth Waldeck, for whom Musselman’s football field is named.