Athletic director: Patriots junior varsity coach now ‘frontrunner’
CHARLES TOWN – Washington High School athletic director Mark Murphy has said he hopes to have a new varsity boys’ basketball coach in place by the end of July.
And barring anything unforeseen, that person is likely to be longtime junior varsity boys’ coach Alex Feliu.
Former head coach Don Bullett’s resignation was accepted June 23 by the Jefferson County Board of Education.
Bullett had been atop the program ever since the school opened in 2008, leading the Patriots to the Class AAA state semifinals each of the past two seasons.
Bullett, 54, will remain at Washington as a full-time physical education teacher.
“If you’re going to do a good job, you’ve got to put a lot of time in,” Bullett said. “I’m at the point that, more than anything, I just want to do other things.”
Murphy said the position was likely to be formally posted this week for at least five business days. He said he didn’t expect a significant degree of interest in the vacancy, which would undoubtedly be viewed by outsiders as a considerable rebuilding project.
Washington graduated all five starters last month from a team that finished the regular season undefeated and as the No. 1 seed in the state tournament in Charleston. The Patriots were defeated by eventual state-champion Huntington in the semifinals, snapping a 25-game winning streak.
Further complicating the hiring process will be the fact that Washington doesn’t have any teaching vacancies in either physical education or the health department – positions frequently held by full-time educators filling prep-level coaching slots.
“We’ve been trying to get some feelers from around (the region) about what kind of interest we’re going to have,” Murphy said. “Right now it seems kind of slim. We’ll put it up and see what happens.”
Feliu, who works in the private sector, has been with the Washington basketball program since the school opened six years ago, including serving most recently as head coach of the junior varsity team.
“I think he’d do a great job,” Bullett said. “He’s very dedicated in the offseason, and he’s young and he’s got a lot of energy.”
Murphy said Feliu handled duties overseeing the Washington basketball program during the recent three-week summer conditioning period sanctioned by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission.
Feliu holds a WVSSAC coaching certificate, but he is not a teacher. Regulations require that teachers be given first consideration for coaching vacancies.
“Right now he has it in his mind that he’s going to take over as the next head coach,” Murphy said about Feliu. “And barring any unforeseeable applicants that somehow trump him in some way, shape or form he is likely the frontrunner right now for that spot.”
Bullett, a standout college basketball player who was later inducted into the Glenville State College Athletic Hall of Fame, returned to his native Berkeley County to begin a teaching career that will reach 30 years this winter.
Bullett also spent time coaching both boys and girls high school basketball at his alma mater in Martinsburg before arriving in Charles Town when Washington opened its doors in 2008.
He posted a record of 100-46 in six years at Washington and has an overall record of 323-127.
“Right now I’m taking time off and if I don’t get back into coaching I’ve had a lot of success,” Bullett said. “I’ve had the chance to make a difference in the lives of a lot of kids.
“That’s not to say I’ll never coach again,” he continued. “If something happened and the Martinsburg job came open, that’s where I went to school. Would I apply for it? I probably would.”
The historically successful Martinsburg boys basketball program is led by longtime head coach Dave Rogers. Bullett played and later coached for Rogers. He also coached the Bulldogs girls’ basketball team for several years.
“You always want to go back to the school you graduated from,” Bullett said.
Bullett said in the meantime he and his wife are looking forward to being able to travel more, including the newfound accessibility of spur of the moment trips to attend college and professional basketball games during the winter. He said he has also spent a lot more time on the golf course this summer.
“Basketball takes a lot of your time because you’re not just doing it during the season,” he said. “If you want to be competitive, you have got to get the kids working in the offseason. You spend a lot of your time in the offseason preparing your kids. Then once school starts you’re into conditioning. Then the season starts. Then it starts all over again.”