In this edition of Reed Between the Lines: TCMS Assistant Football Coach Damon Waters
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live in Grafton, WV with my wife Allison and daughter Hallie. I grew up in Grafton and went to Fairmont State University after graduating from high school. I met my wife in the FSU library while finishing my BS in Accounting. After graduation, Allison and I lived in Fairmont for another 2 years while we both finished our Master’s programs (MBA for me and Family Nurse Practitioner for her). When we found out that we were pregnant, we decided we wanted to be closer to family and built a house in Grafton about three years ago.
I’m going to ask you a few questions about the 2008 season. You know that, right?
Sounds good haha!
Tell me a little bit about that team and that season. Arguably, it was the best one to ever come through GHS and you were a big reason they were so successful.
The 2008 season was definitely unlike anything I’d ever experienced. I’ve played on many different teams for a variety of sports but that was a special team for sure. I believe we had 22 seniors and I think close to 80 players on our roster that year. The thing I probably remember the most is the general feeling and expectation of everyone in the locker room. No one there had ever played in a state championship football game before and Grafton had not won a football state championship for nearly a quarter of a century, but we were all certain that we would win a state championship. I remember at the beginning of the school year, there was a set up in the cafeteria for seniors to order their class rings. Every senior football player that I talked to though said that they didn’t need to purchase one because they would have a state championship ring when they graduated. Looking back, I think this just showed the overall commitment by everyone and that we had no other option but to win one.
How did it feel to avenge your regular-season loss to Magnolia in the AA State Championship and set the AA title game rushing record (previously held by Weir’s Quincy Wilson)?
Having an opportunity to avenge your only loss from the regular season was great but being able to do it in the state championship was awesome. When we played in Magnolia, it was a very hostile environment before, during, and after the game. To come back four weeks later and win the way we did, was such an affirmation of everything that we’d worked for that entire year. The support from the community that day and night are what I remember most. We had police escorts to and from the games, crowds of people seeing us leave for the game, and a huge crowd of people waiting for us when we got back that night. I think it was well after midnight when we made it back but there were so many people there that were genuinely happy for us and what we had accomplished.
Tell me a little bit about your time at Fairmont State and being lucky enough to play football there.
Playing at FSU was a great experience. Being a student-athlete in college is very demanding and I definitely underestimated the time commitment. Most days started at 5:00am and between class, practice, workouts, film and study hall, did not end until 9:00pm or later.
What is the most bizarre question you have ever been asked by someone about football?
When I was in college, I had a few people ask me if the college coaches gave me steroids.
What is one rule change that you’d most like to see happen in football?
In the NFL, the pass interference challenge rule just needs to go away.
When did you decide that you wanted to get involved with coaching?
I made the decision to get into coaching after lunch one day (about a year ago) with John Bord and Bobby Beltner. I was interested in getting more involved in the community but didn’t know how so I asked John for advice. John told me, point blank, that I needed to coach if I really wanted to help. Less than 10 minutes after he said that, Bobby randomly walked in to the restaurant and that was it.
If you could be a successful coach in any sport other than football, what would you choose and why?
Maybe basketball just because I always enjoined playing.
What one word or phrase do you think describes you?
What is your favorite movie about sports?
Friday Night Lights.
What is the toughest position to play on the football field? Why?
I would say center. They often have to know just as much as the quarterback but take a physical beating each and every play without any of the recognition or accolades usually.
You get to spend the day with anyone (past or present), who do you choose and why?
Andrew Carnegie. His entrepreneurial and philanthropic achievements are just astounding. I think it would be amazing to spend a day with him and try to understand the world that he saw.
What do you think you do well as a coach?
I think that I can relate well with the players and make things relatable. I played football for over 15 years and I think that experience makes situations easier where a concept on a given play is difficult for one of our kids to grasp.
What do you think you need to work on as a coach?
I need a better overall understanding of offensive and defensive concepts.
Where is/was your favorite away venue to play and why?
My favorite away venue that I ever played in was Williamstown. It was one of the coolest places I’ve ever played at.
Give me the name of one player on your high school team that didn’t get the recognition they deserved.
What makes the best football teams in the state great?
What did you think of these questions?
*Each week the Mountain Statesman features a coach, player or personality from Taylor County. We hope you enjoy the chance to learn a little bit more about them.