In this edition of Reed Between the Lines: GHS Assistant Football Coach Mickey Foley
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Evansville Indiana and moved to Grafton when I was in the second grade. I graduated from GHS in 1993 and graduated from WVU in 1997. I am married to by beautiful wife Susan. We have one son named Cam. I teach Fitness and Wellness and Drivers Ed at GHS.
When and why did you begin coaching?
I have always been fascinated with coaching and teaching. I have a great uncle named Wes Swisher who coached multiple sports but mainly baseball in Virginia. I always respected him and enjoyed listening to him talk about coaching and playing. He was probably my biggest influence as coaching goes. I always respected and admired my coaches when I played sports. People like Allen Menear, Mike Skinner, Bumpy Ware contributed as well. I started coaching sometime in the late 90’s. I worked some sports camps in Morgantown while in college. I started coaching football at Grafton about 2001.
How has COVID-19 affected GHS football?
The biggest issue has been the inability to be in the weight room. I don’t think kids understand how important it is. Not just getting stronger and faster but the injury prevention side. We also missed the opportunity to use flex days and are live period has been moved to the prime vacation time.
What is the most bizarre question you have ever been asked by someone about football?
I don’t think I have ever been asked any bizarre questions about football. Maybe, when someone asked if we teach tackling. I know at times it may not look like it but trust me we do.
What is one rule change that you’d most like to see happen in football?
The one that I thought needed changed the most was changed this year. You can now spike the football to stop the clock from the shotgun. In the past it was considered intentional grounding. So, I guess I will have to find another one for this year.
What has changed within the sport between when you played and now?
The biggest is how we can practice and how we handle concussions. Not being able to have back to back 2 a day practices has really been a factor. The amount of live contact in practice has decreased. Concussions are a part of all sports and I think it was important for stricter safety measures to be adopted.
What one word or phrase do you think describes you?
Passionate. The way you do anything is the way you do everything.
What do you think of the Tim Tebow bill passing? Should homeschooled kids be allowed to play football at the school nearest to their home?
Not a fan and I don’t support it. I guess we will have to live with it for now.
What is your favorite movie about sports?
So, I grew up watching sports movies with my dad. Pride of the Yankees and Fear Strikes Out are two that I remember most. However, if anyone really knows me, they know there are only two sports movies worth watching: Hoosiers and Rudy. Case closed.
What is the toughest position to play on the football field? Why?
All positions have their inherited challenges. They are all equally important and situations create times that may make one seem tougher than another.
What do you tell the 8th graders who plan on playing high school football?
Haven’t really had much to say to them yet other than have you had any covid-19 symptoms. They need to know that their success is in their hands. It will not be handed to them.
What is the outlook for this year’s team if the season holds up?
I think if we can stay healthy, we can be successful. We have several kids who played last year, and we should be strong in the skilled positions.
You get to spend the day with anyone (past or present), who do you choose and why?
My dad. No question about it. Before he died, I talked to him almost daily about coaching and sports. You can’t replace that. He really enjoyed watching the games and seeing the kids perform.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully I am healthy enough to still be teaching and coaching.
What do you think you do well as a coach?
I think I have good relationships with the athletes. I am not afraid to tell them the truth.
What do you think you need to work on as a coach?
I am very critical of myself. I am always reevaluating things. I wish at times I would put the pencil down.
Where is your favorite away venue to coach at and why?
I am loyal to a fault. There is no better place than McKinney Field. Period. Second place would be Wayne High School. One of the loudest places in high school football.
Give me the name of one player from last year’s team that didn’t get the recognition he deserved.
There are a lot of kids who never got enough recognition. Shane Moran is one that really stands out to me. He worked hard in practice. He stepped up and played a lot of snaps for us when people were injured. The good thing is he is only a Junior.
What makes the best football teams in the state great?
I believe that the great teams have made the commitment to be great. Players and coaches understand the sacrifices that must be made. They understand the work that goes into it. They just don’t show up on Fridays and let the chips fall where they may. They put the chips where they want them. They have created a mindset that does not include being mediocre. Everyone has a job to do and they do their job.
What did you think of these questions?
Very thought provoking. Which surprises me since they come from you. I guess you should let people know that we were friends growing up, so I am allowed to say that.
*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.