PCHS Alumni Honor Casteel
The Paden City High School Alumni Association honored Jeff Casteel, a 1980 graduate of Paden City High School and defensive coordinator for the West Virginia University football team, as the 2009 Distinguished Alumni during a reception Saturday afternoon.
The award is the highest award granted by the Paden City Alumni Association to a living alum of Paden City High School and is awarded annually as part of the Alumni Weekend activities.
Immediately after receiving the award, Casteel looked at the plaque and said, “I would never have thought I would have seen distinguished and my name together. . . You guys might have to rethink the criteria.”
But in all seriousness, Casteel said, “I’m proud that you all are proud.” He noted he is teaching what he has learned at PCHS-a sense of community and caring about each other.
“It never leaves you. It’s pumping through all our veins,” said the defensive coordinator who then mentioned the current defense against the closure of PCHS. “They’ve probably picked a fight that they’re going to have trouble with.”
Casteel said being in his alma mater brought back a lot of memories. He even choked up a bit when he said, “The reason that I’m coaching is because of you.” He pointed out Coach Bob Burton, who was in attendance, and listed other high school coaches Ron Renner, Jack Starcher, and Frank Knight.
“There’s a piece of every one of you there (on the WVU sideline),” said Casteel who mentioned after nine years the hair on his neck still stands up when he runs through the tunnel onto the field. He wished everyone from Paden City could experience that grand entrance.
WVU Head Football Coach Bill Stewart, who attended the reception, promised those in attendance, “When we take the field Jeff Casteel thinks about Paden City High School, Paden City, and Wetzel and Tyler counties.” Casteel nodded his head in agreement.
“Jeff Casteel never takes that short cut,” said Stewart. “No matter what task you ask of him, he juts out that jaw and goes for it.”
Young people, said Stewart, crave the values, guidance, and role models instilled and created in Paden City. “He has shown that good things come from small schools and good things come from Paden City High School and continue to,” said Rodney McWilliams, alumni association member and reception organizer.