Paden City Athletic Director Fred King Retires
Giving up something you love is never easy. It usually takes long hours of contemplating on the decision, and many hours lying awake wondering if your doing the right thing.
When it comes to retirement, it is normally even tougher if you’ve spent your whole career in that one field you love. Paden City High School Athletic Director Fred King recently announced his decision to retire from teaching, and as head boys basketball for the Wildcats.
King has spent a major portion of his life involved in sports. From the time he was a young boy, throughout his high school career, he loved to play. That passion carried over to a career that would expand over four decades.
Coach King, as he is known to most of his ex-athletes, knew what he wanted to do upon graduating from high school.
“I wanted to give back to the future generations some of the lessons that I learned in life at a young age. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people and in a positive way, and I think I’ve done that,” said Coach King. “I understood that in order to do the right things I needed an education first and foremost.”
King enrolled at Bowling Green State University in 1975, and in 1976 he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education: Physical Education, Science and Health. Starting in 1976-77 he was employed as a full time substitute teacher.
In the fall of 1977, he became employed at the Newport, Ohio Junior High School as a Health/Science/Physical Education Teacher for grades 6-8.
His education expanded over the next two-and-a-half decades as he continued to expand his knowledge, always with the thought of providing the best that he could for the children he instructed. In 1981, he received West Virginia Health Certification from Salem College.
From 1982-85, he worked to obtain his Masters of Arts Degree in Physical Education with an Athletic Trainer Endorsement from Marshall University. In 1990-93, he obtained Permanent certification for Specific Learning Disabilities from West Virginia University. He also attended WVU from 1999-2001 towards work on permanent certification in MI/BD, K-12.
He then spent the next two years at Frontier High School as a Health and Physical Education Teacher, grades 9-12. In 1982, he became the Health and Physical Education teacher at Sistersville High School grades 7-12, where he stayed until 1989.
Following that, he spent the next 11 years mostly at the Middle School level while also spending time at Sistersville, Valley and Magnolia High.
In 2001, Coach King came to Paden City where he was hired as the Health, First Aid and Safety, Lifetime Fitness and Physical Education instructor.
“I received an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. When I was offered the chance to move to Paden City and teach there I jumped on it. Becoming the boys head basketball coach, upon the retirement of Coach Burton, was a dream come true. Those were big shoes to fill, and I knew that going in. I did the best I could and am proud of what we accomplished. We were no longer a big Class A school and sometimes it became difficult to even put a team on the court,” stated coach King.
“We had some tough times, but we had some great players go through here during my time. I tried to have a relationship with each kid I coached, whether it was basketball, track, baseball or volleyball. Every kid meant the world to me.”
Coach King’s teams compiled many awards during his years at Paden City, but the overall accomplishments during his teaching and coaching days is impressive to say the least. As an assistant baseball coach for the Wildcats, he helped guide the team to four straight sectional championships from 1997-2000. During that time, they were also regional runners-up in 1998 and 2000. The Wildcats also made the OVAC baseball playoffs during the 1998 and 1999 seasons.
After hearing of his retirement, several of his former athletes volunteered statements as to his effect on their lives and careers.
“Coach King taught us a lot about the game of basketball, but beyond the game he taught us life lessons we’ve been able to use everyday. He was not easy on us, something we didn’t understand at the time, but he would also remind us that he loved us, and he always used the line, ‘Sometimes you gotta punish your kids,’ yet we knew deep down the love for us was still there,” said former basketball player Luke Cooper.
“Coach always went to battle for us, and he expected us to do the same for him; he let us know he had our backs. Coach King really focused on family, for example during holidays he would tell us to spend time with our family and really value the time that we had,” former All-Stater Kennedy Cain stated.
“He not only worked us hard, but he made the game fun for us. Coach King had a serious side that taught us respect. Especially if there was a loss in a teammate’s family, he would get the team together and stop in during the visitation hours; he taught us the dangers of drugs and alcohol and to be good sports win-or-lose. He always let us know he was proud of us and would do anything he could for us in the future. His face still lights up and he makes us feel welcome when we stop to see him even to this day,” Zach Heasley, former athlete and West Liberty football player, said.
As head volleyball coach, his 2004, 2005, 2006, teams won the Mason-Dixon Conference Volleyball Championships. Coach King won Ohio Valley Athletic Championships in Volleyball in 2005 and 2012 and were runners-up in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2016.
During his time as head volleyball coach at Paden City, King was a five-time Class A coach of the year, and in 2016 he was named coach of the year over all five classes. He was also the Mason-Dixon Volleyball coach of the year in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016 and was Mason-Dixon Conference Basketball Coach of the Year in 2004. During his time coaching volleyball, he has had five girls named as the OVAC 1-A Player of the Year.
His accomplishments don’t end there, however, as his boys basketball teams were sectional runners-up in 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2014. They also won the Bob and Sharon Burton Christmas Classic Championship in 2004, 2005, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.
His teams have been state runners-up in the West Virginia Hometown Invitational Tournament in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2017, while claiming the championship in 2016. Under his reign, the Wildcats have been WVSSAC regional runners-up in 2004, 2008, 2014 and 2015.
King has served on many committees during his career, including several positions with the OVAC and various other athletic league/tournament committees. As a representative of the OVAC, he has served on the basketball playoff committee from 206 to present, the Volleyball play-off committee from 2008-present and is a member of the OVAC executive board Class 1-A.
King was also honored in 2017 with the Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis, (B.A.C.F.) “Lifetime Achievement Award” for 42 years of service in both Ohio and W.Va.
“My life’s work has been spent doing what I like best, helping others. I made a commitment at an early age to do whatever I can to keep kids off drugs and alcohol. I have used my education and my communication skills to better the youth, no matter where I taught. Paden City has been special to me. I have had the privilege to coach some great kids, I can say without a doubt it has been a dream fulfilled,” Coach King added.
“I tried to instill discipline in the kids; I taught them to have respect for not only others but for themselves as well. We have as good a school here as you’ll find anywhere and we have great kids. It hurts to leave but I believe I have left behind some of the qualities of life that Coach Burton and those before him brought to this community.”
Not only has Coach Fred King been an asset to Paden City High School, he has also been an asset through his community service work in several area’s around the Ohio Valley. He was Commissioner of the Sistersville Junior Sports, Sistersville Pee Wee Basketball and Ohio and River Mustang and Bronco Baseball Leagues. His work also included Little League and Pony League. He was a national tournament coach for the Ohio River League Mustang and Bronco All-Stars and the American Legion Post #3 Baseball team in Moundsville.
King was director of several leagues including the Sistersville Junior Sports Soccer League, Mid Ohio Valley Baseball League, East Zone, West District Bronco All-Star Tournament and various adult softball tournaments, including one for the purpose of raising money for the Ohio State Softball Champions (Washington County Cougars) to go to the National Tournament in Huntsville, Alabama. King was co-director of the Burton and King Basketball Camp (Paden City, W.Va., 1986-1999 handling approximately 2,500 campers); and has been Paden City’s Athletic Director for the past 15 years.
In his spare time, he has been a counselor for several parks and recreation camps and a guest speaker for 13 years for the Pleasants County Park and Recreation Basketball Camp. He was also guest speaker on two occasions for the Sistersville General Hospital Fitness Camp
In 1984, Coach King was presented with the “Cradle of Champions” Basketball Coach of the Year Award from the Tyler Star News.
Although Coach King has retired as Teacher, Athletic Director and Head Boys Basketball Coach for the Wildcats, he will remain as the girls volleyball coach for at least one more season.