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Like Father Like Sons: The Tallmans

By Randy Rutherford - Staff Writer | Jan 20, 2021

What if your dad in his day was a local high school basketball star? Is it a leg up or a monkey on your back? Think about it.

Dad’s kids have a 50/50 chance of getting the basketball gene and a fulltime private coach around the clock whether they want it or not!

Dave Tallman is a proud father of three sons: Daniel, Nate and David. Dave and his wife, Carol, have been married for 40 years raising their family in New Martinsville.

The Tallmans also have six grandchildren ranging in ages from one to 19 years. Dave and his sons all have roots in basketball either as players or coaches.

Dave has been the head basketball coach at Magnolia High School for 28 years.

Son David has been the head basketball coach at Morgantown High School for six years, while son Nate is the freshmen basketball coach at Morgantown High serving on his brother’s staff. Son Daniel, the lone wolf of the family, is a government contractor in Auburn Hills, MI.

Dave attended Paden City High and graduated in 1975. He got his undergraduate degree from Fairmont State University in 1979 and his master’s degree from WVU in 2007.

While at Paden City High School Dave was a player on the 1973 State Championship Team. As a basketball coach, Dave has won State Championships in Class AA in 2000 and 2003, and a State Championship in Class A in 2015, all at Magnolia High School.

Dave also serves as golf coach at Magnolia and served for 10 years on the football staff under Coach Dave Cisar.

Dave Tallman enjoys a well known reputation as an excellent basketball coach in our valley. Dave and I are friends, and we talked recently about what it was like to coach in the area where you grew up, but also where your boys grew up and played basketball, too. Just like their old man.

Coach Tallman won his first state champion title in 2000 with son David on the team and won another state championship again in 2003 with sons Daniel and Nate on the roster. Dave explained that all his sons have a great passion for the game, but he was the fortunate one to experience title wins while having his sons as part of his teams. That’s a once, or in Dave’s case, twice in a life time experience he will never forget.

Dave also talked about watching sons David and Nate perform their own coaching duties. “I absolutely love watching both of them coach. They allow me to give input to the players they coach. It can be real nerve-racking at times,” reported Dave.

Coach Dave Tallman attributes much of his success to his assistant coaches and many dedicated players over the years. He has had three players obtain 2000 points or more during his coaching career: Preston Boswell who attended and played at California University of PA, Mark Winters who attended and played at Wheeling Jesuit and Ted Talkington who attended and played at WVU.

Talk to any seasoned coach, and they have a heartbreaker story to tell about a game defeat. For Dave it is losing the regional championship to undefeated Oak Glen. Dave believes the official clearly blew the call that beat them. To add salt to the wound it was son David’s senior season and became the low point of Dave’s coaching career. “I’m still not over it. I am convinced we would have won back to back State Championships,” reported Dave.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is a soaring high. For Dave it was a combination of perfect timing and the right people. Dave Tallman’s Blue Eagles won the 2015 Class A Boys Basketball title, and Dave was named OVAC Coach of the Year. Coach Tallman shared, “My players gave me everything they had. Bob Ripley, with Jane’s blessing, came out of retirement to assist me that year. Being named top coach is hard to win. It was definitely a team award.”

Coach Tallman is a gracious man. He knows the value of his athletes and coaches but also acknowledges the importance of his Big Blue fans. “I’ll take our home student cheering section over any other in the state. It’s been a blast to coach at Magnolia. I can’t wait to get started on the 2021 season.” Dave wanted me to be sure I conveyed his thanks. “I want to thank everyone who has helped our basketball program: the coaches, media, administrators, fans, players and students. Give yourself a pat on the back; we would not have done this or been successful without you!”

While researching for this article I had the opportunity to become better acquainted with David Tallman, Dave’s son. Carol and Dave Tallman have every right to be proud of all their sons. They are fine young men, and I enjoyed getting to know David a little bit better. I think you will, too.

Son David Tallman has quite the impressive basketball resume himself. Currently he has been the head basketball coach at Morgantown High School for six years. His Mohigans became the first undefeated Class AAA boys basketball state champions since 1985, beating two-time defending champ Huntington 65-62 in an overtime thriller in March of 2016. It also was the first boys basketball championship for Morgantown (27-0) in the school’s history.

David graduated from college in 2004 from Wheeling Jesuit University and earned his master’s degree in business and administration in 2007 from Salem University.

David shared some of his feelings about having an-ex basketball player for a dad. “My dad is my best friend, but it wasn’t always easy playing for him. He pushed me very hard, and he was also the best coach that I ever had. We didn’t win a state championship without his intent, detail driven and overly prepared mentality,” explained the younger Tallman coach.

David recalls what it was like to grow up in a basketball family. “I went into coaching because I look up to my dad and really didn’t know much of anything else besides being a gym rat,” confided David. He explained how his mom and dad did a great job raising him and his brothers. David gives his parents a lot of credit for giving them great experiences when they were younger. “I remember going to World Series games, PGA tour events to watch Tiger, and other events such as WVU football and basketball games, the Steelers, the Pirates and Penguin games,” shared David. His parents always encouraged the brothers to watch the great players and coaches knowing they would learn from their work ethic and actions. “I know that’s where I got the itch to stay in sports forever. They held the bar high for us but introduced us to a lot of great things which are now great memories,” added David.

The high point in David’s coaching career was going 27-0 and winning the first state championship in Morgantown High School history. “But honestly, the best thing is when my former players call me up and keep in touch. I think my dad would agree. It’s all about relationships,” acknowledged David.

David and his wife Natalie have two children: Tre, 8 and Brooklyn, 5. The family resides in Morgantown.

Like most great father son teams, whether you find them in sports, business or plain everyday life the answer remains the same. Fathers want sons (and daughters) to find themselves; find their heartbeat. That thing they love to do. They want them to carve a path that brings them true happiness. There is no greater joy than seeing your adult children happy and successful in their given field of expertise. As for the Tallman family, they are a slam dunk example.