2 classy coaches retire

A coach remaining at their respective school for more than 10 years is virtually an afterthought nowadays.

During my 20-plus years of covering sports, I’ve had the fortune of forming relationships with coaches in different sports from all around the state.

Recently, two mentors of youth I’ve known since I started working as a sports writer at The Inter-Mountain in the fall of 1992 announced they will retire.

Elkins High School’s Nancy Lewis and East Hardy’s Raymond Snapp step aside with a combined 60-plus years of coaching experience, numerous sectional and regional titles, along with several trips to the state tournament.

While Lewis and Snapp spent a majority of their careers coaching basketball and baseball at Elkins and East Hardy, respectively, both started at schools that are now closed.

Lewis spent time at Coalton before taking the Elkins post. She led the Bearcats to a berth in the state championship game in 1981, where they lost to Tyler County.

Snapp began his coaching career at his alma mater, Mathias High, in 1978. He then went to East Hardy, also coaching girls and boys basketball, along with the golf team.

He stepped downs as the girls basketball coach in 2009, departing with a record of 418-255.

The highlight of his career came in 1987, as East Hardy captured the Class A state baseball title,

“That was a special season and of my proudest moments as a coach,” Snapp recently said. “Everything seemed to fall into place for us that year, and we also had some luck.”

Snapp will be honored as the state’s Coach of the Year at the state tournament, which will begin today at Charleston’s Appalachian Power Park.

Lewis said next winter will be different for her.

“I’m going to miss coaching and the kids,” she said. “I’ve been able to coach wonderful groups of players during my career.

“It will be different next year when I go to an Elkins game and not be on the sidelines.”

I wish both coaches success in their future endeavors.

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STATE?TOURNEY: After dropping down a classification this year, Fairmont Senior and veteran coach Steve Naternicola will attempt to win a state baseball title at the Class AA level.

The Polar Bears, out of the Big 10 Conference, were a fixture in Charleston during their Class AAA days, advancing to six title games during Naternicola’s tenure.

Ironically, today’s semifinal opponent and fellow Big 10 foe Bridgeport, handed Senior a 5-0 loss in the 2010 Class AAA semifinals.

Today’s other Class AA semifinal pits Independence vs. Herbert Hoover.

The title games in all three classes are set for Saturday, starting at 10 a.m.

– Sports Editor Joey Kittle can be reached at 304-636-2121, ext. 109 or via email at jkittle@theinter mountain.com