’Jackets’ Larry Cassady wins Dick Wildt Award

WILLIAMSTOWN — Fresh off a Class A state cross country championship, the year just keeps getting better for Williamstown girls’ coach Larry Cassady.

The sixth-year head coach was given the Dick Wildt Award for his strong 2018 season. The honor, named after former Parkersburg Catholic basketball coach and Mid-Ohio Valley Hall of Famer Dick Wildt, is annually awarded to a coach in the Little Kanawha Conference for their work over the previous year.

Cassady was taken aback when athletic director Jeff Givens told him he was even in the running for the award.

“I was really surprised, but man, I was just overwhelmed with gratitude to be part of an award like that,” Cassady said. “Coach Wildt was just a great motivator of kids. Wherever he went, he was successful.”

This is not the first time Cassady won an award of this magnitude. In both 2017 and 2018, he was named the West Virginia Girls’ Cross Country Coach of the Year. While those awards serve as a steady reminder of his accomplishments, the Dick Wildt Award is something that serves as a culmination of his hard work.

“It ranks right up there with those two coach awards,” he said. “This ranks right up there with them, because this comes from the LKC. It’s what I consider one of the best conferences in all of West Virginia. Where you go out there and battle these other teams every week. The conference itself is known for unity.”

Cassady said he was told he won it and was going to have it presented to him at the end-of-year Williamstown cross country and track banquet following the state championship meet by Givens.

“He told me I won it (following a track practice) and that he was going to present it to me,” Cassady recalled. “What an honor it is to be a member of a conference like that. It still keeps the traditions of somebody like Coach Wildt going.”

For Cassady’s runners, this adds to their ambitions of repeating as state champions. Added onto the fact that incoming freshmen could very well bolster the title-winning roster, the award adds fuel to that competitive fire for the girls.

“They’ve already started talking about plans for a repeat,” he said. “They know what they need to do and the work they need to put into it. I think they’re all willing to do it.”

The mindset of Cassady’s thinclads lend to the mentality that the Dick Wildt Award is about teamwork and togetherness, and that’s just the way coach Cassady wants it.

“They were pretty excited (when I won),” he said. “It doesn’t make a difference whether I’m winning the award or they’re winning an award, they know it’s all part of a group effort. It’s a reflection on the work they do.”

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