MAN — Man High School football coach Harvey Arms is in favor of the proposed new all-sports Class A conference.
Man has been in talks with Tug Valley, Sherman, Van and Buffalo to form a new league.
At least three other schools — reportedly Valley Fayette, Meadow Bridge and Fayetteville — have been mentioned as well as possible members of the yet-to-be-named conference.
Arms said if the league is a go it would begin play in the 2014-15 school year beginning with the 2014 football season.
“With the leadership of Coach Henderson at Sherman we’re hoping to start a Single-A southern West Virginia conference. We’ve made the first steps in that and hopefully we can get that developed in the next year or two,” he said.
Arms said there will be further meetings in August about forming the conference.
“We had five schools in our first meeting — us, Tug Valley, Buffalo, Sherman and Van,” he said. “We’d like to get at least three more. We’re working on it. We’re supposed to meet again in August and hopefully we can go from there and work some things out and get it started by 2014. I’m in favor of it. For us, if we can get these teams in southern West Virginia to play it would save a lot of money on travel and expense for sure. It would kind of like be a Class A Cardinal Conference.”
Because of school consolidation, Man has had trouble scheduling games over the last few seasons, particularly in football.
Typically, Man plays one of the toughest schedules in the state for a Single-A school as the Billies have played Class AAA Logan and 2A teams Chapmanville, Wyoming East, Westside, River View, Mount View with regularity over the last several seasons.
The last two years, Man played a two-game home-and-home series with Class AA Mingo Central — a consolidation of the old Class A Matewan, Williamson, Gilbert and Burch high schools in Mingo County.
Since Man went Single-A the Billies have also played football games against Class AA teams Roane County and the old Iaeger High School as well as Double-A Scott.
Man was once a Triple-A school and last played in a conference in the 1990s when the Billies were a member of the Mountain State Athletic Conference.
But in the late 1990s, Man dropped down to Class AA and played an independent schedule.
Further decline in enrollment dropped Man down to Single-A status in the 2000s.