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Coach James Toth

LOGAN - After one rocky season as Logan High School's football coach and a rough start to the three week June summer practice period, James Toth has turned in his resignation according to LHS Athletics Director Brian Atkinson.

Toth, a Man High School graduate and former Man and Logan assistant coach, led the Wildcats to a tumultuous 2-8 season last year after longtime former head coach Gary Mullins had stepped down following the 2016 grid campaign.

"James has resigned," Atkinson said in an interview with the Logan Banner on Tuesday morning. "He has submitted his resignation to the Board of Education. I think that he had some other opportunities that he wanted to pursue. Can't fault him for that. Right now, we're still running the three week period so we've got the rest of this week and next week. The position will be posted by the board. We'll get a football coach and we'll have a football program."

Toth became Logan's new football coach last year after former mentor Mullins had led the Wildcats the last 13 seasons to 61 wins and to five of the school's six all-time playoff appearances.

Toth took the Wildcats to his alma mater Man in last year's opener and came away with a convincing 26-8 win over the Hillbillies at Man's George A. Queen Memorial Stadium.

It was all downhill after that as Logan lost eight out of its last nine games with the only win coming at mid-season as the Wildcats won 30-27 over Scott in their annual homecoming game.

Logan was then blown out at home by county rival Chapmanville 63-34 on Senior Night, took it on the chin at playoff bound Wayne (54-14) and lost at Herbert Hoover (34-30) in the finale to close out at 1-8 in conference play, tied for last place in the Cardinal Conference with Poca (2-8, 1-8). The Dots won the head-to-head meeting with the Wildcats 30-20, essentially sinking the Cats to the very bottom of the league standings.

Logan struggled all season taking blowout losses to playoff teams Mingo Central (65-22) and Winfield (62-6) and losing 41-28 at Nitro, a team with only one win the previous season.

Injuries mounted for the Wildcats during the 2017 season and depth at key positions was always an issue.

Starting quarterback David Early was one of those who was lost. After orchestrating a season opening win over Man and sitting out in Week 2 in Logan's 28-12 loss to Sissonville in the home opener due to being involved in an on-field altercation against the Hillbillies, Early returned in Week 3 against Mingo Central. However, he sustained a knee injury against the Miners and did not return the rest of the season.

Early had informed Toth that he wasn't going to play football this fall instead focusing his energy on basketball, where the junior all-state guard already reportedly has scholarship offers on the table from at least three Division I schools.

Early had quarterbacked the Wildcats to a 5-5 season his freshman season in 2016, connecting on 89-of-150 passes (59.3 percent) for 1,525 yards with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions. A dual threat to also tuck and run, Early also rolled up 321 yards on the ground on 67 attempts and scored five TDs.

In just two games last season, Early completed 11-of-18 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns. Chucky Felder, a junior, took over at quarterback after Early's exit.

Then things didn't begin all that smoothly last week as the three week June practice period got under way.

Logan was originally scheduled to come to Chapmanville on Monday to take part in the Chapmanville 7-on-7 scrimmage with Man, Mingo Central, Herbert Hoover, Poca and Scott but Tigers' coach Rob Dial was informed prior to last Wednesday's 7-on-7 at Marshall that Logan would not be coming and that the Wildcats' numbers had dwindled to only 14 players.

Toth also received a blow during the off-season when three of his assistants -- Mullins, Jimmy Sheppard and David Toney had stepped down.

Last week, Toth's coaching staff was still in transition as only one holdover coach, longtime Logan assistant Jason Davis, and new hiree Freddie Kazee were on hand.

In an interview with The Logan Banner last week, Toth said new assistants were close to being hired. He said he was working to make the Wildcats better.

"We're excited about the upcoming season," Toth said early last week. "We're hoping for better things than last year. We were very displeased with 2-8. I know the community wasn't happy and the school wasn't. So we're striving to be better."

Toth took a lot of heat last year with Logan's poor showing.

After the Wildcats beat Scott on homecoming night and snapped a five-game skid in a game in which it had two 100-yard rushers in Felder and junior running back Shawntez Matthews, Toth talked candidly about that pressure that he and his coaching staff were under.

He was a man on the hot seat, being criticized on social media and by anonymous people on message boards.

"I'm really proud of my team," Toth said after the Scott game. "To be real candid here we've taken a lot of criticism this year. We've got a new staff and a lot of people have been real critical, so I'm so proud of these guys. I've never seen a team take more criticism than we have and come out on top. It's been 42 days since we've won a game and I never dreamed that it would be like this but I'm so proud and so happy for the seniors on this football team. We didn't give up and it would have been so easy to with all the criticism that's been going around here."

Toth, a 1985 Man High School graduate, was First-Team All-State football selection his senior year for the Hillbillies and played for legendary coach William "Tootie" Carter. He was elected to the Man High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.

Toth had been an assistant football coach as well at Man under head coach Harvey Arms and also at Point Pleasant and Wahama high schools as well as Logan, where he was Coach Mullins' defensive coordinator.

Toth also has a basketball background.

He was the head boys' basketball coach at Wahama High School form 2002-09 and was also an assistant girls' basketball coach at Man in recent years.

Logan is scheduled to open the regular season on August 24 at home against Man in the Wildcats' only non-conference game. Logan then has nine straight Cardinal Conference games beginning with the August 31 contest at Sissonville.

The Wildcats haven't had a winning season since a 7-4 mark in 2013 when Logan lost 41-14 at Point Pleasant in the first round of the Class AAA state playoffs. The year before in 2012, Logan was 7-3 but finished just outside of the top 16 and missed the post-season.

The Wildcats are 13-27 over the last four seasons. Since a 3-0 start to the 2016 season, Logan has lost 13 out of its last 17 games.

Mullins has already been mentioned as a possible replacement to take back his old job but that's just talk at this moment.

"I don't know," Atkinson said, when asked about the possibility of Mullins coming back. "Gary had resigned his assistant coaching position. It was basically a one year thing to help in the transition. Gary has his own family time that he wants to have and I respect all of that too."

Atkinson said he's received calls about the job already. Practices for the upcoming season begin on Monday, July 30.

"I've had a few people call me and email me about the position. We'll have to wait for the job to be posted," he said. "We definitely want to have someone in place and make sure the kids are taken care of and the program continues. I know it's a time of uncertainty but I'm optimistic and I'm positive that we'll get a good person."

A text message to Toth seeking comment was sent on Tuesday morning but he did not respond.

Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. Follow him on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner or email him at padkins@hdmediallc.com.

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