LOGAN - Logan High School's football program has been in disarray.
Really for quite some time.
After former 13-year head coach Gary Mullins had stepped down following the 2016 season, Logan turned to assistant coach James Toth.
But after a tumultuous 2-8 season in his first year as the Wildcats' head coach, Toth abruptly resigned last month in the middle of Logan's three-week June summer practice period, leaving LHS with no coach. It's crunch time now for the Wildcats.
Preseason practices are scheduled to being in just 11 days on July 30 and Logan still, officially, does not have a football coach.
That is likely to change on Thursday as former Logan assistant coach Jimmy Sheppard is expected to be named as the new head coach.
Sheppard, a former Logan High School player under Mullins, was Logan's Offensive Coordinator last season under Toth.
Sheppard had recently resigned his assistant's job, effective July 20, and had expressed interest in going back to be an assistant with the Logan Middle School football program where he had also been the team's Offensive Coordinator in recent years and had led the Timberwolves' offense which was led at the time by quarterback David Early.
Sheppard's possible hiring has been placed on the Logan County School Board's agenda for Thursday's regularly scheduled 5 p.m. meeting at the Ralph R. Willis Career and Technical Center on Three Mile Curve.
Upon approval by the board and the board's vote during Thursday's special session, Sheppard would be Logan's new head football coach effective on July 30, according to the agenda.
The Logan Banner reached out to Logan High School Athletics Director and Assistant Principal Brian Atkinson for comment on Wednesday morning.
"The board has already put the agenda out for tomorrow," Atkinson said about Sheppard's possible hiring. "The superintendent's recommendation is for Jimmy. You never know what the board will decide but I doubt it since it's so late in the day."
But there's more to the story.
Much much more.
Also on the board's agenda were several other items with interest to athletics.
One is the resignation of Atkinson himself.
According to the agenda, Atkinson had resigned as Logan's AD on Tuesday and that's also awaiting approval by the board of education. He said he is staying on as assistant principal at LHS.
Atkinson, a Beckley Woodrow Wilson High School and Marshall University graduate, has been Logan High School's Athletics Director since 2013.
There were other Logan High School football related items on the agenda as well.
Former LHS assistant coach David Toney, who had recently stepped down, is being hired back pending approval by the board. The hiring of Fred Kazee, another Logan assistant football coach, is on the agenda as well.
Logan assistant coach Norman Kennedy, just hired on July 12 at the previous school board meeting, has resigned, effective on Tuesday, meaning he was on the football staff for a mere five days.
The Logan County Board of Education had expressed concern last Thursday over the state of athletics, specifically the football program, at Logan High School.
"We're now hearing rumors that there won't even be enough kids for a football team," board President Paul Hardesty said last week. "How sad would that be?"
Hardesty said while athletics are not everything in a school system, extra curriculars like football, are still important to the development of student/athletes.
Hardesty had said in June they'd heard rumors of Toth's departure before his resignation was officially filed.
Hardesty said part of the difficulty in motivating kids to participate in the program is the uncertainty of the incoming coaching staff.
"A coach should have a say in who his supporting staff is," Hardesty said at last week's meeting. "But in West Virginia that's not the case. We're expected to hire assistant coaches before we even have a head coach. So we're going to bring someone in and tell them, 'This is what you've got. Just learn to work with it.' It's ridiculous."
Logan is hoping to turn things around this fall and in future grid seasons.
The Wildcats had some success in the Mullins era, which lasted from 2004-16, in which Logan made it to the playoffs five times. Some of that occurred at the Class AAA level, when Logan was a Triple-A school again from 2008-15.
Before Mullins was hired, Logan had only made it to the post-season just one time, way back in 1990.
Last season began well for the Wildcats as Toth, a Man High School graduate, took his team to George A. Queen Memorial Field and walked away with a 26-8 win over the homestanding Hillbillies.
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 most of the season taking blowout losses to playoff teams Mingo Central (65-22) and Winfield (62-6) and falling 41-28 at Nitro, a team with only one win the previous season.
Injuries mounted for the Wildcats last season and depth at key positions was dangerously thin.
Starting quarterback David Early was one of those who was lost. After orchestrating a season opening win he was injured in Week 3 in the Mingo Central game and did not return.
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.
It was a rocky start for Toth back in June when the three-week summer practices got under way and turnout was reportedly low.
Logan was originally scheduled to come to Chapmanville on June 18 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 the June 13 7 on 7 at Marshall that Logan would not be coming and that the Wildcats' numbers had dwindled to only 14 players.
Toth had also received a blow during the off-season when three of his assistants -- Mullins, Sheppard and Toney had stepped down. Mullins had stayed on staff one more year following his 13-year run.
Logan is scheduled to open the regular season on Thursday, August 23 at home 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.
Other hirings were also listed on the board agenda, pending approval and vote by the BOE members:
n Stuard Haugen, Logan Middle School head soccer coach
n Alan Sheppard, Logan High School boys' soccer coach
n Nathaniel Smith, Man High School assistant football coach
n Donald Motley, Man High School assistant coach (at July 12 meeting)
n Keith Noe, Logan High School girls' soccer coach (at July 12 meeting)
Noe had coached both the LHS boys and girls soccer teams last season.
Logan Banner reporter Nancy Peyton contributed to this report. Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. Follow him on Twitter
@PAdkinsBanner or email him at