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Mark Martin's Notepad

Carpenter was one of WVIAC's classiest coaches
October 29, 2013

Mark Martin Through the years of West Virginia Conference football, there were several head coaches who were class acts.

One of the classiest was West Virginia Wesleyan College's Kent Carpenter.

Other than a six-year stint as a high school football assistant in Ohio, Carpenter has spent the bulk of his adult life in picturesque Buckhannon, where the beautiful campus of WVWC is located.

“It has been a great place to be,” said Carpenter, who is still a visible figure at Wesleyan athletic events.

Carpenter came on the scene in Buckhannon first as a player out of old Warwood High School (now a part of Wheeling Park) in the fall of 1959. Carpenter, an offensive guard, played his first three seasons as a Bobcat for Sam Ross and in his senior year of 1962 he was under the guidance of Bill Pugh.

“The size of an offensive lineman was a bit different back then,” Carpenter said laughing. He was hard-nosed, but undersized.

After his days as a player for Wesleyan, Carpenter embarked on his journey as a teacher and coach. He worked for both Circleville and Newark High Schools.

In 1969, he returned to Buckhannon and served as an assistant coach on Ralph Bouch's Wesleyan football staff.

“I was an assistant for four years,” he said.

He became the school's head coach in the fall of 1973 and remained in that capacity through the season of 1982.

His 1977 team competed in the Coal Bowl, which served at the time as the championship game for the West Virginia Conference.

The cost of the school and strict academic demands made recruiting a challenge, but Carpenter and his staff managed to bring in some solid players.

His backfield in the late '70s consisted of Rich Thomaselli and Larry Coffey.

“Both of those guys had a cup of coffee in the National Football League,” Carpenter said proudly.

Thomaselli, a native of Brooke County, is the current head coach at Hedgesville High School.

“We had a lot of players who have been very successful (in their professional careers),” Carpenter said stressing the importance of taking care of business in the classroom. “There's more to it than snapping a ball.”

During his time as both an assistant and head coach for Wesleyan, Carpenter enjoyed going against some legendary football leaders like Concord's Tony Colobro, Glenville's Bill Hanlin, Fairmont's Deacon Duvall, Fairmont's Dave Ritchie and Shepherd's Walter Barr.

“It was a labor of love,” he said of coaching Bobcat football.

In his final season of 1982, Carpenter also took on the role as athletic director for the school.

“I found that I wasn't doing justice to either job,” he admitted.

Thus, he stepped down as Wesleyan's head coach and one of his former players – Bill Struble – stepped in. Besides Struble, Paul Price, who was an All-WVC center for the Bobcats, later became a head coach in the league at West Virginia Tech.

Carpenter spent eight years as the school's athletic director.

He is still a member of the school's Athletic Hall of Fame committee.

Wesleyan athletics was home to Greasy Neal and Cliff Battles, who are both in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Carpenter is happy for all of the accomplishments that have occurred through the years for Bobcat athletic teams.

He's certainly proud to have been a part of Bobcat athletic lore as a player, coach and administrator.

Look up the word class in the dictionary and you might possibly see a picture of Carpenter. For during his time at Wesleyan, Kent Capenter was first-class all the way.


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