By: Rich Stevens
Daily Mail Assistant Sports Editor
West Virginia University Tech football Coach Scott Tinsley has never been one to go by unwritten rules.
That is, you don’t carry on a conversation with opposing players before a game.
Still, Tinsley plans to make a point of talking with two of his former players – Glenville State’s Jamie Hamrick and Hunter Hamrick – before the NAIA Golden Bears (1-0) face the NCAA Division II Pioneers (0-0) at 7p.m. Thursday at Morris Stadium.
“I look forward to seeing Jamie and Hunter,” said Tinsley, who coached the twins at Nitro. “I can’t imagine there being any hard feelings before the game. I hope (Glenville) Coach (Alan) Fiddler won’t get too mad at me.”
“On a professional level, I’ll be focused on the game and I know Coach Tinsley will be focused on the game,” Jamie said.
“Maybe I’ll give him a nod of the head, a shake of the hand or maybe even a little grin.”
All kidding aside, there are multiple ties and meanings to Tech’s first meeting with a West Virginia Conference school since leaving the league at the conclusion of the 2005 season.
The Hamricks transferred from Herbert Hoover to Nitro during the 2004 season, joining Aaron Fiddler – the son of Glenville’s coach – who was a junior for Tinsley’s Wildcats. Aaron helped his father on the Glenville bench and now is the offensive coordinator for the German Football League’s Marburg Mercenaries.
Hunter began his college career as a walk-on at Marshall University. Jamie has spent four years at Glenville playing for Fiddler.
For a few months during the 2007-08 school year the Hamrick brothers weren’t sure what to do with themselves.
I didn’t see (Jamie) for three or four months,” Hunter said.
“It was bizarre,” Jamie said. “I really can’t think of a period of time during our first 18 years of life where we were apart for more than a few days at a time. It was a major adjustment.”
They’re back together where it started.
Fifteen years ago, Jamie and Hunter Hamrick competed in the Gilmer County midget league. The Glenville field – the same one on which they play now for the Pioneers – was grass.
Field Turf was installed in 2001.
“We always played on Sunday, the day after Glenville State’s game during the Rich Rod era,” Hunter said. “The field was usually tore up.”
“We went to see Glenville play all the time,” Jamie said. “I don’t remember they always had a great quarterback and launched the ball 50-some times a game.”
A day later, they would trot onto the field in their blue Gilmer uniforms, a season which culminated in a championship as members of the ‘B’ team – consisting mostly of fifth graders.
“Some of my greatest memories are of playing midget league football,” Hunter said. “I’ll never forget, our team went to the midget league Super Bowl. Me and my brother had to play up because we were too big for the ‘C’ team.
“I remember making a solo tackle on the opening kickoff of the second half of that game. I was so excited to run back to the sideline, and my dad congratulated me. We won that game. I think it was in overtime, something like 6-0.”
During their time at Nitro, they were on teams with 2005 Kennedy Award winner Josh Culbertson – who is Tech’s staring running back – and All-State quarterback Michael Scott – who will get his first start of the season for Tech.
In 2004, Nitro reached the second round of the playoffs when the Hamricks were sophomores. In 2005, the Wildcats made it to the championship game, dropping a 27-24 overtime decision to Morgantown. In 2006 Nitro last in the second round of the playoffs against Fairmont Senior.
With that, there should be plenty of familiarity with Tinsley’s offense, which hasn’t changed much since he left Nitro three years ago.
“It’ll be kind of weird when I hear (Coach Tinsley) yelling,” Hunter said. “I know I won’t have to turn around and answer to him.”
The Golden Bears opened the season last week with a 31-9 victory over Olivet Nazarene, which featured Tech’s newest star – wide receiver Kashif Walls – catching four passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Walls, an NCAA Division II All-American at West Liberty last year, didn’t play in West Liberty 29-17 victory over Glenville in 2009.
Also, Tech has applied for admission to NCAA Division II and the WVC. A victory over a league member would go a long way toward Tech earning admission.
Tinsley said Teach isn’t in Glenville’s league – literally or figuratively – and insists that’s not just coachspeak.
“I’m not even sure we’re even on the same level to think about getting a win,” Tinsley said. “We need to make a good showing and prove we’ve turned the corner. When Tech left the WVC, there were some not-so-good feelings about Tech’s Football program.”
Fiddler said he’s legitimately concerned about the Golden Bears.
“They have scholarship money, too, so what’s the difference,” Fiddler said. “I guess it would hurt to lose this game.”
No matter the outcome, the post-game conversations should be interesting.