CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Madison County football team has found its new head coach, as former Mountaineers’ player Larry Helmick is taking over the program.
“It sounds so cliche, but it really is a dream come true," says Helmick.
Helmick graduated from Madison in 2006, before attending Bridgewater College.
He got his start in coaching at his high school alma mater, coaching the offensive line, and was the head coach of the Junior Varsity.
Helmick says, “When I was the JV head coach, there was only two of us, so you coached every position on the field, so that was very beneficial. You had two coaches for 40 kids back then. It was good. You learned a lot.”
Helmick coached at Madison from 2011 to 2015, and spent the last four years on the staff at Eastern View, but says he’s excited to be back in his hometown.
“Growing up here, I know a lot of people," says Helmick. "I’ll be coaching people’s kids who I went to high school with. It’s an awesome bond. It’s an awesome opportunity for me, so I’m lucky to have that.”
In his playing days with the Mountaineers, Helmick spent three seasons learning from head coach Eddie Dean, and one with Stuart Dean.
“I learned a lot from both of them," says Helmick. "They’re both great people, and they’re both still in my life. I talk to them all the time. I talk to Stuart weekly. He’s a good guy. He’s done a lot for me. He and (Eastern View head coach Greg Hatfield), they’re the main contributors to the coach I am today.”
Madison County hasn’t had a winning season since 2010, and they’re on their fourth coach in the last five five years, but Helmick is looking to change that.
“I plan to be here for a while, as long as they keep me around," says Helmick. "This has been a dream job for me for a long time. I’m very proud of this community, and I want them to be proud of this program again. I’m going to do whatever it takes to turn this thing around. I’m excited.”
If the season starts as scheduled, Larry Helmick’s first home game as Madison County head coach will come against rival William Monroe.