Derek Midkiff is about to embark on his sophomore season as Nitro's football coach.
This is the final week of the three-week out-of-season coaching period, and Midkiff is preparing a program that has just two wins the last two seasons.
Still new to coaching, Midkiff is a seasoned veteran when it comes to Nitro football.
"I'm a Nitro kid," he said. "I claim Nitro as my home."
Midkiff had the numbers as a player. The former Wildcats starting quarterback (1999-2003) threw for 2,513 yards and 18 touchdowns under Scott Tinsley in 2002. He also had the MSAC's top five single-game passing performances that year.
"I had a positive experience in high school and that is something I want for these kids too," Midkiff said.
After graduating, Midkiff played quarterback for Concord.
Once he exhausted his eligibility he followed his mentor, Tinsley, to West Virginia Tech for a year before taking an assistant coach position on the Nitro sideline for two years.
He was home. Even his wife is a Nitro girl.
The task of turning around the Wildcats' program was a difficult one when Midkiff took the reigns before last season. Nitro went winless in 10 games in 2011 before going 2-8 in Midkiff's inaugural season.
One of the toughest losses for Midkiff came at the close of the season with a heartbreaking 28-27 defeat to Riverside.
A botched field goal at the end of the game cost Nitro the win.
As tough as that was, it was tougher for Midkiff because he didn't see it. He was ejected from the game.
"I behaved poorly," he said, "I'm very passionate about my kids, but I've got to learn to rein it in a little bit."
His poor behavior is going to cost him the first two games of the 2013 season.
"This is probably going to be the toughest thing I experience as a coach," Midkiff said, "I made a mistake and I'm going to make sure I do the right thing."
While the right thing for Midkiff is to stay home and model penitence, his wife will be at the games, front and center.
The lesson for Midkiff is clear: Nitro football is bigger than even the coach.