Prep soccer: Dagostine steps down as Hurricane boys coach
HURRICANE, W.Va. - For a while, at least, Jim Dagostine is putting down in clipboard and hanging up his whistle after 35 years of high school coaching.
Dagostine has stepped down after a successful seven year run as the boys soccer coach at Hurricane. He led the Redskins to the state championship last fall.
"I'm not saying I am retiring from coaching," Dagostine said. "I'm retiring from this job."
He compiled an .834 winning percentage with a record of 127-20-13, and led Hurricane to the State Tournament four times.
Dagostine, who will turn 66 in August, had hinted over the last couple of years at wanting to spend more time with his five grandchildren.
He acknowledged that he has also been growing tired.
"I think anybody who saw me walking the sideline the last two or three years could see it wearing on me," he said. "It was a hard decision to make."
Over the course of a 45-year coaching career Dagostine has also taken high school teams in track, cross country, tennis, basketball, and baseball to state tournaments.
The 2012 boys soccer title was his first championship.
"I've been saying for 44 years that winning this wasn't important," he told reporters after the Redskins defeated Parkersburg 2-0 for the 2012 title.
"But it means a lot."
Also a veteran basketball official, Dagostine said he knew next to nothing about soccer when he was asked to take over a new Hurricane Middle School program 15 years ago.
"Generally speaking, coaching goals are pretty much the same at any level in any sport," Dagostine said to the Daily Mail in September of 2006, his first year at Hurricane High.
"Your job, to the best of your ability, is to encourage the young people under you to be the best people, best student, and best athlete they can be."
By the time he left to take over the high school program Hurricane Middle had won five consecutive Mid-Valley Conference regular season and tournament championships. His last team there posted a 14-0 record and outscored opponents 98-0 and had a 3.88 team grade point average.
Hurricane High used the same defensive philosophy Dagostine employed at the middle school level to put together a 20-game scoreless streak during the 2009 season that brought national attention to the program.
There was simply very little, if anything, that was left to be accomplished.
"We built a first class facility, took care of the players, and built one of the top programs in the state," Dagostine said. "I feel like I've left a pretty good mark on the program."
That assessment led him to ask himself one simple question in regards to retiring.
"If I don't do it now," he said, "when do I do it?"
The Putnam County Board of Education has approved Derek Ragle as the new head coach.
Ragle was an assistant under Dagostine for three seasons before taking over the George Washington High School girls team last year.
He led the Patriots to the state championship game.
"I'm happy the way things worked out," Dagostine said. "Derek is a former player and is a teacher in the school."
He also has some very big shoes to fill.
The Hurricane boys open the regular season at home on Aug. 24 against Teays Valley Christian.