South Charleston was 5-5 in 2011. Mays said that during the program's peak under Messinger, from 2008-10, the Black Eagles averaged nearly 350 rushing yards per game.
"The last two years were the only two years since I've been here that we weren't at that level. We set goals like that, statistically, and I'd like to get back to that," Mays said.
He noted that the defensive staff, led by defensive coordinator Mike Sauvageot, will likely remain intact.
While Freeman enters his position as somewhat of an unknown, Mays' name has been swirled in the prep sports world as a potential candidate for numerous positions in the past several years. In fact, since 2007, nine of 12 Kanawha Valley football programs have changed head coaches, and Mays has been one of the most sought-after coaches among the fans and booster groups of numerous schools.
He never applied for any of those openings.
"You can go back and give credit for stuff like that to my high school playing days, playing for Joe Cowley at Herbert Hoover," said Mays, who played for the Huskies from 1994-97. "Loyalty means something, and we want to do that same sort of thing at the high school.
"The other opportunities that have come up, but it's not like we were rushing anything. We just wanted to build South Charleston and make it the best school it can be. You take a look and see what people like Dave Walker at Martinsburg have done for programs like that, and that's what we want to do here."
Mays has plenty of skill position talent as his disposal as he takes over the program. All-State wide receiver Kevin Forrest is a junior, and caught 43 passes for 1,054 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012. Freshman quarterback Kentre Grier completed 82 of 122 passes for 1,549 yards, 17 TDs and just one interception while running for 238 yards.
2011 KV Rookie of the Year A.D. Cunningham and sophomore Marquel Hampton. the team's second-leading receiver in 2012, also return.