Bridgeport High School will have a new head football coach in 2021.
Coach John Cole, who has led the Indians for the last four seasons, told his team during the season-concluding meeting today, that he would not return as head man next fall.
Cole took over the program in 2017. He became the 18th coach in the storied program’s history.
As for stepping down, there was no issues with health or problems with kids, staff or the administration. Rather, Cole was never really into the head coaching position despite results that may have said otherwise.
“It was a position I never really ever wanted to have. I never campaigned for it or prepared for it. Basically, the program was in transition when I took over as interim coach that was the main reason I took it as the interim,” said Cole, who filled in on short notice after Josh Nicewarner was no longer with the program. “I wasn’t real sure the program would go in the same direction, but with the administration behind me and coaches who were willing to help, I agreed to be the interim coach then applied to coach. I just felt it was time.”
Although still considered relatively new to the head coaching ranks, he was no stranger to the Indians coaching staff. He joined the program during the end of legendary Coach Wayne Jamison’s career after spending time with the Bridgeport Middle School program and Coach Tom Fogg. Cole also was a former player for Jamison in the mid-1980s, where he was a standout lineman.
Cole was a freshman coach under Jamison. He began his official varsity assistant role in 1997. He remained an assistant until taking over in 2017.
During Cole’s time, the Indians have been extremely successful. The Indians compiled a 43-6 record and won the 2019 Class AA state championship over heavily favored Bluefield.
“(The position) has been good to me, and the program has been good to me. It was a little bit different than what I had been accustomed as the head coach, but the kids made it really, really good,” said Cole. “For anyone thinking I’ve been successful, I tell them I’ve got my kids to thank. They won the games, put in the work, and the time.
“On top of that, I have had a really good coaching staff,” Cole continued. “Thankfully, things worked out.”
This year, during the pandemic, the Indians finished their return to Class AAA with an 8-1 record. The Tribe managed to win the only game it could play in the postseason – by a 55-7 score against Washington – due to COVID-19. The virus also eliminated the Indians from the playoffs, and unable to advance, like many others. As a result, the WVSSAC announced Bridgeport was the ‘AAA’ runner-up for 2020.