PARKERSBURG - You don't spend almost 30 years coaching and teaching at a school, even if it is your alma mater, if you don't love it there. And Danny Tennant will tell you as much.
For his lengthy dedication and commitment to Parkersburg Catholic High School, Tennant, longtime head football coach at PCHS who retired from coaching last year, will be honored prior to today's 7 p.m. Class A state championship football game in Wheeling by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission with a National Federation of State High School Associations award.
After graduation from Marshall, where he played football as a defensive back, Tennant spent one year at Federal Hocking High School as an assistant coach under Ray Watson, then returned to PCHS for a year as a grid assistant under Steve Farner before taking over the Crusaders' football reins the next season.
After 27 years last fall, Tennant announced he was stepping down, leaving in his wake a legacy not soon to be surpassed, if ever, at Catholic - a record of 195-101, but also a string of making the state playoffs in 16 of his final 17 seasons at the PCHS helm.
In addition to football, Tennant served as Catholic's head baseball coach for 21 years and wrestling coach for 16. Tennant currently shares with Steve Clegg the duties of athletic director, a position he has assumed 'on and off throughout his years at PCHS, where he continues to teach phys ed and driver's ed.
Looking back on it, Tennant, 52, thought the most important aspects of his time at PCHS was ''helping young student-athletes develop into successful people, and that I was able to influence a lot of people in positive ways to make them better people.''
The NFHS award is presented annually in West Virginia to a coach for ''excellence in promoting the ideals of interscholastic athletics'' as well as '' recognizing his contributions to the development of young people across our state.''
For Tennant, who found out about the award in mid-September, ''it was a big surprise to me; I didn't expect it all. I was fortunate that over the years, I've had good athletes and been in a good (school) system here at Catholic with parents who care and kids who want to compete and practice.
''Anytime you're fortunate enough to stick around long enough and fortunate enough to have good athletes and good parents like that, then I think it's a blessing.''