DePew leads Mountaineers

WHEELING – As it pertains to their coaching careers, the Linsly staff is relatively young.

When talking about their experiences involving the annual Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Game, they’re seasoned veterans.

Whether it’s as a player, coach or both, the West Virginia staff should know exactly what to expect when the players report to camp on July 20 to begin preparations for the July 27 game.

“Our staff is really looking forward to it,” West Virginia and Linsly head coach B.J. Depew said. “We definitely have a clearer picture of what the week is about because of our experience.”

Joining Depew at Bethany for camp and then on the sidelines at Wheeling Island Stadium will be James Cowart, L.A. Hampton, Brian Valentine, James Wallace and R.J. Zitzelsberger.

“Most of our guys all played at Linsly and have been coaching together for a while,” Depew said. “We’re really excited for the opportunity to coach the game and get to know the players from the different schools. This is a nice way to end the summer.”

Here’s a capsule look at the West Virginia coaching staff:

B.J. DEPEW – He is involved with the game for the fourth time. He was a player in 1994, an assistant coach in 2005 and guided the West Virginia squad in 2008.

During his eight-year career as the head coach at Linsly, Depew has directed the Cadets to a 49-31 record. His team finished 8-2 last season, earning him the nod as the Mountain State coach.

All told, Depew has been a member of the Cadets’ coaching staff for 15 years. Along with his football duties, he’s also been an assistant in baseball and track.

Depew graduated from Linsly in 1994 and earned his bachelor’s degree at Ohio State University.

He and his wife Tracy have been married 10 years and have two children, Isaac (7) and Noelle (2).

JAMES COWART – This assistant coach has been on the Cadets’ sideline for nine years.

Cowart, who graduated from Linsly in 1998 and then from Edinboro University in 2003, was a member of the West Virginia staff in 2008 as well.

Along with football, Cowart is currently the head track coach at Linsly and has won three consecutive OVAC championships.

L.A. HAMPTON – This former Bishop Donahue standout was a player in the OVAC game under Depew in 2008 and will now serve on his coaching staff.

Hampton just completed his first season of football coaching at Linsly.

After graduating from Bishop Donahue, Hampton earned his degree at West Liberty. Along with football, Hampton is also a member of the basketball coaching staff.

BRIAN VALENTINE – This Cadets’ assistant has been working with Depew and the football program at Linsly for four years and he’s involved with the OVAC game for the first time.

Valentine is also the head wrestling coach and serves on the track staff for Linsly.

After graduating from Linsly where he was a member of the football, wrestling and baseball teams, Valentine earned his degree from West Liberty.

He and his wife Brittney have a son, Brian Jr.

JAMES WALLACE – A standout player at Linsly and Bethany College, Wallace has been in coaching for six years.

He’s worked under Depew on the football staff and has ascended to the head basketball coaching position. He also serves on the Cadets’ baseball staff.

Wallace was a three-sport standout during his prep days and played basketball and baseball at Bethany.

R.J. ZITZELSBERGER – This Cadets’ staff member just completed his first season working with his alma mater.

Prior to returning to Linsly, Zitzelsberger worked on the staffs at Washington & Jefferson and Bethany College.

A standout prep player, Zitzelsberger excelled in three sports, football, basketball and baseball. He attended Washington & Jefferson to play football.

After completing his bachelor’s degree in 2006, Zitzlesberger earned his master’s from West Virginia University in 2010.

He and his wife, Caroline, have two children, R.J. IV (2) and an infant son, Charlie, who was born in May.