Most every young assistant coach in any sport has dreams and hopes of becoming a head coach at some point in their career. For some, the opportunity comes sooner than later.
At 34 years old and entering his ninth season, West Ashley defensive coordinator William Wineberg was starting to think about the next step in his career. He had hopes of one day being his own boss and directing his own program but was fairly content and comfortable in his role at West Ashley under head coach Bobby Marion.
All of that changed on June 20 when Marion, the head coach at West Ashley since 2007, was let go as the head coach in a surprising move by incoming principal Ryan Cumback. With less than six weeks before the start of fall practices, West Ashley’s program was faced with major transition.
Wineberg, who had been on staff since 2010 and had been Marion’s defensive coordinator for three seasons, was promoted by Cumback into the role as interim head coach for the 2019 season.
“It was a shock, definitely considering the timing and all,” said Wineberg, a native of Pittsburgh. “It’s sort of late in the game for head coaching changes but that was beyond my control. I was offered this opportunity and I am very grateful to get this shot. I plan to do my very best for this program and for these kids and my hope is to get the job permanently. This is my one shot to prove I am ready to be a head coach. It’s something I have been preparing for since I got into coaching.”
Wineberg, while excited to be West Ashley’s head coach, says “it feels weird” to be replacing the man who initially gave him his chance to be a high school coach.
“I have the utmost appreciation and respect for Bobby Marion,” Wineberg said. “He has been very supportive since this all happened. He gave me the first shot to coach here and he was a great guy to work for. It’s a business. We know that. He has been first-class with me over the last week and he still loves these players. I am very happy that he landed on his feet. It’s not surprising. He’s a great guy and a great coach.”
Marion was unemployed as a coach for only two days before being hired as the offensive coordinator at Ashley Ridge.
Wineberg says the team has responded “very well” during the quick transition. The rest of the varsity coaching staff remains intact. Wineberg will continue to make the defensive calls as coordinator while offensive line coach Hugh Hood and receivers coach A.J. Barnes will call the offense, a role Marion handled during his tenure as head coach.
“The kids have been great, working hard and competing,” Wineberg said. “We have good kids here. We told them they aren’t playing for a particular coach, they are playing for their school, for each other and for their community. Our job has coaches is to guide them along and we have the same guys here doing that, except for one. This is about the kids. I feel good about where we are now. These kids will give us their best effort and we will continue to move forward.”
Seniors Jaxon Ramsay and Maguel Capers feel they speak for the entire team when they say the program is ready to move forward.
“We are moving forward,” said Ramsay, a receiver. “It was a surprise when it happened but we have to roll on with things. We are taking on the challenge and trying to have a good season.”
“It helps that we know the coaches and now we have to hold ourselves to a high standard and go out and play,” added Capers, a safety and linebacker. “It’s different without coach Marion but we are looking ahead now.”
The Wildcats finished 6-6 last season, recording the school’s first-ever playoff win. The 2019 season opens against Cane Bay on August 23.