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Submitted New Van High Head Football Coach Mark Agosti.

VAN — In December, Boone County Schools awarded the head football coaching position to Mark Agosti after Steve “Foot” Price retired from coaching.

Price, the CVN Football Coach of the Year for 2019, has retired from the seat after 10 (total) years as head coach where he compiled a 53-48 record and made four Class A playoff appearances.

Agosti looks to continue to build upon the discipline and sense of community Price instilled in his teams through the years.

“Coach Price is a rock in this community and it goes beyond coaching and wins and losses,” Agosti said. “Preparing young men for the real world beyond football is very important, and he did that better than anyone I know of.”

Agosti has served as an assistant coach at the varsity level at Van as a volunteer and, eventually, as a paid assistant coach. He ran a youth football league in Van from 2006 until 2008. He did not serve on Price’s staff in 2019.

“I have a relationship with many of the parents already going back to that time, and that makes things easier in the transition,” he added.

Agosti looks to retire in May 2020 after 25 years at the Federal Correctional Institution in Beckley.

The new coach said the chances are good that the middle school team will be revived, which will serve as a feeder into the high school program at VHS.

“That will be a blessing, and we think we’ll have enough to field a team,” he said. “That decision will be up to the board (Boone County Schools) and we’re hoping that there will be a coaching position announced pretty soon.”

The new coach held a meeting last week to introduce himself to returning players and potential new gridders and was impressed by what he saw.

“I had about 30 kids there and that was encouraging,” he said. “I gave them weightlifting and strength schedules for weightlifting in the offseason.”

Van, along with Sherman and Scott, have seen a decline in participation in football through recent years, but algorithms throughout Boone County suggest that the trend may be on the upswing, with Sherman making three-straight Class A playoff appearances (2016, 2017, 2018) under Coach Michael Showalter and former Skyhawk Coach Shane Griffith leading the Scott Football team once again, while establishing consistent offseason workouts.

Agosti looks to keep student athletes interested and excited about the game.

“We’re only going to have three seniors and we’ll be playing kids who, at most schools, may not see the field as a 14-year-old,” he added. “In a perfect world, they’d watch and learn and get reps in select situations, but that isn’t our reality, particularly at smaller schools. When you depend on a freshman as your starting quarterback, there is quite a learning curve there.”

The coach said that, quite simply, he plans to line up and run the ball.

“Of course your personnel will determine what you should be doing if you really observe that,” he added. “We have some kids who are strong runners and will be good varsity backs, so we’ll be developing that and our linemen to execute that. We’ll look to control the clock and win the battle for the line of scrimmage.”

Van went 3-7 in 2019, which led Boone County in football wins.

Lineman and linebacker Slade Adams, who is a four-year starter, will be one of the leaders on the team that Augusta will depend on to bring along a young roster.

“He’s a good-sized, hard-working kid who is out there in the weight room getting stronger and we may use him some at fullback,” he said. “We’ll see what happens when August comes around.”

The new coach will be organizing fundraisers for the program in the coming months and said that he appreciates all of the support that parents and supporters of Bulldog football have shown him already.

Agosti said his goals are simple, but easy for the kids to process.

“We want to represent our community with class, work hard and get better every week,” he said.

Van will open its season at home on Aug. 28 as they will host Meadow Bridge, with the “Showdown for the Shovel” scheduled for Oct. 16 at cross-county rival Sherman.

Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at pperry@hdmediallc.com or at 304-307-2401.