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Coach Rick Chaffin laughs with his Cabell Midland High School basketball players during a game vs. George Washington on Jan. 25, 2019 in Ona.

HUNTINGTON — Rick Chaffin is the new boys basketball coach at Spring Valley High School.

The Wayne County Board of Education approved Chaffin’s hiring Tuesday night, making him the fourth coach in the program’s history, following Gray Norris, Steve Morrison and Corey Maynard.

“When the position came open it was intriguing to me because it’s a challenge,” Chaffin said. “I like challenges. They’ve been down a little bit, but have had success in the past. All three coaches enjoyed success at Spring Valley.”

Chaffin turned around a dismal Cabell Midland program that hadn’t experienced a winning season since 2010. In his first season with the Knights, they went 8-13 in 2017-18. The next season, Cabell Midland went 19-8 and advanced to the Class AAA semifinals of the state tournament.

Chaffin said he probably still would be at Cabell Midland had eye problems not led him to resign.

“I was experiencing for two or three years double vision and I couldn’t see anything,” Chaffin said. “In the state tournament, with 57 seconds left in a game, I called time out to set up a screen to the corner. When I looked to the corner, I saw two players. I turned to my assistant, J.J. Martin and asked why we had two guys in the corner. He gave me a funny look and I turned around and there was only one.”

Chaffin, 66, underwent surgery in Cincinnati to correct the problem and said his vision is fine. He said he is ready not only to coach again, but help the Timberwolves succeed as he has other programs. As head coach, Chaffin led Cabell Midland and Tolsia, where he went 71-26, to state tournaments. As an assistant, he helped Huntington High and Ceredo-Kenova to the Elite Eight.

A C-K graduate who played for legendary coach Carl Ward, Chaffin said he sees potential in Spring Valley’s players returning from a 2-12 season in 2020-2021.

Chaffin said he likes what he’s seen on film from Corbin Page, Ben Turner, Jace Caldwell, Tyler Brumfield, Landon Mosser, Dalton Fouch, Tate Adkins and transfers Ty Bartrum and Luke Larson. The Herald-Dispatch coach of the year in 2018-2019, Chaffin said he welcomes all those players and that they are important to the program’s success.

“Corbin Page has size, 6-foot-5, 6-foot-6, and is tough,” Chaffin said. “Ben Turner played point guard. He’s fast and a very efficient player who can run the team and do a great job. Jace Caldwell played out on the wing. He’s a strong kid, a tough kid, a football player. He did a really nice job. Landon Mosser is an excellent shooter. Dalton Fouch got a lot of playing time. He’s a good kid and a good player. Tate Adkins is a good player and good shooter. Ty Bartrum I watched a lot of film on him when he played in New Jersey. Good football and basketball player. Tyler Brumfield is 6-4 and looks like he can help us inside. Luke Larson transferred from Rose Hill and can be a good player for us.”

Chaffin said he thinks his players will enjoy playing for him.

“The kids will see a lot different,” Chaffin said. “New coaches with new schemes, new offenses, new defenses. They’re going to see they’ll have a lot of success and improve every day as basketball players. If they come out and work hard and play, there’s no doubt we can get back to the state tournament. I think they’ll have a great time and experience a lot of success.”

Chaffin said he’s happy to be part of a school that is the consolidation of Buffalo, C-K and Vinson.

“No question,” Chaffin said. “Being from Kenova and having coached at Ceredo-Kenova, this was a great opportunity and I jumped at it. I have a lot of energy and I’m ready to go again.”

Tim Stephens is a sports writer with The Herald-Dispatch.

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