Roane County High School to recognize Ravenswood Red Devil coaching great, Fred Taylor

Mark Martin
Special to Jackson Newspapers

Before he became a legendary coach, Fred Taylor excelled as an athlete.

And the county where his love for sports started will be honoring him later this month.

Taylor, who guided Ravenswood to two state football championships, several other playoff appearances and a boatload of wins, will be inducted into the Roane County Sports Hall of Fame Oct. 15.

The Red Devil coaching great and the rest of the Class of 2021 will be recognized both before and during Roane County’s game with Braxton County at County Stadium in Spencer. The contest will also serve as the annual Black Walnut Bowl.

Taylor grew up in Roane County and was a star athlete at old Walton High School. He graduated from the school in 1955.

"I got to play for Roy Lester my freshman year at Walton," said Taylor.

Lester will be a part of the Hall of Fame class. He was a Spencer High grad who played at WVU. He would later become the head football coach at Maryland.

"I have a lot of great memories at Walton. We had some big wins," he said. 

One of those was a 12-6 defeat of Ravenswood in 1954 at Flinn Field, a place that now features Taylor's name.

Walton and Spencer consolidated in 1993 to form Roane County High School.

After his playing days at Walton, Taylor headed to Glenville State College and excelled in athletics for the Pioneer football and baseball teams.

Following college, he returned to Walton and served as head coach of the Tigers in football from 1962-64, winning 17 games.

Taylor made his way to Jackson County in 1965 and served as an assistant football and head baseball coach for one year at Ripley High School before making the move to Ravenswood.

It is there where his legendary status would evolve over time.

Taylor’s 1972 and 1976 football teams captured the Class AA state title.

Former Ravenswood head football coach Fred Taylor will be inducted into the Roane County Sports Hall of Fame Oct. 15. Taylor played and coached at old Walton High School (now a part of Roane County High) in the 50s and 60s before coming to Jackson County. He is pictured following his second of two Class AA state football championships in 1976.

His 1974 team finished the regular season 10-0 and reached the Class AAA playoffs in the school’s first year (one of only two) at that level.

Those Red Devil squads earned those postseason berths when only four teams qualified for the playoffs in West Virginia.

Taylor’s career record at Ravenswood, which spanned the seasons of 1966-1996, was 193-120-4.

The RCHS Hall of Fame will be Taylor’s fourth since his retirement.

He’s also a member of the Ravenswood High School Football Hall of Fame, the Mid-Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame and the Glenville State College Athletics Hall of Fame.

The football venue at Ravenswood High School was renamed (Jim) Spano-Taylor Stadium at Flinn Field two seasons ago. Like Taylor, Jim Spano won two state championships in football at Ravenswood.

The Class of 2021 includes another individual with ties to Jackson County. Dr. Sandra Elmore, a Walton High graduate who launched her career in coaching and athletic administration at Ravenswood, will be inducted.

The Class of 2021 also includes: Stephanie Eastman Cantrell (a Roane County High running specialist), Dylan Cottrell (a four-time state wrestling champ at Roane County who wrestled at WVU), Kane Davis (a Spencer High grad who spent 18 years in pro baseball), Beth Dorsey (a Spencer High basketball All-Stater and standout at West Virginia Wesleyan), Terry Kendall (a former Spencer football All-Stater who went on to star at Glenville, earning All-West Virginia Conference honors), Ashli Knotts (a Roane County graduate who went on to star in track and field at West Virginia Wesleyan), Alston Spears (a 2014 RCHS grad who played collegiate golf at West Liberty),

Also, David Vineyard (a 1959 Spencer graduate who pitched in the majors for the Baltimore Orioles), Matt Ashley (a 1979 Spencer High grad who became the first four-time state wrestling champ in West Virginia history), Cal Bailey (a 1960 Spencer graduate who played pro baseball before becoming a coaching legend on the diamond at West Virginia State), Richard Horton (a 1947 Spencer graduate who played football at UK and Marshall), Dick Longfellow (a 1955 SHS grad who played football at WVU) and the Runnion sisters (who helped lead Spencer High in its glory days of girls basketball, winning a title in 1923).