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From the Bench: County's Newest Football Coach is from Bridgeport and Knows how to "Build" Things

By Jeff Toquinto on June 23, 2019 from Sports Blog via Connect-Bridgeport.com

Plenty of people in Bridgeport, North Central West Virginia and beyond know Scott Werdebaugh. He’s known for building people’s future as the founder of Integrity Financial Planning and he’s known for building developments with his partner Peter Prokopchuk as the operators of Vast Holdings, LLC.
 
Vast Holdings, just so you know, is the LLC that purchased the former Valley Hills Shopping Plaza and converted it to The Square at Bridgeport in July of 2017. When I saw Werdebaugh’s name recently on social media, I knew I should know it.
 
Typically, I would. If the Bridgeport resident’s name been listed in context with the above two entities – particularly anything on the development front – I would have immediately mentally put name with face and situation. This had nothing to do with either.
 
The post was on Notre Dame High School’s Facebook page. It was there that Werdebaugh was announced as the new head football coach for the Fighting Irish.
 
It’s good news, I believe, on multiple fronts. Not only does Werdebaugh’s past include plenty of coaching, but he’s good at doing something in his other lines of work – building.
 
And that’s what he’ll be doing at the Class A school that typically fields a small number and often competes quite nicely with teams in their own classification and above.
 
Of course, one may wonder how a Bridgeport resident ended up taking over for long-time Irish Coach Sam Alvaro who had 24 years in with the program either as an assistant and for years as the head coach. It happened on while out of the office.
 
“I was actually on vacation in the Outer Banks and one of my friends posted that Sam Alvaro had resigned,” said Werdebaugh. “I figured the school already had someone else or someone in mind and I asked my friend who posted it, who is a Notre Dame graduate, who they had. He said as far as he knew they didn’t have a replacement.”
 
Immediately, Werdebaugh’s head started spinning. The person known so much for his ability on the financial planning and development front had a pretty strong past in football. It was a past that he never lost a passion for and thought maybe, just maybe, he should throw his name into the mix to see what would happen.
 
“I slept on it that night and I kept thinking about my love for football, working with kids and building programs and a culture,” said Werdebaugh. “I was thinking about how when you coach you are able to teach kids the right way to do things on and off the field.”
 
When he woke, he began thinking he should reach out to Notre Dame to see if there was a chance. At some point, and Werdebaugh couldn’t remember exactly when, he did just that. As it turned out, the folks at NDHS entertained talking with Werdebaugh and the rest, as they say, is history.
 
“I’ve been working with businesses and getting them off the ground and trying to stay focused. I may have been into trying to coach even before this, but I waited for God to just let me know,” said Werdebaugh. “Three years ago this fall my son passed away and even though I had thoughts I knew it wasn’t the time to put extra attention on something that needs your attention in a serious way.
 
“I realized I was ready and that’s how we ended up where we’re at,” he continued. “I can’t tell you how excited I am.”
 
Werdebaugh’s coaching experience is in Class A. In 2009, he coached for a season starting the Trinity Christian school program from scratch. Altogether, he’s got 12 years of coaching under his belt, including the solo year at TCHS.
 
The rest of the time was as an assistant at three Maryland High Schools. He spent time at his alma mater Southern Garrett, Brunswick and Middletown High Schools. While that was back a few years during a time he also worked West Virginia University camps under Rich Rodriguez and Bill Stewart, Werdebaugh never got away from the game even in his down time.
 
“Be it high school or college games that I’m at or watching, once you’ve coached it’s hard not to look at things differently if you love it. I still found myself breaking down what was taking place,” said Werdebaugh.
 
Ironically, his first real coaching and where he got the itch was not only as an unpaid “assistant,” but occurred while Werdebaugh was still in high school. During his senior year at Southern Garrett, he tore his ACL.
 
“It happened in practice at the time of the sixth game that season,” said Werdebaugh. “Instead of just missing the last four games I was on the sidelines trying to help as much as I could.”
 
In particular, he took an interest in the player behind him that took his place on the field. The underclassmen got Werdebaugh’s full attention as to what was taking place and how to attack.
 
“I think that was part of what got me wanting to coach, but I also played for two high school football coaches who are in the Maryland football hall of fame,” said Werdebaugh.
 
One was Tom Woods, his coach at Southern Garrett. The other was Tim Ambrose of Middletown, where Werdebaugh served as an assistant. Now, the goal is taking lessons learned there as well as self-taught lessons and building on it.
 
“I think we can do something special by building the right environment, including a state championship,” said Werdebaugh. “The ultimate goal goes back to learning as much in the classroom as you do in football out of the classroom, which is why football is extracurricular.
 
“The thing that works in football is if you’re successful in the classroom it can easily translate to the football field. You learn how get back up after getting knocked down; the same lessons that apply in life,” he said. “If it’s done right, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That’s the goal and that will produce the best results. It’s really a simple formula.”
 
It’s one that’s found success for Werdebaugh in the business world. Now, the city resident will apply the formula to the world of football.
 
For those who have witnessed his success elsewhere, perhaps they shouldn’t dismiss what he’s bringing to the program.
 
Editor's Note: Top photo shows Scott Werdebaugh posing on a surface he'll soon be completely familiar with on a daily basis, while in the second photo Werdebaugh is shown doing an interview after the grand opening of a new business at The Square at Bridgeport.


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