Oak Hill – Atticus Goodson of Independence has been one of the most decorated athletes to come out of southern West Virginia in decades, and he’s won some of the most prestigious awards, including the Kennedy Award in football and the West Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year. .

His trophy case was overflowing to the point that his father John started making him a new one.

Of all those coveted awards he’s won, the one he added on Sunday at the 2022 Coalfield Conference Sports Awards Banquet – the Ryan Haga Impact Player of the Year award – is the most special.

“He’s a big one, it really means a lot to me because he goes by the name of Ryan Haga,” Goodson said of Haga, a local official and member of the Independence community, who died suddenly at 44 on Tuesday. last fall. “He was probably my favorite referee. He got me out of the midget league all the way. I know the family. They’re super cool people. It sucked that it happened so suddenly. It was just a great person.”

The Haga family, his wife Tavie, son Tyler and daughter Courtney, loved ones and lifelong friend Randy Hunt were on hand to help deliver the Coalfield’s top honors.

Haga friend, business partner and official colleague Greg Fernett said Haga’s wife, Tavie Haga, asked him to find a way to keep the Ryan Haga name alive.

Fernett said an idea came to him on a trip to one of their favorite hunting spots, when he was just walking through the woods.

“Coalfield Conference,” he said, recalling the moment in the woods when the idea hit him. “What struck me is that I have never seen Vince Lombardi coaching a football game. But I know who Vince Lombardi is. The Super Bowl trophy is called the Vince Lombardi trophy. You who are sitting in this audience you’ve never seen Vince Lombardi’s coach, but when I say Vince Lombardi, you know who he is, and you’ll know who Ryan Haga is, 20 years from now.

Fernett and a board of directors are poised to take over leadership of the Coalfield Conference in the future. Current commissioner Chad Quesenberry, a former Coalfield conference athlete at Mullens, will remain on the board during the transition period.

Paige Maynard of Shady Spring was the first recipient of the Tavie Haga Female Impact Player of the Year award from the Coalfield Conference.

“It means a lot,” Maynard said of the award. “It is truly an honor to be recognized by the (Haga) family, I know they are going through a tough time. I am so happy and honored to have received an award representing him and his family.

Seventeen athletes from 13 different high schools were on hand to receive awards, along with the two main winners.

Goodson was late for his graduation party to attend the event, and Maynard came from an out-of-state travel softball team event Sunday morning to host the banquet.

Honored with them were (by school):

Greenbrier West – Female, Brooke Nutter; Man, Chase McClung.

Independence – Wife, Sarah Bragg; Male, Atticus Goodson.

James Monroe – Wife, Lilly Jackson; Male, Shad Wild.

Liberty – Female, Brooklyn Brown; Male, Andrew Pettry.

Meadow Bridge – Wife, Charity Reichard; Dustin Adkins man.

Midland Trail – female Meghan Gill; Male, Cody Harrell.

Nicholas County – Wife, Katy Walkup; Male, Bryson Phipps.

PikeView – Wife, Anyah Brown; Man, Dylan Blake.

Richwood – Wife, Ashton Morris; Man, Tyler Workman.

Shady Spring – Female, Olivia Barnett; Male, Jake Showalter.

Summers County – Wife, Maggie Stover; Man, Julien Keaton.

Westside – Female, Shyan Jenkins, Male, Tanner Walls.

East Wyoming – Female, Abigail Quesenberry; Male, Tanner Whitten.

Quesenberry’s leadership has been crucial during the Covid-19 period. This was the first Coalfield Conference banquet since 2019.

“I’m really excited (to bring the banquet back),” said Quesenberry, vice-principal of Oak Hill High School. “Everything has been so weird in the world. We’re finally getting back to normal a little bit and having these kids here, and they’re starting to happen now, just makes me happy. It’s about student recognition, it’s our purpose.

Courtney Haga said her family appreciates the support of the conference and the wider community after her father passed away seven months ago.

“My dad was the absolute best man in the whole world,” she said. “He loved his community, he loved the kids, he loved coaching – he coached me and my brother from the time we were walking. He refereed every Friday night, football and basketball. He was at every sporting event, missed none.

“I know he is so proud of all of you, I know he refereed most of you today. Just keep doing what you are doing. I want to thank you on behalf of our family for just showing your love and support and doing this He would be so, so honored if he was here to see all the love he has and everyone who has enlightened us through this awful, awful and just time to keep his name alive. We just want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

“Ryan was a big part of the sport here,” Goodson said. “Not just sports, the community itself. He helped with everything. He had always been there forever.

With his name gracing the Coalfield Conference’s Ryan Haga Impact Player of the Year award, he’s assured he always will be.