KEYSER - With a vote by the Monongalia County Board of Education Tuesday evening, it finally became official - Keyser head football coach Sean Biser has been named the next head football coach at Morgantown High School.

By Chapin Jewell
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - With a vote by the Monongalia County Board of Education Tuesday evening, it finally became official - Keyser head football coach Sean Biser has been named the next head football coach at Morgantown High School.  
In some ways, it’s been the area’s best, or worst kept secret. With the formalities now out of the way, however, both Keyser and Morgantown high schools’ football programs will see changes in the 2020 football season.
“I never planned on applying for that job or leaving Keyser. That had never got into my mind,” Biser said. “ As a matter of fact, I was approached by several people in that area to apply for the job. Initially I told them, I’m not really interested, I’m happy where I am. To their credit, some of them were pretty persistent.
“So I finally asked, why should I consider leaving here and apply?  We’ve worked our butt off, we’ve got great facilities, we’ve got great kids, a great community, and it’s my home. There is a laundry list of things that are positive about being here in Keyser.”
According to Biser, “After they started talking to me, I thought well, maybe I should listen for my own benefit. It’s one of the few times I started to do something for my own benefit. So I started to reach out to my coaching colleagues and some people I really think a lot of, to get their opinion. They were like, ‘Listen coach, you really need to think about this for yourself and your family.’ The opportunity it gives you, and the challenges it presents, because I like challenges. I finally made up my mind that I needed to apply for the job and at least hear them out and see what they had to say during the interview process.
“I liked everything that I heard. It gives me some opportunities to do some things that I can’t do here, and some opportunities for my family that I can’t have here.  And that’s nothing negative on Keyser, it just is what it is. At the end of the day, it’s like someone that looks for a job or promotion that’s going to better their family and their life and that’s really what we’ve been presented with.  
“Finally, when they called me and offered it to me, it took a lot of prayers and deep thinking before I finally decided that I was going to take the job,” Biser explained.
According to Biser, “It was a very emotional time for me, in fact, I found myself up in the locker room one day just crying my eyes out because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. At the end of the day, I met with my family and they said this is what you need to do. You’ve been here a long time and done a lot for Keyser High School, although I don’t see it that way, that’s what my family tells me. I thought well, no risk, no reward, I’m just going to do this and hope that I make the right decision.”
In Morgantown, Biser takes on a program with a rich, winning tradition, but one that’s had only mediocre success lately.  Morgantown had 19 consecutive playoff appearances from 1995-2013, including four AAA state championships in that run. The Mohigans have not, however, won a playoff game in four years.
According to Biser, however, there is a big upside there, “They have 1,850 kids in the school, so there’s a large number of kids we have to work with there. They seem committed from the top down to building a great, championship program, it seems that way to me. That’s something that piqued my interest obviously. Not that we aren’t here, but it’s something new and it’s something different. Also, career wise, I would never leave Keyser for what I feel would be a lateral move.  Going up there will give me an opportunity to grow as a person and grow as a coach.”  
After a successful football and wrestling career at Keyser High School, one that included winning a state wrestling championship, Biser left upon graduation in 1988 to attend and wrestle at West Liberty. West Virginia University initially offered a walk-on opportunity in football, but Biser chose wrestling and West Liberty. At West Liberty, Biser qualified for the NAIA National Wrestling Tournament as a freshman.  After a year and half of wrestling at West Liberty, Biser transferred to West Virginia University where he wrestled for a time and then made the football team as a walk-on.
“I went to open tryouts and made the team as a walk-on, and then ended up winning a scholarship,” Biser explained.
After a successful playing career in Morgantown under coach Don Nehlen, Biser stayed another year at WVU to earn his degree, then came back to Keyser to Potomac State College under coach Angelo Luvara.
“Angelo Luvara hired me as a strength coach and offensive line coach, and I was a dormitory director at Potomac State. After about a year and a half there, I left, I had an agent and a couple pro tryouts. I was supposed to be signed with a team in the Arena Football League out of Connecticut and had a couple scouts talking to me, but nothing ever panned out. So, I went down and played with the West Virginia Lightning out of Charleston, West Virginia,” Biser stated.
With the West Virginia Lightning, Biser played alongside Major Harris and about 15-20 other West Virginia guys, where they won a national championship. The team changed into the Charleston Rockets, where Biser continued to play. Biser then played for the Albany Firebirds, got cut, and came back to West Virginia to play for the Rockets where he played a couple of other seasons. Ultimately, a knee injury would end Biser’s playing career, which would ultimately lead to his life’s calling, a career in coaching.
Biser’s connections with assistant Rockets coach and then George Washington High School coach Steve Edwards, someone he had been familiar with both at WVU and as a high school coach who coached against him at East Bank High School, led to Biser helping coach wrestling at Dupont High School, and wrestling and football at George Wrestling High School in Charleston. From George Washington High School, Biser would ultimately come to Hampshire, where he was the head football coach from 1999-2003.
Biser’s efforts as a new head coach were very successful at Hampshire, where he immediately turned them into a winner. In just five seasons at the helm, Hampshire compiled an overall record of 30-23, but more importantly, the Trojans made the AAA playoffs in three of the five seasons, largely uncharted grounds for the Trojans.
“The good thing about Hampshire is that they were willing to take a chance on a guy that had never been a head coach before, a young guy.  I’m forever indebted to Paul Clovis and Joe Riley for hiring me. I say this all the time, I go on record saying this, I was treated amazingly at Hampshire High School. Those people made me feel welcome, they were willing to work, and the kids were great. We were very fortunate to have great kids who were willing to work and great assistant coaches, and we just made it work.
In 2004, Biser left Hampshire to come back to Keyser High School, his alma mater.  At Keyser, Biser and his Golden Tornado teams have enjoyed tremendous success. In his 16 seasons at the helm in Keyser, the Black and Gold compiled an overall record of 127-58, making the playoffs in 14 of those 16 seasons, to include the last nine consecutively.
In those 14 years of playoff appearances, Keyser reached the state championship game in 2012 against Wayne, to the second round eight times, and the first round five times. Along the way, Biser established or re-established Keyser’s reputation as a hard-nosed, well-coached team that would largely take on all comers in the Mountain State.  With regular season series against the likes of Bridgeport and Wayne, teams at the top of AA football in West Virginia, in addition to tough local competition, Keyser’s relevance as a team near the top of AA football was noticed statewide.
“When Tom (Preaskorn) left here, I’ll give him credit, Craig Harman was the first person that called me and asked me if I was going to apply for the job here at Keyser. While I really loved being at Hampshire and they treated me great, Keyser was home, my kids were young. My mom was actually helping to babysit, so I was driving from Romney to Keyser every day to drop my kids off, then back home. Then we’d go back in after practice and get the kids, so we were running ourselves ragged. It was just a good move to come back here to Keyser, and I was just so fortunate to get that opportunity,” explained Biser.
According to Biser, “It’s hard for me to put into words what it has meant to be the head coach at Keyser. I grew up going to Keyser High School football games, all my childhood heroes were Keyser High School football players. That’s all I remember as a youth is coming to those games, my uncle played here. I started playing football when I was in the first grade and we lived in Burlington. I’m just an old farm boy from Burlington is all I am. My parents actually moved closer to Keyser because we were getting involved in sports and they were running themselves ragged.”
“Being part of this program has meant everything to me.  When we got back here in 2004, it was like time had stood still. When I left in 1988, then got back in 2004, it was still the same. We didn’t have a stadium, we still dressed at the middle school in the summer, and dressed at the swimming pool when it closed down, and practiced at the South End, so that was some things that we knew we needed to change and were working to change,” Biser stated.
According to Biser, “We’ve been fortunate that we have been able to work with the community, and my assistant coaches and the county board office, to get the things that we needed to have here in Keyser.  When you look at what we have now and what we had when I got here, it’s come a long, long way.”
Biser insists that it’s not the wins and losses, but rather the relationship he has built with his players that is the most memorable part of his tenure at Keyser, even at Hampshire.  
“When you see a kid graduate and go on and be successful adults, have a successful career, and just do well in life, that’s the most rewarding thing you can get out of being a head coach. Nobody remembers the wins and losses, you celebrate and remember the championships which are few and far between for most people, it’s the relationship you build with these guys, they’re like my kids. I’m always proud of them when I see they’ve done something successful.”
Coach Sean Biser leaves behind him at Keyser and even Hampshire high schools a tremendous track record of success. To be specific, there is a career winning percentage of 66 percent, an overall record of 157-81, and more importantly, his teams have qualified for the state playoffs in 17 of his career 21 seasons as a head coach. More than numbers, however, Biser has inspired a generation of young men to be tough-nosed football players but even better people.  
Morgantown High School has picked them a winner. While many are sorry to see him go, the reality is, that as a hometown boy, we can all be proud of what he’s accomplished and is about to accomplish in Morgantown. Morgantown High will do big things, so too will Keyser High School, thanks in large part to the work of Sean Biser.