2008-11-12 / Sports

Salmon a high school mainstay for three decades

By Joey Matthews

Lisa Billings/Chesterfield Observer Ted Salmon, Cosby High School's director of student activities, during a quiet moment in his office.
Cosby High School's halls and classrooms were nearly empty on a recent late afternoon in October. Most of the teachers and students were long gone for the day. But for Ted Salmon, Cosby's jack-of-all-trades director of student activities, there was more work that needed to be done.

He and cross-country coach Chris Averill and some of his team's runners perused the school to find some extra tables to be used at the varsity football team's big home game against rival Clover Hill scheduled for the following night.

Salmon then went to his office where he fielded a call from the varsity cheerleading coach. The Titans team had won its first-ever Central Region championship a few days earlier, and Salmon had to help make arrangements for their appearance in the state tournament.

"We're also hosting the regional field hockey tournament," said Salmon.

Also on Salmon's packed docket: He had to make arrangements for the Titans' juniorvarsity football game versus Clover Hill, the volleyball team's regional appearance scheduled for the following week and various other athletic and student events.

"You do what you need to do to get the job done," said Salmon of the frenzied schedule that he and other county high school activities directors face from week to week. "I work 70 to 80 hours some weeks, and sometimes less hours than that."

Salmon would have it no other way.

"I enjoy the challenge of trying to help put together an outstanding athletic program here and other student activities," he said. "The key is you don't let it overwhelm you. You do what you can do one day at a time. That's a very important lesson my parents taught me as I was growing up."

Salmon has used that long-time philosophy to carve out an athletic/academic career of excellence during his 37 years of coaching, teaching and administrative work in Chesterfield County. Add to that the four years he had as a standout athlete at Meadowbrook High School beginning in 1963, and Salmon has had 40-plus years of athletic prowess in the county.

He got his athletic start at the high school level at Meadowbrook as a three-sport standout in football (four-year starter as a two-way tackle), basketball (a varsity most valuable player as a 6-foot-2 center) and track (record-holder in discus). Two years ago, he was inducted into the Meadowbrook Wall of Fame.

Salmon earned a football scholarship to East Carolina University where he was a two-year starter and three-year letterman playing on the defensive line.

He went to Clover Hill High School in 1973 after graduation as a 23 year old and taught social studies and was assistant coach in football and track. In 1975, he was named head football coach and, for 26 standout seasons, he guided the Cavaliers to a 151-win ledger that included five district championships and six appearances in the regional playoffs. He was named Richmond Touchdown Club Coach of the Year four times and was given the club's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.

He also has been an athletic director/director of student activities for the past 35 years, for 32 years at Clover Hill and for the past three years at Cosby. He has earned high accolades from his peers in that field as well. He was named State Athletic Administrator of the Year in 2005 and also earned a 35-year award from the Virginia Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. He has held several other district, region and state posts in his illustrious career.

He retired from coaching football at Clover Hill when the county added the responsibilities of director of student activities to those already held by school athletic directors. Those include scheduling all other student events and transportation.

Asked if he missed coaching football, Salmon said, "No, I don't, because now I have time to play a little golf from time to time. When I coached football, after a game on Friday, we would go to work on Saturday preparing for our next opponent. It was the right time for me to give it up. I still love the atmosphere that you have on Friday nights though."

Salmon decided to take up another challenge when he left Clover Hill in January of 2006 to help prepare for Cosby's scheduled fall opening. He and the school's athletic programs have been on a roll ever since.

"We had 12 district championships before the school's first graduating class [last year]," Salmon said.

He credits the support he receives from Cosby's administrators, teachers, coaches, players and fans for the successes.

"Everyone here works together so well," he said. "We just have some great people here."

Averill, who worked with Salmon at Clover Hill for 17 years before moving to Cosby, said Salmon deserves a lot of credit as well.

"The best thing about him as director of student activities is that he supports his coaches in their decisions," Averill said. "He encourages them to push their programs as far as possible. He also gives them the financial and moral support they need to do their jobs well. And he's a coach's coach. He's behind them 100 percent. He's their biggest cheerleader."

The 57-year-old Salmon said he could retire at any time, but vowed you won't see him looking to leave anytime soon.

"I'm not really interested in retiring," he said. "I hope to work a while longer, maybe another six or seven years."

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