By Jeff Nations
Ron Combs has his mind on a bus.
The new Legacy Christian Academy athletics director has a multitude of tasks ahead as he prepares the first-year private school for its first season of play this fall, everything from scheduling opponents to finalizing home venues, ordering equipment to pondering the Saints' future conference affiliations.
And yes, Combs is going to need a bus to get his new charges to and from those games and he's got his eye on one down in Lynchburg, where he plans to make a trip on Thursday for a test drive.
"I am a bus man," said Combs, who moved to the new Stephens City school after coaching for decades at Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy. "I drove buses at SVCA for 37 years. I know everything about buses."
Combs can turn his attention to transportation for now, as LCA announced a slate of new coaches for the school's inaugural season. Combs, who coached a variety of sports during his long tenure at SVCA, will lead the Saints' varsity boys soccer team in the fall and the varsity girls basketball team in the winter.
Kelly Braun-Duin, a former high school standout at SVCA (where she was a National Association of Christian Athletics All-American) and Bryan College, will coach the varsity volleyball team. Braun-Duin has previous experience as a coach and in running camps, and among her career highlights was playing against the Costa Rica national team while in college.
Jon Cole, a former player and assistant coach under Combs at SVCA, will head up the varsity boys basketball team. Cole played on SVCA's 2001 NACA national championship team and coached that school's junior varsity squad for two years. He's currently running LCA's summer program and working at college summer camps.
Tim Nicewarner, who played for West Virginia traditional high school powerhouse Jefferson and won a state championship with the Cougars, will coach the varsity baseball team in the spring. He'll be assisted by Matt Nicewarner and Michael Lang.
Michael Miller, who previously coached at nearby Musselman High School in West Virginia, will lead the varsity cross country and golf teams. Miller has previously coached both sports, along with football and basketball.
All of the new coaches at LCA are volunteers, Combs said.
"They're all solid people," Combs said. "If you have passionate people who are going to get after it and want to be a good coach and learn, and really invest in the kids, I'm all for them. The records will take care of themselves."
LCA also has plans to field varsity cheerleading and softball in its first year.
Still to be determined is where the Saints will play their home games, which promise to be few and far between without any facilities of their own at present.
"We're going to rent places most of the time," Combs said. "We're going to be on the road a lot. That's the plan right now."
Combs said LCA would also be interested in securing a conference affiliation, perhaps through the Virginia Association of Christian Athletics (VACA). That will come after the school finalizes its plans for home venues, which eventually could include a home gymnasium. What's New Worship plans to purchase the back half of the property, located off U.S. 11 south of Stephens City in the former Bon Air Home facility, and construct a gymnasium that would be available for school use.
Combs, who was instrumental in getting SVCA's athletic department off the ground when that school opened in 1976, sees a lot of similarities in that job and his current task of building a program at LCA.
"You know you'll have your growing pains," Combs said. "Absolutely, it's a lot to get done. It's a lot of work."
Contact staff writer Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org