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Fairland hires Cunningham as new head football coach

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

PROCTORVILLE — The Fairland Dragons are going 3-for-3.

The Fairland Board of Education has hired a football coach for the third straight year and it again comes with ties to Marshall University.

Melvin Cunningham was hired by a 4-0 vote on Friday as the Dragons new head coach. He follows former player Rashad Jackson who was the head coach last season and former Herd assistant Cullen Homulka who was the head coach in 2013.

Cunningham has been the head coach at Tug Valley High School in West Virginia. He took over Tug Valley in 2000 after back-to-back winless seasons.

His first team was 1-9 but he turned the program around the next season with a 6-4 record.

Fairland athletic director Jeff Gorby was very happy with the hire.

“We’re really excited to get him and he’s excited to be here and with the direction we’re going. He knows the game,” said Gorby.

Cunningham, 41, was a defense back at Marshall University and played two season with the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League.

Cunningham went to Marshall as a running back but was converted to a cornerback and helped the Herd to a 15-0 record in 1996 and the NCAA I-AA national championship.

A starter on the 1997 team that made the jump to I-A, he holds the Marshall career record for post-season interceptions with six. He was invited to the Miami Dolphins training camp prior to the 1997 NFL season.

Cunningham will be formally introduced on Feb. 17 at the Fairland-Chesapeake basketball game that will include a “meet and greet” with members of the community.