WILLIAMSBURG—All jokes aside that Kyle Neve might need a few refreshers, he can't have forgotten much about how to coach football.
The former Bruton High School head football coach and athletic director has been out of coaching since 2007, hanging up his whistle after 14 seasons coaching the Panthers. He had stepped down as athletic director several years prior.
"At first it was great, because I had never had time for myself, and I finally had time for myself," Neve said. "I lost 25, 30 pounds. I got in shape. But then it came to a point where after school I was leaving the building at 2:30 or 3, and there was nothing to do.
"I kind of got bored. I kind of got the itch to get back in."
After 21 years of teaching at Bruton, he was also ready for a change in the classroom.
Lafayette head football coach Andy Linn, a longtime friend, often half-kiddingly asked Neve when he was going to come coach with him. The conversation usually died when Neve asked about a teaching position and Linn said there wasn't one.
But last spring Neve, 53, saw one on the school district website. He was hired as a physical education teacher at Lafayette, and his addition as a football assistant working with quarterbacks and defensive backs just naturally followed.
His stepson, Mitch Barrick, plays on the team, and the school is the same driving distance from home that Bruton was. Neve will continue to referee college basketball games in the winter, though he said his assignments are fewer and involve less travel these days.
Being an assistant football coach is going to be different from being the head guy in charge, but he seems to relish the role.
"It's wonderful," Neve said. "The biggest thing is you have the contact with the kids and you're involved with it. But whenever there's a parent has a question, they can go see coach Linn.
"It's pretty good so far. I don't anticipate that changing."
He has made sure to stay well back from the in-charge role, and said at one point Linn and the defensive coordinator asked him a question. He deferred.
"I said hey, I'm here to do whatever y'all want me to do," Neve said.
Linn is thrilled with the addition.
"Not very often you get a guy you looked up to when you started coaching to be on your staff," Linn said via text message. "Coach Neve would be a great asset to any staff. We're lucky to have him."
Neve plans to work for quite a while, and to coach for as long as it feels right.
There were questions when he resigned at Bruton right before his youngest son's junior season and with a good team returning. In 2009 Bruton reached the Division 3 state championship game, and quarterback Jackson Neve was selected Bay Rivers District Offensive Player of the Year.
"My whole thing in whatever I do is as long as I enjoy it and feel like I'm adding something to the program, contributing, I'll be involved," Kyle Neve said. "A lot of people asked me how can you resign when your youngest son's going to be a junior, and y'all have a good team coming back?
"At Bruton I wouldn't dread practice. But it was more a burden than enjoyment, and I knew that was the time to give it up. So as long as it's fun and I'm enjoying it, and I'm able to contribute something positive."
Williams can be reached by phone at 757-247-4644.
See a video from Lafayette football practice at vagazette.com.