SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The Carl Lee era has officially arrived in South Charleston. The three-time Pro Bowler with the Minnesota Vikings is in year one at his alma mater and is excited to be back.

“Being on a staff where you played or being the head coach somewhere you are from, I think there can’t be anything better than that,” Lee said.

South Charleston loses some key pieces from 2021. Quarterback Trey Dunn moved to South Carolina, running back Mondrell Dean transferred to Hurricane to play with former SC coach Donnie Mays and wide receiver Duane Harris is playing for Huntington.

Despite the turnover, Lee is ready for the challenges that is taking over a new team.

“It’s always a challenge but it’s good,” Lee said. “You learn more about kids every day. From helmets and shoulder pads to full gear to off the field, what their personal life is like. So there’s a lot of challenges but it’s all a part of getting to know everyone.”

The players have now had a week to practice under Lee who made the journey from South Charleston to Marshall to the NFL. He’s teaching the kids the same values he learned along the way.

“Being the best player you can be and discipline for sure,” senior defensive tackle Mari Lawton said. “Having discipline because you know having discipline will get you a far way in this game.”

The Black Eagles open up their season Aug. 27 at home against Morgantown. They’ll face their first road test the following week against Huntington.