Eddie Sloss doesn’t see the powerful River Ridge District as a challenge for Carroll County’s football team. Sloss, hired Tuesday night as the new head football coach of the Cavaliers, sees the River Ridge District as an opportunity.
“Like I told Mr. (Chuck) Thompson and Mr. (Darrin) Matthews, I am ready to embrace it. We could either look at it like it’s a tough district or we can look at it like this is what we have to do win. I am looking at it from the standpoint of what we need to do to win,” Sloss said Wednesday in a phone interview. “We acknowledge the competition is stiff and we basically have to figure out a plan.”
Sloss, who served as defensive coordinator at Christiansburg High School in 2013, comes to Carroll County with close to 20 years of coaching experience. A player at Blacksburg High School from 1986-89, Sloss was a member of Blacksburg’s Group AA State championship team in 1989. He’s also played semi-pro football for the Roanoke Rush and has coached at Auburn, Blacksburg, Patrick Henry, and Middleburg, Florida at different times over the past 21 years.
“CCHS is pleased to announce that Coach Eddie Sloss has been hired as the new head football coach. There were several quality candidates that interviewed for the position and we very impressed with the pool,” CCHS Principal Chuck Thompson said. “Given his background as a player and coach, we are hopeful that Coach Sloss can move the program forward. He comes to us with high recommendations and good ideas. I am looking forward to seeing these ideas implemented. We anticipate him meeting with the staff and student-athletes in the near future.”
Sloss, 41, plans to run “some version of an eight-man front” defensively at Carroll County.
“We are going to be committed to stopping the run first and not allowing the deep ball to beat us,” Sloss said. “That is going to be basically what we try to hang our hat on defense.”
On the other side of the ball, Sloss would like to run a Jet Wing-T offense.
“I’ve got some experience with a zone offense, but I am not a zone guy even though I have a lot of respect for the teaching of the zone. I know after playing Carroll County this year and being involved in many Wing-T programs, Wing-T blocking is probably the most physical and challenging for defenses to defend, so the Jet Wing-T is most likely the way we are going to go,” he said. “After coaching at Blacksburg and trying to defend the wing-T at Christiansburg, and coaching there this year, I believe it is something we are going to try to do at Carroll County. I know Carroll has done some Wing-T, but I think the emphasis will be more on the jet.”
As far as bringing in a new staff, Sloss said he has great respect for Carroll County’s football program. As far as he’s concerned, the players at CCHS have been well-coached, so he doesn’t want to shake up the current staff.
“Right now I am not looking to bring anybody in. I had a lot of respect for the staff that was there and the staff that wants to come back and continue to be a part of the program,” Sloss said. “That is my intention. I want to meet with the staff and get a feel for what they want to do. If they want to be a part of the program and be committed to what I want to do, I want them back.”
Sloss remembers scrimmaging Carroll several years ago when he as an assistant at Blacksburg. Also having watched the Cavaliers in playoff games over the years, he’s been impressed with how fundamentally sound Carroll’s players have been.
“I have always noticed how physical they are, especially on defense. As a defensive coach, I saw how fundamentally sound Carroll County was in the techniques they used,” Sloss said. “You can tell when kids have been coached, and they definitely have, so I want to keep as much as possible from that staff. Their kids have always been physical as far as I can remember. It would be foolish of me to not try to keep the staff together as much as possible.”
Sloss said he currently must finish his teaching obligation in Montgomery County, so it will most likely be this summer before he enters into the program fulltime. However, he said he will make as many trips as possible to Hillsville in the meantime to meet with the players and staff.
Sloss has three daughters between the ages of eight and 13. He said he has no biological sons, but “My sons are the kids I coach.” He said he’s learned from some great coaches over the past 20 years and admits his coaching style has changed during that time.
“At one point and time I was that very intense, emotional coach. Over the years, and I think God has helped me with this, I have learned to have more of a positive approach and tried to encourage them and coach them up,” Sloss said. “Every now and then you get their attention when you have to yell, but I think the kids respond better when they don’t see you yell all the time. If you do it every now and then, once in a blue moon, then they know the seriousness of the situation. I am still learning and have a long ways to go, but I try to be positive, motivational, teach them and correct them. That is what it is all about, especially in high school football.”
A 1995 graduate of Radford University, Sloss began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Auburn High School from 1993-94. He played with the semi-pro Roanoke Rush football team from 1995-97, then returned to coaching in 1998 as the middle school coach at Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke.
Sloss then served as the head JV coach at Middleburg High School in Middleburg, Florida from 1999-2001. He returned to Virginia as the head JV coach at Patrick Henry in 2002. From 2003-20011, he served as an assistant varsity coach at Blacksburg High School. He then coached at Auburn in 2012 before taking over as Christiansburg’s Defensive Coordinator in 2013.
Sloss also has served as the head varsity softball coach at Blacksburg High School, and was the head JV baseball coach at Blacksburg High for five seasons. He also was the head freshman basketball coach at Patrick Henry in 2003 and was the head weightlifting coach at Middleburg High School from 2001-2002.