WHEELING - A week after gaining a new football coach, the Cameron Dragons are in the market for one in baseball.
Long-time coach Eric James has informed the school that he will be stepping down after a dozen seasons stalking the hot corner.
''You get to a point in your career where you think it's just time to explore different options,'' said James, a physical education and health teacher at the school. ''When I first took over, there wasn't much thought about the baseball team. I wanted the people who played us to know they better play their best because I knew they were going to get our best.
''I really wanted to take this program and make it into one of the better ones in the state. My goal was always to leave this program in better shape then when I took over.''
During his tenure, James led the Dragons to three Mason Dixon conference titles, eight sectional crowns, and the first OVAC Championship in Cameron baseball history. He steps down with an overall record of 243-127.
Prior to that, the Dragons' baseball program had one Mason Dixon title to its name and little else.
James originally took the Cameron gig as a favor to athletics director Tim Brown after spending time as an assistant at John Marshall and as a head coach at Bishop Donahue.
''I told him I'd do it for a year,'' James recalled. ''Then I just kinda liked what I was doing.''
James began contemplating stepping down after the 2012 season when he was awarded the OVAC 2A coach of the year.
''I was really set after that,'' he said. ''When I got that it was kinda like we made it to where I wanted the program to get to.''
James also said that while his players will be first and foremost on his list of memories, the relationships he made throughout the Ohio Valley are also something he will value forever.
''What's not looked at enough in coaching is the relationships that you form with other coaches you compete against,'' James said. ''When you go to other places, you meet the people in other communities.
''Just going to Paden City and getting to see my close friend Brent Croasmun or getting the chance to compete against coaching legends like Dave Cisar at Magnolia or Bob Montgomery at John Marshall, I always looked forward to those games, not just for the competition, but being able to talk to those guys before and after the games.''
James wouldn't rule out a return to coaching, but for now, he wants to spend time with his family.
''I've always been one to keep my options open,'' he said. ''I have three kids. It's time to sit back and be dad and not coach.''