Fork Union Military Academy is pleased to announce two new additions to its head coaching ranks and to wish a hearty "welcome home" to these new coaches, as both are alumni of the Academy who are returning to give back to today's cadets some of the lessons they learned during their own time here as members of the Corps of Cadets.
Taking the reins of the prep football program will be Edward L. Handsome, a member of the PG Class of 1994. Handsome was a standout defensive back at Henrico High School prior to joining Fork Union's football team as a postgraduate. He continued his playing days at the college level, ultimately earning his Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia State University where his playing honors included being a three-year letter winner, three-year team captain, an All-CIAA team selection, and Most Valuable Player of both the Labor Day Classic and the all-star East Coast Bowl Game. He played at the professional level with the Richmond Speed of the Arena Football League.
Following his playing days, Coach Eddie Handsome has become a familiar face along the sidelines of football programs in Virginia for many years as a longtime teacher and football coach with the Henrico County School District, having also served stints as an assistant coach with Atlee, Highland Springs, Varina, and as head coach of the Norview High School program in Norfolk. Coach Handsome's teams have earned regional and conference championships, and his Henrico team was the runner up in the state championship game in 1997-1998. Coach Handsome was also tapped to serve as Defensive Coordinator at the professional level with the Richmond Bandits of the American Indoor Football Association, helping lead that team to their conference championship in the 2006-2007 season.
"I remember those guys working hard, those guys beside me," Coach Handsome reflects. "You know, we talk about Vinny Testaverde, you talk about Eddie George, Tom Haskins played here, you talk about Dexter Coakley, I played with Al Clark, Latrell Scott, those guys…the brotherhood, the bond."
"Those spirits are here," he continues, with passion in his voice. "Those dreams. Those guys left dreams that you can talk about. Those guys left things that you can only do here. We knew our pedigree. We knew what we did here. We knew the work we put in. Fork Union has that, we built that, we embody that. I know that's why I belong here. I know that's why I came home…to help put some of that right back where it belongs, because it was given to me. It's time to give that back."
Jacob Grabeel, a Class of 2017 graduate of Fork Union Military Academy, returned to campus this fall as a math instructor after earning his bachelor's degree from Bridgewater College. Grabeel knows the baseball diamond at Fork Union Military Academy very well, having been a three-year captain of the baseball team during his time as a cadet. He has now been selected to be the head coach of the baseball team. Coach Roger Bowles, one of Grabeel's coaches when he was a cadet, will remain to support him as an assistant coach.
A native of Gordonsville, Virginia, while a cadet at Fork Union Grabeel earned two-time All-State, two-time All-Prep, and All-Central Virginia team honors. He was a two-time winner of the Jackie Jensen Award, the 2016 best pitcher award, and the 2017 best hitter award. In addition, he earned Dean's List honors for his academic achievements as well as the Officers Reserve Award and a Leadership Award for his service as a cadet officer. He continued on from Fork Union to play baseball at the college level with Bridgewater College where he played for five seasons as a pitcher, catcher, and outfielder.
"I want to make a difference and impact like other people have here on this campus that I've cared a lot about," Grabeel explains, "and they're the reason why I've come back. The big names like Fender and all those guys that came before me, I want to live up to those standards here, and that's something that I feel is very important to me."
Welcome home, Coach Handsome and Coach Grabeel!