No local sports story sparked more interest or generated more outrage in 2009 than the controversial decisions of a newly-elected Trinity School Board to open the coaching positions of all fall sports coaches and opt not to renew the contract of athletic director Ed Dalton following the 2009-10 school year.
As a football coach, Dalton helped turn a dormant program into a respectable one. What Trinity lacked during Dalton's 11 years was the ability to defeat top teams, the lone exception coming when the Hillers upset Penn Hills in the WPIAL playoffs.
Dalton did a lot of good for Trinity football. He made it relevant. He brought it considerable attention, even helping to land a Trinity-Thomas Jefferson game on national television.
More importantly, Dalton got players to college, whether it was Ohio State University or Waynesburg University.
To me, that's Dalton's legacy at Trinity. No local coach sent more players to college football programs the past 5-6 years than Dalton.
Wins and losses draw the most attention. At the high school level, what a coach should get credit for is the development of student-athletes. Dalton accomplished it at Trinity.
That said, no matter how many rallies students and parents organize for Dalton, his days coaching football at Trinity are over. Can anyone recall a situation where a school board reversed such a decision? If so, please share.
Dalton will coach football again, as soon as the 2010 season if he wants. If I'm an athletic director at a Class AAAA, AAA or high-level AA school searching for a football coach, I'm calling Dalton to gauge his interest.
* I'm about 50 pages into a book authored by Chartiers-Houston boys basketball coach Jerry Cypher. Once completed, I'll discuss in greater detail.
* Thanks to the late start date administered by the PIAA, the basketball season enters its third full week. Usually, a lot more is known about contenders and pretenders.
Where the California boys and Chartiers-Houston girls fall remains unsolved but both count as pleasant surprises.
California, which returns to Class A next year, entered the annual Charleroi Holiday Tournament with a 6-0 record and a 2-0 spot in Section 5-AA. The Trojans are getting strong play from a group of underclassmen, including a couple freshmen. We'll know a lot more in mid-January when California plays Burgettstown, Washington and Monessen in successive games.
The C-H girls were 4-0 before the start of the LGKG Classic at Riverside High School in Beaver County. Another team getting strong play from a group of freshmen, the Bucs do own an impressive win over Brownsville, pegged by some coaches as the favorite in Section 5-AA. Starting Jan. 4, C-H plays Serra Catholic, Washington, Fort Cherry and Clairton in consecutive games.
* Judging from comments on this blog and other sources, there's displeasure over the 3-4 start of Washington's boys basketball team.
Not sure why there's so much concern. Not only will Washington qualify for the WPIAL playoffs, the guess here is the Prexies will contend for another Section 5-AA championship. Monessen and Burgettstown are also in the mix.
Wash High's schedule is nothing short of brutal. The Prexies already played a Canon-McMillan team with four returning starters, Burgettstown, South Fayette and Peters Township.
* Speaking of Wash High, senior Bryan Thomas recently committed to Bowling Green for football. He should have an opportunity to contribute immediately. Not only is Thomas physically ready for college football, he's easily this area's most underrated player.
When considering candidates for the Observer-Reporter Player of the Year, Thomas was the only player other than South Fayette quarterback Christian Brumbaugh who entered the thought process.
* The O-R sports staff received a few complaints for not covering the rally for Dalton last week. It's understandable.
From our perspective, the rally was not a sports story. In addition, it is not our responsibility to campaign for any coach or school board member.