Monday, December 28, 2009

Thinking out loud

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.


Anonymous said...

First comment on Dalton. Coaches at the high school level should be judged on how well they prepare kids and help develop life skills. He went far and beyond with his kids.. remember all kids/parents are not going to like him, but majority rules here. Second, the wash high situation does not look to get any better. Been attending games at the high 25 years and never seen a WH crowd get up in the middle of a game and leave. WH staple was always defense, have not seen any of that. They seem to be playing with to much freedom, something we are not accustomed to. People will now see the impact that Mr. faust had at wash high on and off the court.

mike_kovak said...

Covered the Wash High at Peters Township game and thought the Prexies played excellent defense.

Anonymous said...

Leave Gaither alone. People are used to seeing Faust on the sidelines. Gaither has huge shoes to fill. Wash High has played a brutal schedule. Wash High has played and lost to a few quality AAAA schools. When it comes time for AA playoffs everyone will be thankful.

Anonymous said...

Im a realist who had a son play for Coach Dalton. I equate what he has done at Trinity like winning football games at Northwestern, no tradition etc. he has done admirable job. I would be interested in Mike your thoughts on Guy's tenure at CM a similar job to Trinity as far as no football tradition.

CM FB PARENT said...

I can tell you first hand experience Guy M. is a first class coach and AD. Yeah he may scream and yell and call ya names but at the end of the day he cares very deeply for ALL his players not just the hulls and hagans etc. Guy gets kids into DII and DIII schools and finds money for them. I hope he stays. But knowing the A holes at CM they will find a way to make him leave.

Anonymous said...

North Hills reversed their decision to fire Jack McCurry several years ago. NA reversed their decision to fire longtime great baseball coach Guy Manneotis and most recently a few years ago USC reversed their decision to fire both Jim Render & Danny Holzer and last but not least just a couple of years ago CV reversed their decision to fire Tim McConnell.

How dare you tell the students & parents not to rally to the defense of Ed Dalton and shame on you for being so clueless as to NOT know of these great coaches that beat back other moronic school boards.

Anonymous said...

One example for you Mike, The North Hills School Board tried pulling a similar stunt on Jack McCurry a few years back (2000ish) After a pretty intense school board meeting in which Lavar Arrington came back to speak at, the board reversed it's decision to open McCurry's job. Maybe there's a shot for Ed

mike_kovak said...

When did I tell Trinity students and parents not to rally in support of Dalton?

Anonymous said...

What's the one thing all the coaches the above-posters mentioned have in common that Ed Dalton does not?
They won.
You're comparing apples to oranges there.

Anonymous said...

Where was this outcry at Trinity when Linda Rebish and Jeff Bricker were replaced in the past year?
They both won more than Dalton and sent just as many, if not more, kids - percentage wise - to college.

Anonymous said...

mike the wh peters game. Peters was not in the game early in the 2nd and 3rd qtr because they missed all their shots. they were up early because they made them and from what i saw they were all open shots that didn't fall. If the defense was their then why they blow 15 point lead. Rethink the game. Game management also. had three fouls to give with 17 seconds. from talking to one player on the team that wasn't even discussed. you covered burg-wh and sf-wh, where was the D. Explain

mike_kovak said...

PT missed those shots in the 2nd and 3rd quarter because Wash High sunk into a 2-3 zone and all attempts came from 18-25 feet.

True Wash High lost a 15-point lead. I thought that had as much to do with not attacking inside late in the game as anything else. That's what both coaches said as well.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I believe Terry Smith at Gateway was another coach who just last year was on the chopping block thanks to an overzealous school board. He was also reinstated.

but I would like to address the Letter to the Editor today by Mr. Bodnovich:

If the boards 2 main points of interest are Improving Education and Improving Cost Controls, then why were the first moves by this group of board members to remove all Fall Coaching positions, the AD, the solicitor, and the food Service director..... None of these have ANYTHING to do with your first goal (Improving Education) and your second goal (Improving Cost Control).

These moves will cost the district MORE money, so scratch #2!! AND it will not help the educational process. So what you should have said, Mr. Bodnovich, is that "Once we grind our axes and remove those who we do not like....We will take a look at these 2 goals".

Also, adding your friend as the new solicitor (a man that has already been removed from the Trinity School District once) will not save the district any money either!

Stop blowing smoke Mr. Bodnovich! I, as well as MANY other tax payers, will not fall for your "smoke and mirrors" agendas. You need to go.

If your REAL goals and concerns were education and cutting costs, you would have addressed these issues as your first order of business! You and a few others on that board are an embarrassment to our district!

Anonymous said...

Coach Bricker left on his own. I believe his family grew and wanted to spend more time with them.

mike_kovak said...

In a couple of these cases, wasn't it a disgruntled board member trying to oust the successful coach, not the coach being fired then getting the job back?

They are all good examples of how a community can help keep a good coach in place.

Anonymous said...

Mike, you made some great points about Dalton and I am definately in support of his return to Trinity, but you are mistaken when you state that his days are done at Trinity.

According to the TRINITY AREA BOARD POLICY: The Board shall act as the general agent of the state in carrying out the WILL of the people of this district in the matter of public education.

There have been several decision reversals when the public shows up to voice their opinions. They (the board) need to listen at the board meeting on the 7th.

Take a look at Ringgold and the sports programs. They had the same thing happen several years ago to their district. Since then, they have had approximately 5 different coaches in the past 6 years in football, the same in baseball, and have had little if no success in any of their sports programs. Baseball, football, basketball, wrestling, softball....It goes on and on and on and on and on thanks to the same type of board with personal agendas!

Plus I have talked to over a dozen current coaches at Trinity and MANY of them will not be applying for their positions once they are opened. How do you replace that many coaches?(and keep in mind, this includes not only the head coach, but all the assistants all the way down to the middle school level)

Football has about 11 Coaches from 8th grade to Varsity. Soccer has about 10 (boys and girls), Cross country, boys and girls volleyball, golf, tennis, cheerleading, and LaCrosse. Then they are going to open all Winter Sports (boys and girls basketball, rifle, wrestling, winter track and swimming) followed by all Spring Sports (Softball, baseball, track and field) ?! That means you will have to replace close to 100 coaching positions across the district!! All without an AD or a new AD who doesn't know any of the coaching staffs.

Makes you wonder if they ever think before they leap!

Anonymous said...

Bricker resigned due to the new board member Scott Day. Mr. Day spent the last 7 years trying to oust Coach Bricker because of his Nephew losing a wrestle-off to Dan Burkholder (State Champion).

Ask Mr. Day how many times he demanded meetings with the AD, Principal, and Coach Bricker to fire Bricker at the end of the season.

Its time to start getting the truth and stop letting these board members make rediculous excuses. There are reasons for every decision but they refuse to give them!

Anonymous said...

Bricker could see the writing on the wall. The natives were already forming attack parties on him and trying to get him fired. Now, some of those same people are running the show.

Anonymous said...

Honestly - there was only 1 player on the Trinity Softball Team - not benchwarmers but the actual starters - who cared if Linda Rebish left. If her own players didn't care why would anyone else?

Anonymous said...

I don't know much about the wrestling situation, but every wrestler I talk to at school says how much they like Coach Marino and how he has helped them. I haven't heard many complaints about Bricker being gone.

Secondly, about Coach Reb, I guarantee that if you go and talk to the returning lettermen (5 girls) that the majority of them will tell you how they enjoy having a new coach. They will also tell you that Coach Loar has helped them more in their first few weeks of volunteer workouts than Coach Reb did in 3 and 4 years for some of these girls. Also, I would like to see where it is that Reb sent as many players to college as Dalton. I can think of one player who has gone and played well, Ashley Amistade who is currently a player at Pitt. So thats one player thats gone Division One. There are not many more college players out there from the softball program. Can't really comment on the wrestlers for the fact that I am unsure.

Finally, what happened to Dalton has yet to be given a reason. People say it is nepotism, he makes to much, and so on. It is a sad thing to see this man go, he has helped many people tremendously. Most think he just helps the football player, read the Athlete of the Week article about Josh Valentic from Trinity, at the end he says how he too would like to see this decision reversed, he plays basketball. Just one of the many non-football athletes that are in support or Dalton.

Anonymous said...

mike in the wh/pt game nobody was jacking 25ft threes. Of course all of their shots were at least 18 foot, the three point line is at least that far and that is pt offense-shooting threes.

Anonymous said...

"Where was this outcry at Trinity when Linda Rebish and Jeff Bricker were replaced in the past year?
They both won more than Dalton and sent just as many, if not more, kids - percentage wise - to college."

Excuse me, but isn't the PARENTS of these kids who send them to college and not the coach? Unless, of course, coaches Bricker and Rebish are paying the kids' tuition.

Anonymous said...

anon at 11:09 I believe they meant by getting them talking with coaches they know like Daltton does. For example, he gets coaches he knows from all over to come and look/talk to his player. Either way I know Rebish did'nt do much, if any, of that.

Anonymous said...

Trinity will approve their new Head Football Coach on Thursday at their meeting. SHould be very interesting to see what all of the Dalton supports do then. And where is the support for soccer and cross country?? Coach D has only buried himself on the football website, no one will ever hire him now. IMHO

Anonymous said...

The supporters for Dalton have made it very clear to board members that they support ALL Sports, INCLUDING soccer and cross country, as well as the Food Director and the Solicitor. If you are soo worried about soccer and cross country, why don't you get involved and get these boosters off their keesters and do something about it! Not just sit back, let everyone else do the work, and complain that nobody did anything for soccer or cross country.

Coach Fiella knows and has been a part of this from the beginning. As for the Soccer coaches, they do not want to be included due to the fact they are first year teachers and are affraid of what the board might do to their jobs. That is a shame that people have to be worried about their jobs because the board is bullying people.