Wednesday, June 16, 2010

At the next Trinity School Board meeting …

Trinity football coach Ed Dalton and baseball coach Levi Bristor guided their respective programs to heights not seen by either team in 60-plus years. Following Thursday's school board meeting, Dalton and Bristor could be gone from their positions.

Trinity Area School Board held a policy committee meeting Tuesday and among the topics of discussion was the status of Bristor. (For background on Bristor's situation, click

There is a proposed policy about preventing administrators from coaching sports at Trinity. Bristor is the district transportation director. He's also one of the more successful coaches in Trinity history, despite a short four-year tenure as baseball coach.

Trinity qualified for postseason play in each of Bristor’s four years, including three consecutive trips to the PIAA Class AAA playoffs from 2007-2009. In 2008, Trinity reached the state semifinals and the WPIAL championship game.

His career record is 63-27 (.700 win percentage) with 12 postseason victories.

With a sophomore and freshman as Trinity’s top two pitchers in 2010, the Hillers finished 12-6 and reached the WPIAL quarterfinals before losing to Elizabeth Forward, a PIAA semifinalist.

When the policy was first discussed, the positions of superintendent, assistant superintendent and athletic director were not included. The school board discussed adding those positions at the policy committee meeting.

Dalton is Trinity's athletic director but, as a football coach, he helped turn Trinity into a respectable program.

Trinity is 54-56 under Dalton and he is the second-winningest coach in the program’s history. The Hillers made the playoffs five consecutive years and he produced a string of Division I players, several who play in Bowl Championship series conferences.

The school board already went after Dalton's job as football coach in December when a controversial decision was made to open all fall coaching positions. Following public backlash, the board reconsidered and all fall coaches got their jobs back.

The policy is expected to be discussed at Thursday's meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m. in the administrative offices.

No matter what happens Thursday, it is unlikely either could be removed before July's meeting. One possibility that could occur is Dalton's dismissal as athletic director. His contract expires June 30 and if it is not renewed, his contract guarantees a teaching position at the top of the pay scale.

It's understandable that the school board is seeking to install this policy. Many schools are trending away from having administrators coach.

Of the 21 high schools in the Observer-Reporter coverage area, eight had athletic directors who were head coaches during the 2009-10 school year. They are Burgettstown's Jon Vallina (golf, wrestling), California's Phil Pergola (boys basketball), Canon-McMillan's Guy Montecalvo (football), Charleroi's Bill Wiltz (boys basketball), Fort Cherry's Brent Fleissner (boys basketball), Ringgold's Lloyd Price (football) Dalton and West Greene's Bill Simms (softball). Montecalvo resigned as football coach in the spring and Price left Ringgold in the middle of the spring sports season.

In Trinity's case, removing Dalton and Bristor from their coaching positions is a mistake. A big mistake. And it sure looks like this proposed policy is nothing more than a veiled attempt to do something the school board wanted to do back in December – get rid of Dalton.

Here's something to ponder: if Dalton is removed as football coach with the start of practice less than two months away, who will Trinity find to fill the position?

Good luck with that one.

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