Sunday, July 10, 2011

Trinity football's open letter

I covered the Alumni Football USA game Friday night between Washington and Trinity – a game Washington won with ease – and I'll probably share some quotes I got from walking around the sidelines during the second half sometime soon.

My hastily written story on the event can be read by clicking here. A question posed in the reader comments concerned why Trinity didn't practice at their own facilities. The game was played at Wash High, and the Hillers alumni team practiced at Chartiers-Houston.

We'll get to the answer in a minute.

First, I got a chance to catch up with former Hillers great Ben Jennings, who sure looked like he could still run the football. As I was ending the post-game interview with Jennings, he wanted to say one thing on the record, part of which could be read at the end of the story.

Jennings, a person I always considered thoughtful and soft-spoken, further criticized the Trinity Area School Board from what Jennings said was their lack of cooperation with helping the team to a refusal to host the game, which proved beneficial for the football players, wrestlers and cheerleaders at Washington. His words definitely caught my attention.

Then, I saw something on my windshield as I was leaving Wash High Stadium. It should answer the previous question.

"An open letter to Hiller Football Alumni and Fans:

The Trinity Football program is under attack by members of our Board of Education, at a time our program has reached levels of success over a long period of time never achieved before in Trinity football history. Currently, our program has reached the WPIAL playoffs six consecutive years – a feat only TJ, Mars and Franklin Regional can equal in Class AAA. In addition, we have 26 active college football players, nine at the Division I level, which ranks us in the top three percent in the nation for moving players on the college football. These board members Sandra Clutter, Coleen Interval, Scott Day and Dennis McWreath have been on a two-year mission to ruin our football program.

The most recent attacks have been to cut the football supply and equipment budget to virtually zero only buying football, and not much else for the program. This despite the football program bringing in more revenue through season tickets and at the gate then all other Trinity Area sports put together. Furthermore, cutting two of our top football coaching assistants, Dr. Chad Daloia (Class of 1991) and Mr. Craig Uram (2001), both are alumni, who own homes in the district, and have been great assistant coaches to our program.

In closing, big thanks to the Wash High Prexie Alumni and fans, as this night is an example of the Washington School District working together for a great event. Additional thanks to the Chartiers-Houston School District for allowing our team to practice at your facilities. Our Trinity Area School District would not even allow our team to practice or use any of our facilities. How embarrassing and sad for our alumni and fans. Please join our football web site and our facebook page Coach Ed Dalton's Hiller Football Nation, or follow Coach Dalton on twitter @edalton2, so we can keep you up to date and have your support in this embarrassing and malicious campaign of destruction of our program at Trinity."


Anonymous said...


There are 2 sides to every story. Multiple posters on this blog as well as this open letter have presented their side over the last couple of years. I am very interested to hear the side of the school board/district. I would like to hear what reasons they have for doing what they have done. Also, why havent the folks that vote within the Trinity School District exercised their voting rights to send a message to the district that they are unhappy with the direction the school board is providing. I dont live in the Trinity area, so as an outsider this story really intrigues me.

Anonymous said...

This is happening more and more, especially in this area. A couple of years ago, at a local school, the district wouldn't allow the football team to stay in the elementary school gym for a week long camp, so the entire football team and coaches slept outside their field house in tents. What a way to support your team!

Anonymous said...

Re: Wow
In the recent primary the voters did exercise their rights to send a message. Four board members did tell their side of the story by taking out a full page add which featured the school logo (lawsuit ?) and inaccurate info on athletic dept. expenditures as well as a swipe at ex-super Turnbaugh. The board has been asked for a reason the AD was not renewed and never gave an answer.

Anonymous said...

From: James Varner ;
To: ;
Subject: Trinity VS Wash High Alumni football game
Sent: Mon, May 16, 2011 4:39:47 PM

Hello Mrs. Clutter,
I understand that recently a fellow alum. football player (Ben Bell) for Trinity’s team had contacted you in reference to information about assistance with this game. Furthermore, I understand that you had said that it was the first time that you had heard of this event and to contact you if there is anything that you can do to help. That was great news for me to hear as we do in fact know of a few things that we would appreciate your help/assistance with. This event usually sees the school reaching out to the alum team to help out with preparation, offer the football field as a venue, etc.. In return the school shares in the full admission fee collection with (Wash High) the other school. However, I spoke with Athletic Director Bobby Jones who stated that Trinity Field is not an option and the event as a whole seems to not be of interest to the school. I noticed a CC of our email exchange had also gone to Mr. Kasunich. I am willing
to accept that I may misunderstand this concept, but I was unaware that only a board member or two are needed to make a choice on a topic that is brought up involving the school district and events? I would like to make a final push upon your statement to let you know if there is anything that you can do. We would like organization of a band (which in all honestly would give the band real time practice before the real football season starts) for this game and would also appreciate the use of Trinity Football uniforms. All schools in the area support the alumni teams since the school itself will benefit financially. I truly hope that you can help us so that we and also the school can benefit. Otherwise, we appreciate your time and will look to make all monies go to Wounded Warriors Foundation. This is not a small, one time thing. It will happen year in and year out and become a tradition. Though Trinity has expressed that we are a homeless team basically
in terms of venue (even if we were granted home field advantage) . We our extending our hand with one last attempt for the very school in which we were educated and paid taxes to assist us and also benefit themselves in doing so as this game approaches. This game is set for July 8th, your assistance and expedience will be greatly appreciated.

Best regards,

James Varner

Alumni Game Timeline
March 20th-Jim Varner emails Bobby Jones and requests a meeting with him concerning the Alumni Game
March 20th-Bobby Jones replies that he will look into the rules but would be happy to discuss it with him.
March 20th- Varner responds and looks forward to discussing the event when he flies back from Ft. Lauderdale toward the end of April.
Early April-Varner contacts Athletic Director Bobby Jones who states that Trinity Field is not an option and the event as a whole seems to not be of interest to the school. A CC of this email exchange had also gone to Mr. Kasunich.
April 24th- Big Meeting with both Wash High and Trinity to determine home field.
April 26th-Ben Bell emails Sandy Clutter asking why their proposal was rejected. He attaches his draft letter and requests a response.
April 29th-Sandy Clutter replies to Ben Bells email and states that “Iwill let you know ASAP.”
May 16th- Jim Varner emails Sandy Clutter asking for assistance and support of the game.

Anonymous said...

Everyone take note that as Jim did anyone corresponding with the school board should keep records. Just because the board doesn't want to be involved doesn't mean we don't. To Jim and our alumni, I'm sorry we let you down.

R. Keith Taylor said...

That should be on the new TVL photo^.

mike_kovak said...

Looks good to me. Plus, I believe that's an O-R photo.

Anonymous said...

Re: R. Keith Taylor
That's Ringgold and who ? Who has gold helmets ?