Another day, another Mercer County cage coaching casualty.
On Thursday, Tom Burns was notified his position as Kennedy Catholic High girls’ basketball coach was being opened to new applicants.
“I don’t want to say a whole lot,” Burns began. “You walk in(to a meeting), and thirty seconds later, you’re out.
“ ... ‘Off-court drama,’ that’s the reasoning,” related Burns via a Thursday afternoon telephone conversation.
“We decided to open the position. We decided to move in a different direction and open the position,” said Kennedy Catholic athletic director Jim Piccirilli.
Burns recently concluded his 6th campaign at Kennedy with a 24-3 ledger. He guided the Lady Golden Eagles to their 4th District 10 Class A title during his tenure, and this year completed a 3-peat. KC copped PIAA playoff wins over North Catholic and Port Allegany before being ousted by eventual state runner-up Vincentian Academy in the state quarterfinals.
After a season-opening setback at D-10 Class AAA titlist Franklin, Kennedy captured 15 consecutive conquests, lost to Vincentian in the postponed finale of Penn State-Beaver’s holiday tourney, then reeled off 9 more victories before being vanquished by Vincentian (68-51) for the 2nd straight season.
“I can’t understand it,” admitted Burns. “Last year there was a parent issue — a fabricated parent’s issue that, obviously, people couldn’t let go. I’d heard rumors all year long that this was going to be my last year, but didn’t put a lot of weight into them.
“It’s always been about the kids, to me,” Burns continued. “Whether or not I’m coaching them, it doesn’t matter; what matters to me is that the kids are okay.”
Burns’ daughter, Rachel, was one of this season’s seniors and she surpassed the career 1,000-point plateau, as did Akron University-bound Alex Ricketts. Earlier this week Ricketts was selected 1st Team All-State by Pennsylvania sports writers.
“I think it’s a well-deserved award for her,” Burns said regarding Ricketts. “She’s worked hard, harder than most kids in the area, to achieve that. I think her four-year tenure for me was ... in my opinion (statewide sports writers) got it right this year, making her First Team. She’s been an outstanding player for me and Kennedy Catholic High for the past four years, and she’ll go on and be a great player at Akron.”
Burns recently had been selected by Youngstown-area’s MyValleySports.com as its coach of the year, so he admitted Thursday’s revelation,
“ ... is disheartening. There’s a lot of upset parents that don’t understand. I don’t think anybody ever will.
“It’s a political move, but it’s happening everywhere,” he added.
Recently, 10-year Hickory High boys head coach Nick Cannone was notified his position was being opened after 7 straight winning seasons.
A telephone call to Father Marc Stockton, president of the Shenango Valley Catholic School System, was not returned. But Piccirilli, speaking on behalf of the school’s administration, said, “Any time (a school) opens a position, everybody’s welcome to re-apply.”
“ ... It’s been a good time, but I’m most upset for my little Hannah,” Burns said regarding his youngest daughter, a 14-year-old 8th-grader.
“ ... That’s my old school,’ Burns said regarding Kennedy Catholic, “but I guess you just roll with the times ...”
Another day, another Mercer County cage coaching casualty.
Hickory track coaches near finish line
While the Shenango Valley lionizes legendary gridiron greats and hardwood heroes, the sport of track & field at Hickory High has resonated its relevance throughout District 10 and commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
For the better part of the last 3 decades that was due, to a great extent, to the efforts of Barb Dzuricsko and Mark Slezak.
More than 200 dual-meet victories combined between the girls’ and boys’ programs, 9 district championships (7 girls, 2 boys), 2 statewide runners-up berths and another pair of 3rd-place finishes, culminating in the Lady Hornets’ 2012 PIAA Class AA championship.
Their collective resumé would be envied by any coach, regardless of sport. Which makes this recent revelation regrettable: Dzuricsko and Slezak simultaneously will step down at this season’s conclusion.
SPORTVIEW: Cavaliers are example of how an owner impacts a team
WHEN LEBRON James vacated Cleveland for South Beach a few years ago, angry Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert declared that the Cavaliers would win an NBA championship before James and the Miami Heat.
How’s that working out, Dan?
Miami is seeking a third straight title this postseason while the Cavaliers are headed for the golf courses. Pretty sad.
Roundup: Trojans, Hounds win team titles at WM Invitational
Wilmington High girls and Greenville boys dominated the annual Big Red Track & Field Invitational Thursday afternoon in West Middlesex.
A half-dozen girls’ and 7 boys’ teams competed.
Wilmington overwhelmed the female field, as the Lady Greyhounds garnered almost twice as many points as runner-up Lakeview (236-5 to 133.5).
Roundup: WM diamondmen edge Reynolds, 6-4
ä West Middlesex 6, Reynolds 4 — At Transfer, the Big Reds snapped a 4-all tie by plating a run in the 4th inning and another in the 7th in a 2-run win over the Raiders.
Mark Colella earned the mound win in a relief appearance for WM. No pitching stats were submitted.
Roundup: Hickory, Wilmington softball teams win
Paced by Chelsea Marriott’s muscle, Hickory High hammered 4 home runs Saturday afternoon en route to a 19-1 rout of Sharon.
At Wengler, Marriott mauled 2- and 3-run round-trippers to right-center and straightaway center field, respectively. Her Lady Hornets’ teammates Hannah Gallagher and Morgan McBride mustered 3-run bombs, also.
Fired coach in Mankato unjustly accused of visiting porn sites
Minnesota State University-Mankato officials wrongly accused former football coach Todd Hoffner of viewing pornography sites on his work computer before firing him last May, a state arbitrator has disclosed.
Roundup: Hickory track coaches to step down following season
Hickory High track & field co-head coaches Barb Dzuricsko and Mark Slezak announced they will step down at the season’s conclusion.
Dzuricsko and Slezak, who led the Lady Hornets to the 2012 PIAA Class AA crown, jointly made the announcement via e-mail late Wednesday.
Roundup: Devil diamondmen roll past Sharon
An old-school baseball bromide states that, early in any season, pitching is always ahead of hitting. However Sharpsville shunned that axiom Wednesday afternoon.
The Blue Devils banged 15 hits, and Sharpsville short-circuited Sharon, 16-4, in 5 innings.
Roundup: Hounds, Hornets notch track sweeps
ä Wilmington 116, Reynolds 44 — At New Wilmington, the host Lady Hounds were led by Rikki Brumbaugh (4x8, 4x4 relay legs, 400- and 800-meter runs); Hannah Drake (long, triple jumps, 4x4 relay); Allison Baldwin (4x8 and 4x4 relay legs); Lexi Brumbaugh (1600-, 3200-meter runs, distance-relay leg), and Tessa Sikora (high jump, 200-meter dash, sprint-relay anchor).
SPORTVIEW: Pirates, Indians fans looking for big things this year
LIFE IS GOOD if you are a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates or Cleveland Indians. At least for now!
Heading into Saturday, both teams were 3-1 and looking pretty sharp. Since both made the playoffs last year, there are high expectations for both clubs. But in baseball, every year is a new season and there are no guarantees.
Still, it’s always nice when your favorite teams get off to a good start. In too many seasons, Pittsburgh and Cleveland fans were only talking about the NFL draft because hopes were bleak for their baseball teams.
Hickory's Arbanas 1st team All-State; KC's Hood 3rd team
ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) — Teams from the WPIAL won three of the four PIAA girls basketball championships this year, and southwestern Pennsylvania is turning out to be just as dominant when it comes to postseason honors.
Pittsburgh-area programs produced seven of the eight major award winners on this season’s Sports Writers Pennsylvania High School Girls Basketball All-State Team, including all four players of the year.
WM's Staunch named 2nd team All-State
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Finishing on the winning side in a championship game — or coming mighty, mighty close — scored plenty of points with the panel that selected Pennsylvania’s all-state boys’ basketball team.
Especially when it came time to choose those — whether players or coaches — who claimed the top individual awards.
Roundup: Hickory, Mercer, Reynolds, WM baseball teams earn wins
ä Hickory 12, Sharpsville 10 — At the McCullough Run Complex in South Pymatuning Twp., the visiting Hornets improved to 4-0 with the win.
Brady Leunis went 2-for-3 for Hickory with a double and 3 RBI, Tommy Cannon belted a 2-run homer, Noah Orndorff was 2-for-4, Nate Mastrian ripped an RBI-double, Ethan Davis was 2-for-4 with a double and a run driven in and Jake Andrzjewski doubled.
Roundup: WM, Wilmington, Mercer softball teams win
ä West Middlesex 11, Grove City 1 (5 inn.) — At the Richard J. Kritz Softball Complex in West Middlesex, Jordyn Allen fired a complete-game 2-hitter with 8 strikeouts and no walks as the Ms. Reds (1-1) rebounded from a tough loss to Lakeview on Monday.
Offensively, Allen doubled and ripped 2 singles for WM, Abby McAdams and Aly Andrusky doubled and singled, Macy Siefert collected 4 singles and Hannah Havens, Megan Hazlett and Oivia Slater added 2 singles each.
Hickory girls, Farrell boys win Guerino titles
The Hickory girls and Farrell boys captured championships on Saturday night at the 17th annual Buddy Guerino Underclassmen Basketball Tournament at Sharpsville High School.
The Hickory girls beat Kennedy Catholic, 41-29, for the crown while the Farrell boys topped Mercer, 76-35, for the title.
In the consolation games, Sharpsville defeated Sharon, 35-15, in girls hoops while the Sharon boys beat Hickory, 57-33.
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