The Herald, Sharon, Pa.


February 11, 2013

SCHOLASTIC NOTEBOOK: Cannone reflects on 400 wins; will Wildman be back?

OPINION — A PAIR of Shenango Valley kids who have grown into venerable veteran coaches in different sports. One — having recently reached a milestone — is still making his mark, with no end in sight; the other, who resigned at the top of his game more than a decade ago, has been considering re-emerging from retirement.

Recently, Hickory High boys basketball head coach Nick Cannone copped his 400th career coaching win.

The Farrell native is in his 4th decade on the bench, having coached at his alma mater, as well as West Middlesex and Wilmington prior to making Hermitage his home. His Hornets are 17-3 and recently annexed the District 10 Region 5-AAA crown.

No sooner had his Hornets harvested their title by forging a win over Franklin, then Cannone was cruising toward Warren for a scouting trip

But regarding No. 400, Cannone contemplated by commenting,

“I really wasn’t paying attention to it. I’ve been at a lot of good places, I’ve met a lot of good people, had a lot of good players, and a lot of good assistant coaches (at West Middlesex, Cannone coached Rick Ladjevich, who has become Cannone’s lead assistant at Hickory), and that’s what makes it special. All of those places, my stops, were part of (400 wins). And from the administrators, to the parents, to the faculties at all those stops, it’s been neat to get all them involved.”

Four decades into his scholastic coaching career, however, Cannone is not considering calling it a day any time soon.

“I like what I do, I like what I do. And I’ve got a fourth-grader, now, so, who knows?”

ä For months, stories have been swirling about Sharon High’s head football coaching position. Candidates’ names have been bandied about, some factual, some rumored.

One name that has surfaced is Jim Wildman, the former Tigers’ taskmaster, who is on the school board’s short list of finalists. A Wildman protegé, Bobby Fromm, has skippered Sharon during the past 9 seasons and posted a composite 55-47 ledger. Fromm forged Sharon to the 2010 D-10 Class AA title, but the Tigers tumbled to 2-8 and 1-9 marks the past 2 years.

Almost exactly 11 years ago to the day the then-54-year-old Wildman announced his retirement following a 25-year tenure in which he posted a then Mercer County-record 208 wins (76 losses, 6 ties). His Sharon squads won 13 league, 8 District 10 and 2 PIAA western regional championships. Arguably his two best Bengals’ teams bowed to Berwick back-to-back in Class AAA state championship games.

While Wildman was not approached by The Herald  thus far for a comment, he received a recent endorsement from one of the Sharon program’s finest products — Marlin Jackson.

Prior to the recent 66th anniversary Mercer County Hall of Fame banquet, in which he served as a guest speaker, Jackson said of Wildman, “I’m fully 110 percent behind Coach Wildman. He’s been a great coach, a great leader in the community. Obviously, he was a winning coach, which people will hang their hat on. But, really, he was a disciplinarian and a leader. And I think that’s really what the kids need, they need some guidance, off the field, as well.”

A former University of Michigan All-American and standout for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts before his career was short-circuited by injury, Jackson said he and Wildman had “ ... been sitting down and talking about the possibilities. And what I do with my non-profit (Fight for Life foundation), implementing those things within the framework and structure of a footbal program, with the care and development and mentoring programs, keeping the kids engaged as much as possible, because too much time on their hands is causing problems in this community here, with a lot of the youth.

“I feel he brings a lot more than just X’s and O’s to the table, and that’s what’s needed in coaching — period,” Jackson continued, regarding Wildman. “If you’re not willing to step up as a coach and be more than just an X’s-and-O’s guy, then I don’t know why you’re doing it, because you’re responsible for leading the lives of young men.”

Jackson proved painfully prophetic, as only hours after his remarks a Sharon High basketball player senselessly was killed in a gun-related incident still under investigation.

“We all know, in this community here, what’s going on, and the need for that type of approach with these kids, and just with the generation nowadays, period. It’s a different generation, and they need more guidance, and you have to bring that to the table as a coach.

“And I know, that if Coach Wildman gets the job, I will definitely be a part of everything he’s doing there,” Jackson concluded.

During his retirement announcement, Wildman related an anecdote. A friend of his father Bo — a former NFL official by the name of Jim Hamer — once gave the younger Wildman some advice: ‘Jimmy, let me tell you something: You say you want to be a high school coach. Well, getting into coaching can be pretty good and it can be pretty bad. But when all is said and done, you’ll find out there are only about five people — that’s probably how many people you’ll be able to count on as your true friends.’ ”

The irony, as Wildman related on that day 11 years ago, is that Hamer — due to a workplace mishap — had only four fingers.

Which means coaches enjoy even fewer friends than they realize, or as Cannone could attest, and perhaps Wildman, also, more than they can count. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Which is why Cannone continues to coach and Wildman would welcome another opportunity.


Text Only
  • On to baseball GC coach Bell retired — sort of!

    You can take the man out of coaching, but you can’t take coaching out of the man.
    Former Grove City High football coach Jeff Bell has spent his first few months of retirement hearing the ping of a baseball ricocheting off an aluminum bat instead of clap of shoulder pads coming together.
    “My grandson Maddox (Bell) and a few of his friends play on a traveling team, so I’m helping out with that,” said Bell, who retired as the Eagles’ football coach this past winter. “They’re a good group of kids to work with and this is a lot more enjoyable. It’s a lot less stress.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: Johnny Football claims he has learned from his 'rookie mistakes'

    HERE ARE some thoughts from a guy who might have made a few “rookie mistakes” in his life, ala Johnny Manziel.
    Johnny Football admitted this past week that he made some rookie mistakes. Really?
    Usually rookie mistakes for most NFL newbies are throwing into coverage or fumbling the football because you don’t tuck it tightly to your side.

    July 27, 2014

  • NFL NOTEBOOK: Ex-Sharon star Austin hopes to spark Lions' defense

    THE TALENTED — albeit underachieving — Detroit Lions commence camp July 27 in Allen Park, Mich. as the National Football League prepares for the 2014 season.

    July 21, 2014

  • Fighting cancer Racing to fight cancer

    Former Hickory High athlete Amanda Budzowski is on the run — the run to raise money to fight cancer.
    Budzowski is part of Team in Training, an organization that has raised more than $1.4 billion for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society since forming in 1988. Her division is known as IRONTEAM and she is currently training for the 140.6-mile Ironman triathlon in Mont Tremblant, Canada, in August.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: Pirates, Indians need fast start after All-Star break

    SO FAR, so good. I’m referring to the start of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians after the All-Star break on Friday night.
    Both teams rallied to win. The Buccos beat the Colorado Joints — err, I mean Rockies — by coming from behind in the 8th inning. Since they legalized marijuana sales in that state, it gave new meaning to John Denver’s song “Rocky Mountain High.”

    July 20, 2014

  • Sky high Rutters earn spot in national motocross event

    The brother-sister racing duo of Elijah and Dannah Rutter of Mercer are set to travel to Hurricane Mills, Tenn., to compete soon in the prestigious 33rd annual Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships presented by AMSOIL at Loretta Lynn Ranch.
    Elijah, 18, and Dannah, 16, earned a ticket to the event with their performances at qualifiers and then regionals and are among the top 5 percent of riders in the U.S. Overall, 20,000 hopefuls from across the U.S. competed and there are only 1,446 qualifying spots at nationals.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sharon Football scramble Notebook: Sharon football greats meet, reunite at inaugural golf scramble

    Mid-July, with the temperature 80-plus degrees at Avalon at Buhl Country Club; however, it felt like a fall, football Friday.
    The inaugural Sharon Football Boosters 4-man golf scramble took place recently, and served as a Who’s Who in the Tigers’ triumphant tradition.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: All is right with the world - LeBron has come home!

    HAPPY DAYS are here again. The prodigal child has returned!
    The announcement that “King James” is returning to Cleveland has created a level of euphoria not seen since the Browns won the city’s last major sport championship a couple of years ago.
    What’s that? Oh, yeah — make that 50 years ago (1964).

    July 13, 2014

  • LeBron James Full text of LeBron's essay in SI

    LeBron James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday in an essay that he wrote for Sports Illustrated. The following is the full text of that essay.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Snyder, Gordon, Popatak named to All-State team

    Grove City High’s David Gordon, Sharpsville’s Greg Popatak and Lakeview’s Logan Snyder recently were named to the Pennsylvania High School Baseball Coaches Association all-state team.
    Synder was selected 1st-Team in Class A as a designated-hitter, while Gordon was honorably-mentioned in Class AAA and Popatak similarly was honored in AA. Gordon gained his laurels as a pitcher; Popatak as a 3rd baseman.

    July 10, 2014

  • Oprah lands first interview with Jerry Sandusky's adopted son, Matthew

    Matthew Sandusky, the adopted son of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, is breaking his silence for the first time since his father's 2012 conviction on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, sitting down with Oprah to tell his story.

    July 8, 2014

  • County champs Little League Tournaments

    Sharon won the District 2 Major Division (12-year-olds) Championship, while Greenville 9-10 and West Middlesex 11 teams notched tournament victories in recent action.

    Hermitage Brennan Chiropractic won the Mercer County 14-under championship recently.

    Following are game reports:

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Cook The First Tee of Sharon celebrates 15th anniversary

    Professional golf star John Cook has received many honors and awards in his illustrious career, but probably none mean as much as those similar to the one he received Monday afternoon at The First Tee of Sharon.
    During a special ceremony to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the local program, a permanent plaque was unveiled in his honor describing the contributions he has made to junior golf.

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: John Cook here Monday for First Tee; other celebs on July 11

    THE RETURN of Tiger Woods to a PGA event sparked a lot of interest this past week. The return of John Cook to Buhl Farm Golf Course Monday will do the same locally.
    Cook, a standout on the Champions Tour and outstanding TV golf analyst, will conduct a clinic at 11 a.m. Monday at the course to help celebrate the 15th anniversary of The First Tee of Sharon program.
    It is open to the public at no charge.

    June 29, 2014

  • Tri-Athletes Hickory honors Tri-Athletes

    Hickory High honored its 2013-14 tri-athletes in a recent ceremony, the latest installment in a program that began in 2003-04.
    Fifty student-athletes (grades 9-12) were cited for having competed in at least one sport in the fall, winter and spring while maintaining a minimum B (85 percent) grade-point-average during the first three 9-week grading periods of the  academic year.

    June 22, 2014 1 Photo

Top 25 (AP Poll)
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter