A record number of replies for the month of August: on ‘Coaches Under Fire’, Gene Bennett, Seth Lonsway…and competitive balance.  Read and enjoy!

On the topic from July 29th, “Coaches Under Fire”, there was no middle ground from those who took the time to air these opinions:

“Excellent topic, and I’m so glad you wrote about it. It’s disheartening to know that the men and women who coach with toughness and a commitment to winning have to live on that firing line.” … Wm. VanHoose

“In my 83 years I’ve never known a community or school district that didn’t have at least one person with the same skeletons as those they judge. Something to think about.” … Joe B. (Sarasota, Fla.)

“Your column was sent to me by a relative in Ohio. It reminded me of a Georgia high school basketball coach that was fired three years ago because he refused to have his team shake hands with the opponent after a hard, and very physical basketball game that he won. Tempers were high and he feared that punches would be thrown.  So he told his players to go to the locker room for to cool off, while telling the opposing coach if he would like to do the same they could meet in 30 minutes to shake hands. This angered some people in the community who wanted a public display  following the game as a symbol of the district’s commitment to sportsmanship. He was let go the following week for not making sportsmanship a higher priority.” … Alec Ramsey (Rome, Georgia)

mark_knupp_284x150“You made the point. What’s the incentive to coach when you’re judged on every word, every decision, and every action? Better to be appreciated for spending your time making a fair wage.” … Bryce (Westerville)

“Of course you had to write about this again, because it’s so important that you drive the point that winning coaches are as important as preservation of the woolly mammoth. Never mind if their behavior is offensive and boorish – if they destroy as many young egos as they build. I’m sure you’ll have plenty of company in the Neanderthal Hall of Fame.” … Syl Mendenhall

“If we’ve learned anything from the past it’s a better way of communicating, teaching, and how to be a better example to young people. Coaches and teachers, of all people, should be held to a highest level of accountability for these things.” … Linda Johansen

“John Wooden was the example, period.” … Jackie Bond

(Ed Note: Wooden also refused to let his players drink water during practice because it wasted time. He insisted, rather, that they take salt tablets to reduce cramping. Now how would that fly today?  It’s also good to note that he had strong assistants alike Gary Cunningham and Denny Crum – henchmen – to assist with getting his points across…and he got his points across.)

Bennett_inset0516There were several who wrote in support of Hal McCoy’s memories of long-time Reds scout Gene Bennett, who died two weeks ago in Wheelersburg, Ohio:

“Wonderful story, Hal, and thank you for sharing your relationship with Mr. Bennett. I cried, too, when you wrote about seeing him in the wheelchair for the final time.” … Richard Mote

“Sonny, I wanted to tell you how much your and Hal McCoy’s meant to me as a long-time Reds fan. I’ve always been aware of Mr. Bennett’s imprint on the Reds’ success and those articles really humanized the man and his community. Great job.” … David Waller

(Ed. Note: I’ll speak for Hal when I say that I seriously doubt there’s a more humble, or noble, man in baseball than Gene Bennett. For a man with so much influence he really kept it out of sight.)

“You and Hal did great work on the Gene Bennett pieces featured on your site. I never met Gene personally. But being from the community I agree with Hall…I never heard anyone say anything less than good things about him.” … Ryan Bloomfield (Gallipolis)

Seth Lonsway

Seth Lonsway

On our August 19th story about Ohio State freshman Seth Lonsway, we received this comment from central Ohio:

“Obviously this young man has a great talent for baseball, but I’m more impressed with his priority for education and the patience to let life come to him in due time. Good for him, and good for the Buckeyes.” … Eric Starner

We’ve found over the years that anything, pro or con, written about competitive balance is going to attract readership and opinion. Here’s a sample from last Monday’s column, “Why Competitive Balance Doesn’t Serve Everyone”:

“This was one of the best reads yet on Press Pros on a point I’ve never considered. Competitive balance does not work in the case of a Marion Local because there aren’t enough Marion Locals, and the bigger schools that could, won’t play them.” … Mitchell Elliott

“The impressive thing about Marion is they’ve beaten CJ (Division III), they’ve beaten Youngstown St. Ursuline, they’ve beaten Mogadore, and Cuyahoga Heights. They’ve beaten a representative sampling of everything Ohio has to offer in Divisions IV through VII. Great article.” … Terry Dye

“If Marion Local can do what they done for this long with 110 boys, it makes you wonder what’s going on with West Carrollton and Greenville.” … David Popp