By Mike Dyer
Athletic Admins express what they’re thankful for; Big Ten title game forcing state finals hand
For those who not only participate but help organize Ohio High School Athletic Association games and events, Thursday should be a time to exhale.
A short breath if you were – albeit a short one this Thanksgiving Day.
And for athletic directors and media types who often share the most unusual working schedules and hours, there is often a mutual understanding that any significant vacation time usually only occurs in July.
So even though there are state semifinal football games this weekend, talks of petitions and votes and the football playoff system among countless other message board topics to fill one’s plate until June, it might not be a bad idea to pause and reflect on what we’re thankful for in high school sports this time of the year.
As a former Kings Mills Kings athletic director and now commissioner of the Greater Catholic League Coed Division, Matt Koenig says he has gained a solid perspective on what role athletic directors represent to the area.
“The job as an athletic director is the most under-appreciated position in any school,” Koenig said. “…These men and women spend a lot of time behind the scenes and none of them do it for themselves.”
Cincinnati La Salle football coach Nate Moore – who just completed his first season at the Greater Catholic League South division program – was thankful for an opportunity, one in which was heavily sought after this past spring.
“I feel blessed to be a part of the coaching profession and to be back in Cincinnati where we play the best football in the country,” Moore said.
Maybe Cincinnati Colerain athletic director Dan Bolden summed up it best when he said he’s thankful for the community, parents, athletes and coaches who strive to do their best throughout the calendar year.
OHSAA commissioner Dr. Dan Ross says high school sports have a greater purpose than what is completed in the final score. He is thankful to live in Ohio and witness the opportunity it provides.
“High School sports bring individuals, teams, schools and communities together in a very positive fashion,” Dr. Ross said. “Student-athletes, through their participation in activities like sports, have the opportunity to learn many life lessons that will assist in their growth as citizens of their community.”
Yes, there is plenty of room for debate on message boards and instant analysis on Twitter. There are pros and cons of an official or referee or a coach’s decision in a particular game.
There is also plenty of debate on how schools should be organized for postseason purposes.
But, for one day, be thankful for what high school sports represents and has represented to those who competed in prior years in our great state of Ohio.
FOOTBALL: Don’t be surprised if the Division I state final gets moved to the 3 p.m. time slot Dec. 7 in Stark County. The Big Ten title game is at 8 p.m. Saturday with Ohio State playing Michigan State. Safe money says the OHSAA moves the D-I final to the afternoon though times won’t be announced until this Sunday.
-Six coaching vacancies are present in the Greater Cincinnati area at the start of the week. The latest officially occurred Monday when Gary Croley stepped down from Princeton but will remain athletic director. There are also openings at Lockland, Middletown, Purcell Marian, Aiken and Withrow.