I can't begin to express my disappointment with the process utilized in the hiring of Rob Krimmel as the new St. Francis men's basketball coach.
I have been a very avid supporter of all St. Francis programs, having served as president of the Stokes Club for several years and as a member of the board of trustees.
During my tenure, we hired athletic directors and coaches by always utilizing search committees and national searches. In my recollection, we always gave existing SFU candidates an opportunity to be interviewed, and in some cases ADs and coaches were hired by the university based on the committee's recommendations.
The recent hiring has brought nothing but adverse publicity for the school and its hiring policies.
The basketball program has sunk to a very low status, and this move, in my opinion, will only cause further deterioration to an already struggling program and a further lack of attendance at the games.
Young Krimmel is, I'm sure, an excellent person and a good representative for SFU, but his hiring raises many questions about the process and may not bring the desired success.
In defense of Heights athletics
After reading the letter written by Tom Bearer Jr. last week, I feel I have to give people of the area the real facts about athletics at Cambria Heights.
Also, in the process, hopefully Bearer will let the people in charge of Cambria Heights School District do their job, and he will stop spreading innuendo and gossip.
The secretary, who is supposedly doing all of the athletic work, is also a guidance department secretary, answers the phone, handles all finances for all clubs, and lastly, is the athletic secretary. She is the busiest person in our front office doing work for other departments.
The part of the day she spends the least amount of time on? Athletics.
Secondly, Bearer failed to mention a few facts when he mentioned that "our kids" have to pay $35 an hour to use the facilities. No student who is involved in Cambria Heights athletics from seventh grade and up is charged to use facilities at Cambria Heights.
Contrary to what Bearer and others think, elementary programs are not recognized as part of the PIAA. They, along with baton groups, church groups, dance clubs are considered outside groups, thus the fee. Maybe since Bearer is so concerned about this fee, he can stand at all athletic events and take up a collection for these groups.
I'm sure the board would gladly accept his donation.
Also, Bearer forgot to mention in his letter that the football fieldhouse was renovated for free by prisoners who were paid through a grant that was obtained by our current AD. In recent years, new lights were installed at the high school gym, the baseball and softball fields were repaired, and the track was resurfaced.
The baseball field received a new scoreboard, which was donated through the efforts of our AD. The weight room was refurbished with new equipment, which was furnished through a grant that was secured by our AD.
I could go on, but I think I've made my point.
Finally, Bearer forgot to mention in his letter that our AD took a pay cut to help with the belt tightening that is going on in every school district in the state. I wonder if Bearer is aware that the entire teaching staff at Cambria Heights took a pay freeze last year to help with the budget. Every department at Cambria Heights, including athletics, cut their budget.
So Bearer needs to answer two questions: Is he concerned about education and the entire Cambria Heights School district or does he have a personal vendetta against our athletic director and certain coaches?
(The writer is a former coach and Cambria Heights staff member.)
Pens' defense needs bolstered
I agree strongly with Ray Shero in that Dan Bylsma being behind the bench isn't the problem that put an end to the Pittsburgh Penguins' run for the Stanley Cup only six short games into playoffs.
However, I do feel that the Pens' organization has many things that need to be changed.
Starting with the netminders, I think that Marc-Andre Fleury has an extremely safe job as the Penguins' No. 1 goalie. However, I think that Brent Johnson's job as the backup goalie will be coming to a halt this offseason. He has been porous at best and when he was called upon to relieve Fleury in the playoffs, he was horrendous.
Furthermore, I think that the only defensemen that will be staying in Pittsburgh are Letang, Orpik and Engelland. I think that the other four will be wearing different jerseys due to their sloppy play when the puck drops next October.
As for the forwards, I think that the only job that is in danger is Arron Asham's. I don't think that there is much of a place in today's NHL for a tough guy who can't do anything but fight. They also need to have more offensive depth on their roster, and his large number of penalty minutes makes him a liability to an otherwise very talented and disciplined team.
Altoona needs more spirit
My parents often tell me about when they were in high school, the cool thing to do was to attend sporting events and make student sections.
Today, it is uncommon in the Altoona School District for fellow students to come support the athletes. For example, this past year at the Altoona football games, the student section consisted of very few students.
As an athlete, it always gives me the extra nudge to do well in a game when there is a crowd full of classmates to cheer on the team. Athletes put heart, sweat, tears and hard work into the sport they play. The student body should give back to the athletes who spend their time perfecting their game by coming to support them instead of making fun of the team's record.
The students should be boosting up athletes' confidence to win the next game. It is not only the non-athletes, but other athletes and even teachers that make comments to bring down the teams.
No matter what the sport, there is long history of pride, honor and tradition in the Altoona School District. Sure, some seasons aren't the greatest, but the life lessons athletes learn through their experiences in practice and games have an effect that some people will never understand.
School spirit in the Altoona School District needs to be rebuilt.
Eager for O'Brien Era to begin
I, like about 60,000 Penn State fans at the Blue-White Game last month, was eager to see Bill O'Brien and the new-look Penn State football program.
Well, Coach O'Brien unveiled about 10 percent of the look alike New England Patriots' offense - just enough to stir our minds.
When I got there and joined my friends in the Alumni Blue Band section, it felt like it was a movie set with coaches glued to headsets, others running around with clipboards, and those who stuck their nose into the huddle to make sure the quarterback was calling the right play.
But then I realized this was serious business as points started to build up on the scoreboard for both the White and Blue teams. Players on the offense and defense were really after each other to impress the coaches, and they seemed to enjoy what they were doing.
Did you see Paul Jones throw a pass off his back foot into the end zone for a Blue touchdown, and then see him swat Coach O'Brien's butt and say that was a good play?
In closing, we all need to come to grips and stop comparing the philosophies and play calling of Coach O'Brien versus Coach Paterno. These coaches are from two very different eras. The legendary and winningest Division l football coach is no longer with us and is in a better world. It is the O'Brien Era, and let's move on. It is time for Coach O'Brien and his new staff to set a new course for this program. I can't wait for this season to begin.
Franco's act wearing thin
I, for one, have tired of Franco Harris' vendetta against the PSU Board of Trustees and now the NCAA and over his constant battle to clear the tarnished legacy of Joe Paterno.
"I wish I had done more." Those six words uttered by JoePa, before his passing, is critical for all those searching for the truth. No one is questioning Joe's excellent football career or how clean the program was run.
Joe's failure to make the correct moral decision in the most important moment of his life just reminds us we are all flawed as human beings.
If Mike McQueary had just slugged Jerry Sandusky in the shower in 2001, taken that 10-year-old boy to safety and called the police, we wouldn't be having these discussions. Of course, he didn't, and then Paterno, Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz grossly failed in their judgment.
In my opinion, Franco is so far left of center in his thinking, the truth is unreachable for him.
Franco and the entire Paterno family is in a state of denial. They should be more concerned with seeking forgiveness from the victims that Sandusky viciously attacked, rather than trying to protect JoePa's legacy.
As far as Franco's boorish behavior is concerned, he should stop, because it is starting to tarnish his own legacy.