Sports Columns

Gearing up as NASCAR season looms

It’s hard to believe that the Daytona 500 is less than a month away. It seems like just yesterday Joey Logano was celebrating his unlikely Homestead victory and Monster Energy Cup Championship. Now in the heart of winter, it’s kind of nice to think about the teams’ return to Florida for ...

Niebauer’s move to CC as coach was inevitable

Matt Niebauer was with his brother, Todd, as an assistant coach at Penn Cambria so long he lost track of how long he was there. Through most of Todd’s 16 previous years as head coach, Matt was there in dual meets, regular season tournaments and postseason tournaments. But in the spring, ...

Ridge girls’ win one of several surprises so far

A recent basketball score resulted in a couple of calls to the office asking if the Mirror may have had the score reversed when the Chestnut Ridge girls defeated Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic, 52-51, on Jan. 9. The score was correct and is just one of many surprises so far this basketball season ...

Transfers big part of changing times in college FB

One of my favorite shows growing up was the spectacular “Quantum Leap.” In fact, give me pretty much any TV show or movie that centers on alternate reality, and I’m instantly hooked. We get used to the world we live in and the way things are, so it’s cool to see how the world could be ...

Steelers’ issues much deeper than they say

PITTSBURGH — Art Rooney II spent a good part of last week evading questions about the suddenly tumultuous Steelers. He’s his father’s son, so he comes by that skill naturally. It was further sharpened when he studied law and learned that expansive candor is rarely a conduit to anything ...

Dissecting NFL final four voices

Four teams take the field for two NFL conference championship games this afternoon, but the best team working might be in the broadcast booth — specifically the Fox Sports booth. Play-by-play man Joe Buck and analyst Troy Aikman have put together their busiest and best season. This ...

Mehno: Retiring Blass has seen it all with Pirates

PITTSBURGH — Steve Blass didn’t get to end his pitching career on his own terms. He will get that privilege in closing out his broadcasting career, though. Blass announced Tuesday morning that his 34th season in the Pirates’ booth will be his last. He will continue to be associated ...

Mental toughness key in sports

Mental toughness is a key to success. A combination of will power, focus, persistence and strength, it’s often the difference between good and great, winning and losing. Just ask an NFL place kicker. The Bears’ Cody Parkey was dubbed the most hated man in Chicago last week when he ...

PSU wrestlers should take majority of blame for lackluster effort

I’m so accustomed to seeing the Penn State wrestling team blow away opponents that it feels weird when the Nittany Lions don’t perform up to par. It was like that on Sunday when the top-ranked Lions didn’t blow away Wisconsin at Rec Hall. In fact, the Badgers held a 13-9 lead going into ...

Mehno: Big Ben’s radio show full of static

PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisberger’s weekly radio show is on an FM station, but it’s still generating static. Roethlisberger makes himself available for an exclusive interview on KDKA-FM (93.7 The Fan) every Tuesday during the regular season. The session lasts about 15 or 20 ...

Hollidaysburg’s Dellinger gets taste of Olympic rugby

Over Christmas break, Gus Dellinger, a Hollidaysburg Area High School football standout, had a chance to tour the facilities of the U.S. Olympic Center in Chula Vista, Calif. His tour was brief and was not for enjoyment; he was there to train and play with the USA Rugby High School All ...

Rudel: Baron savors SFU days, coaching ride

TYRONE — Jim Baron made a trip back in time over the weekend. Some 32 years ago, Baron arrived at Saint Francis to coach the men’s basketball team. One of his friends then was Harry Sickler, longtime Tyrone pillar and passionate Notre Dame alumnus who got to know Baron when he was on ...

Mehno: Brown story not going away soon

PITTSBURGH — Are you sick of the whole Antonio Brown story? Have you OD’d on AB? Too bad, because it doesn’t look like it’s going to go away any time soon. The new NFL “year” doesn’t start for another nine weeks, so it’s not possible to trade him. Since a trade is still ...

Bishop Carroll girls program needs permanent leader

After playing just twice in the past 16 days, the Bishop Carroll Catholic girls basketball team begins a stretch of three games in five days tonight when it travels to Richland. A game against the Lady Rams should be a welcome distraction in a season that’s been full of unwelcome ...

At crunch time, Lions must be a lot better

Boy, talk about a smorgasbord of potential choices. Rather than an individual position group (receivers, special teams, offensive line), I’m going with the Nittany Lions’ consistent inability to function in the clutch. Body of work, the defense performed admirably since its opening-game ...

Wide receiver struggles made Lions vulnerable

The receivers spoiled the season for Penn State. It’s easy to just say, “they dropped a lot of passes,” which obviously hurt the team. But it was so much more than that. Connect the dots with me here. The Nittany Lion offense was sensational the past two years because it could ...

Time to pull the plug on Brown

PITTSBURGH — It has now been one week since our lives were irretrievably changed by the Antonio Brown saga. The Steelers have done nothing about it since then, and that’s exactly what they should have done. Take some time, weigh the options, let things settle a bit. Let logic replace ...

Near-comeback caps McSorley’s career

ORLANDO, Fla. — Trace McSorley’s career ended like it began — in a Florida bowl game, against an SEC opponent, attempting to rally the Nittany Lions from a three-score deficit. In the end, as Penn State lost to Georgia 24-17 three years ago in the TaxSlayer Bowl, the Lions could not ...

Brown issue is Steelers’ top priority

PITTSBURGH — Is this any way to run a football team? That’s the question Steelers owner Art Rooney II must confront as he holds meetings to determine why the Steelers aren’t in the playoffs and what they must do to correct that situation. Since the season ended on Sunday, it has come ...

Barbour extension a good thing

ORLANDO, Fla. — It’s been a relatively quiet lead-up to today’s Citrus Bowl, so it was a perfect time for Penn State to spring some off-the-field news. Sandy Barbour, PSU’s athletic director for the past five years, confirmed Monday morning that she will soon sign a new contract, ...