Archive for May, 2010

When Does The Garage Sale Start?

They are usually advertised weeks ahead of time, held in the early Summer months, and involve two parties, a buyer and a seller.  I can only be talking about a garage sale Major League Baseball team selling its star players by the deadline to insure a “profit” while rebuilding.  Some of this year’s advertised garage sales are already listed.

The Houston Astros will peddle Roy Oswalt (above) to either the New York Mets or Chicago Cubs by the end of June.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, Oswalt doesn’t get any run support in Houston, but neither does John Santana as a Met.  Same song, different band.  The Astros may also peddle Lance Berkman and possibly, red-hot Hunter Pence.

Pittsburgh is an annual stop on the garage sale circuit.  Unfortunately, all of the stuff in the shed is pretty much useless to families with bigger gardens.  I don’t see a Pirate going anywhere unless Paul Maholm stays hot.  They have no big salaries to dump right now and what a perfect way to lure the fans into thinking they are seriously rebuilding for next season instead of trying to make money.

Cleveland made out the last few years by selling.  They have some players that might be on the move.  Grady Sizemore, hurt and all, is a prime target to go.  Really, Cleveland has nothing to play for so anyone on the field has a “For Sale” sign on their back right now.  The only Indian who should be safe is Carlos Santana (above) who is absolutely destroying the minor leagues as the Indians future catcher.

This may come as a surprise to some, but I see the Seattle Mariners playing yard sale games this year.  The plan was to bring Cliff Lee in, use a decent offense and a solid staff to win the division.  Lee only has three starts and guys Like Rowland-Smith couldn’t hold things up in his abscence.  Cliff Lee will be headed South to either the Angels or Padres by July when the Mariners realize that they can’t get there this season.  Ichiro may get dumped as well, I am sure the Dodgers would love to have him.

Why Boxing Is Losing Fans To MMA

The sweet science has been going sour for years and there are so many reasons why.  Boxing is losing popularity as fast as mixed martial arts is gaining.  In the battle of sanctioned combat, there are several reasons for the shift in popularity, most of them should be obvious.  A group of guys huddling around a radio in the 1950′s to hear a good boxing match has been replaced by a group of people gathering in someone’s living room to watch a pay-per-view MMA card on a plasma television.  Yep, a sport once as popular as The Beatles has indeed faded.

Perhaps the biggest problem with professional boxing right now is that the demographic of the sport is mostly male and over 35 years of age.  Boxing loses a fan or two every hour.  The big promoters have failed to reach out to the younger market.  Maybe they just don’t know how.  Bob Arum is a quality promoter, I would say the best in the game.  He is also getting older and has not surrounded himself with any gameplan to build a younger fan-base.

Don King is the worst frontman a sport could ask for.  Just looking at him over the years, he has done nothing but ruin the sport with his corrupt habits.  Mike Tyson would not be as dysfunctional of a human being had he fought for anyone but King.  King spoiled Tyson and then left him floating when the noise settled down.

Another name I am starting to hear more and more in boxing circles is that of Lou DiBella.  DiBella handles Sergio Martinez and says some pretty wild things.  He is just this evil-sounding guy who likes to hear himself talk.  A casual boxing fan is turned away by someone like DiBella.  He has no character when his fighters lose and won’t shut up when they win.  He is not the up-and-coming frontman a sport on life support needs to endorse right now.

Oscar DeLaHoya is a young and charismatic guy who could do more to promote the product.  Golden Boy Promotions has grown over the past couple of years.  My plan of action would be to hire a spokesperson that people want to believe.  One that speaks good English and can articulate a pulse for an upcoming card.  Oscar just sits in the back and smiles. 

Another big problem with boxing is that it is no longer offered on network television.  The sport was supposedly removed because it was too barbaric and a farse of it’s reveled history.  Meanwhile, I turn on CBS a few Saturday’s ago and watched some decent MMA action.  Discard the “too barbaric for network television” excuse.  The lack of mainstream exposure has killed the sport.

Dana White is not my favorite person in the world.  I think he is way too cocky for what he actually does.  However, Mr. White knows how to promote his sport.  The MMA pay-per-views are fun to watch from start to finish, titles can change hands during an undercard fight, and it is usually an entertaining three hours where nobody says, “I will never buy another MMA pay-per-view again”.

The undercard of boxing pay-per-views has been horrid lately.  Usually those promoters do well hyping the main event, but nobody knows much about the other four or five fights or even who the fighters are.  If the main event happens to stink (ex. Hatton vs Mayweather) people will cry wolf and swear off spending their hard-earned cash on boxing shows that are just inexcusably horrible.

It is too obvious, boxing is losing on every scorecard right now.  MMA is getting corporate sponsorships (other than beer distributors), they are putting athletes into other mainstream projects (Dancing With The Stars), and they don’t seem to have any corrupted reputation as far as fight-fixing. 

 

Penguins Tidbits

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  • The Youngstown State football coaching staff will be hosting their first-ever Women’s Football Clinic on Friday, June 11. The cost is $50 per participant with all proceeds being donated to the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” organization. The event starts at 6 p.m. and will be approximately three hours. For more information contact the football office at (330) 941-3478. A registration and social hour will be held at 5 p.m. in the DeBartolo Stadium Club. The clinic will feature a welcome by Head Coach Eric Wolford, an equipment presentation and player demonstration, a tour of the football facilities in Stambaugh Stadium, segments with each of YSU’s assistant coaches, various raffles, introduction of the coaching staff’s wives and it will conclude with a question-and-answer session.
  • The annual YSU Penguin Club Scholarship Golf Outing is Wednesday, June 2 at the Oak Tree Country Club in West Middlesex, Pa. Red, White and individual packages are available for participants by contacting (330) 941-3720. Golfers will have a chance to interact with Penguin student-athletes, meet coaches from all of YSU’s intercollegiate sports and win door prizes courtesy of great sponsors.  Tee Sponsorship Signs are available for $150. Red, White and individual packages are available for participants. The Red Package is $1,750 for two foursomes while the White Package is $1,250 for one foursome. The Red and White Packages include lunch, dinner, a Penguin Club hat, a Penguin Club shirt and hat, box of candy, bottle of wine, fan pack, half-dozen red roses, a door prize ticket and a Tee Sponsorship Sign. Individual golf packages include lunch, dinner, a fan pack and a door prize ticket for a price of $175.
  • YSU Golfer Ryan Stocke is competing at the Notre Dame Regional in Notre Dame, IN.  Stocke’s appearance marks the first time in school history a Penguins linkster has competed in the Division I postseason.  Through the first round, Stocke was three-over 73 and was struggling with the putter.  Stocke, however, was able to post a respectable score thanks to his drives.
  • Devonte Maymon has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Youngstown State University where he will participate in the men’s basketball program.  The 6’2″ Guard from Middleton, WI. scored 266 points in two seasons at John A. Logan college.  Maymon shot 40% from three-point range and hit 70% of his free throws.

Stone Temple Pilots Present Weekend Links

In my opinion, the Stone Temple Pilots are one of the most unheralded musical acts in American music history.  Everyone knows that frontman Scott Weiland has had problems keeping his nose clean since 1992.  However, the gifted singer has not touched heroin in seven years and admitted on Howard Stern’s Sirius Radio show that he hasn’t done any drugs in over three years.  STP has a brand new studio disc coming out May 25th.  The first single is called Between The Lines and the magical sound and harmonies are back.  The self-titled new release will be followed up with an extensive tour.  Be on the lookout for the Stone Temple Pilots to make big noise this Summer.

Here are some great stories from other sites:

Zoner Sports has a brawl in the stands at the old ball game from Chicago at a recent White Sox game.

7th Inning Stache asks the question Should Hanley Ramirez be traded? to baseball fans everywhere.

Guyism thinks at least ten athletes deserve their own star on the walk of fame.

PSAMP examines a Steelers 5th Super Bowl t-shirt in this weeks installment of Great Moments in Unlicensed Pittsburgh Sports Merchandise.

Babes Love Baseball has an entertaining look at what people who aren’t good enough to play real baseball do to feel like they can.

The Cage Doctors find Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson still doing a lot of trash talking leading up to UFC 114.

Lets Go Guins has the story of why Viginia Tech 3-star linebacker Jake Johnson is transferring to Youngstown State University.

The Youngstown Phantoms have posted their draft picks on the official website and a local named JT Miller from East Palestine is now aboard.

Mahoning Valley Scrappers Roll Out 2010 Promo Schedule

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The Mahoning Valley Scrappers are gearing up for the 2010 season with the announcement of its promotional schedule.  The big highlight for me is August 7, when George “The Animal” Steele hits Eastwood Field on Wrestling Night.  Opening night is Monday, June 21 and a fireworks display will happen after that game.  Fireworks will also be shot after every Friday game (there are six).

Here is a list of special events with the dates they will take place:

  • June 21 – Magnetic Schedule Night sponsored by Western Reserve Orthotics and Prosthetics.
  • June 22 – Wellness Night presented by Quest Diagnostics with Prostate Awaremess and local health care vendors.
  • June 23 – College Fair Night woth $1,000 scholarship giveaway presented by Kent State Trumbull Branch.
  • June 24 – Twilight Vampire Night with fang giveaway and movie prize packs.
  • June 25 – Faith Night featuring a pre-game concert by Chris Mowery.
  • July 1 – LeBron James Rally Night featuring the Cavs Dancers and a rally towel giveaway in an effort to keep LeBron in Cleveland.
  • July 3 – Adult Cap Giveaway sponsored by MVPBA Scrappers Backers.
  • July 8 – Tee It Up Night which is an appreciation night for golfers.
  • July 9 – Faith Night featuring a pre-game concert by Sonny Cashbaugh and a post-game talk by Travis Fryman.
  • July 10 – Bark At The Park presented by Niles Veterinary Clinic.  Also, Youth Jersey Giveaway sponsored by Armstrong.
  • July 11 – Indians Affiliate Day featuring an appearance from Slider.  Also, Grady Sizemore Fathead Tradeable giveaway sponsored by Subway of Niles.
  • July 12 – ’85 Rewind Movies Night celebrating 25th anniversary of classic movies.
  • July 13 – National French Fry Day.
  • July 17 – Buffett Night with post-game concert with Fins To The Left.
  • July 18 – Snoopy Appearance presented by Cedar Point with VIP Tour prizes.
  • July 25 – Christmas In July with a Santa Clause appearance and Toys For Tots gift drive.  Also, Webkinz Lil’ Kinz giveaway.
  • July 26 – Wine Tasting Charity Fundraiser.
  • July 31 – Breast Cancer Awareness Night featuring the Susan G. Komen 5K Race For The Cure.
  • August 1 – Chevrolet Cruze Night.
  • August 4 – One Hit Wonders Night presented by The Nicholson Center.
  • August 5 – Irish Night featuring Playboy’s Lisa Neeld.
  • August 6 – Boy Scout Night with a stadium sleepover and movie.  Pre-game concertby HIS Music Connection.
  • August 7 – Game Of Hope Charity Softball Game presented by Hope Foundation of Mahoning Valley.
  • August 8 – Mascot Mania Night with a special appearance by Jimmy Neutron presented by Time Warner.  Also, Team Set Card giveaway night featuring Luke Holko and post-game autograph session.
  • August 9 – Game Show Night.

  • August 18 – Ed O’Neill Night with Polk High t-shirt giveaway, also Dare Day.
  • August 19 – 80′s Night presented by Twisted Tea.
  • August 20 – Girl Scout Night with a stadium sleepover and movie.
  • August 24 – Rock & Roll Night.
  • August 25 – The Office Night.
  • August 26 – Reality TV Night.
  • August 30 – $2,500 Restaurant Gift Card Giveaway Night.
  • August 31 – College Football Night.
  • September 3 – Negro League Tribute Night.
  • September 4 – Reusable Bag giveaway sponsored by Shearer’s and The Vindicator.
  • September 5 – Fan Appreciation Night with Scrapper team poster giveaway sponsored by Buckeye Online School For Success.

Rafe Hernandez, from “Days Of Our Lives“, will be signing autographs on July 31 for Ladies Night sponsored by The Circulatory Center and 21 WFMJ.

Here is a list of daily promos:

  • McDonalds Mondays/ Ohio Lottery Power-Play Promotion. All fans will receive a $5.00 box seat ticket by simply showing a McDonald’s receipt for any Monday game.  Or, present any non-winning Powerball ticket and receive a General Admission ticket at half price ($3.50).
  • $2 Tuesdays presented by Handel’s and Hershey’s / Kraft Singles 2-for-1 Offer. All fans will receive a general admission ticket for only $2.00.  Hot dogs, 16 oz. Pepsi products, 16 oz. draft beer, and ice cream sandwiches are also available for $2.00 each.  Bring in any Kraft Singles wrapper and receive 2 tickets for the price of one.
  • Wendy’s Wednesdays / Military ID Night. Buy one, get one free box seat ticket by simply showing a receipt from Wendy’s for any Wednesday night game.  All members of the military, both current and retired, receive two free box seat tickets by showing a valid military identification card.
  • Thursday Buck Night presented by Plevin and Gallucci.  All general admission tickets, hot dogs, and 12 oz. beverages are only $1.00 all night long.
  • Friday Night Fireworks presented by 21 WFMJ.  Following each Friday home game, fans will be treated to a spectacular display of fireworks.
  • Kids Eat Free Saturdays presented by Pizza Hut and 21 WFMJ.  Kids 12 and under will receive a free slice of pizza, chips, and soft drink for any Saturday night game.
  • Sunday family fun days presented by PNC.  All fans can buy a box seat ticket for $5.00 for any Sunday night game.  Kids can enjoy face painting, sign making, and running the bases after the game.

Should be a busy Summer in Niles!  Looking forward to covering the Scrappers again this season with profiles, game summaries, editorials, interviews, and pictures.

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135th Preakness Stakes – Odds, Weather, And Predictions

This Saturday will mark the second leg of the Triple Crown of Horse Racing. Post time at Pimlico in Baltimore is set for 6:15 pm.  The small field of twelve horses will be competing for the $1.1 million dollar purse with the winner garnering $710,000 of the total pot.  The weather, which will play a factor in this race, is 65 degrees with a 50% chance of rain.

If the track is deemed sloppy and these twelve horses sift through the mud, no one will touch Super Saver.  Calvin Borel is about the only thing that has worked for Todd Pletcher as a trainer.  Borel is a master in the mud, and he proved that last month at the Kentucky Derby. However, if the track runs fast, I like Lookin At Lucky to win the race.  All depends on the weather, so wait as close as you can until post time if you are wagering.  The only other horse with a chance in mixed weather is Pleasant Prince.

Here is the whole field with debuting odds for the 135th Preakness Stakes:

  1. Alkenite 20-1
  2. Schoolyard Dreams 15-1
  3. Pleasant Prince 20-1
  4. Northern Giant 30-1
  5. Yawanna Twist 30-1
  6. Jackson Bend 12-1
  7. Lookin At Lucky 3-1
  8. Super Saver 5-2
  9. Caracortado 10-1
  10. Paddy O’Prado 9-2
  11. First Dude 20-1
  12. Dublin 10-1

Winner: If sloppy Super Saver. If fast, Lookin At Lucky.

Trifecta: 7-8-3

Sleeper Longshot:  Pleasant Prince.

Profile of A Professional Bull Rider: Adam Geteman

Just over a month ago, the Professional Bull Riders Tour made a stop at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown.  Not being real skilled with the finer points of this sport, I went with hopes of landing a few good photos and maybe learning something.  Both things happened and then some.  Don’t get me wrong, I would rather watch the Penguins or Cavs on a Saturday night in April, but gained respect for the people who risk their lives when they mount these bulls to see how long they can hang on.

Before the event started, I was chatting with Walt Vrabel who works security for many events at the center.  Vrabel informed me that he knew one of the young men who would compete, Adam Geteman.  Vrabel had Geteman as a high school student at Jackson Milton.  He sung the praises of Geteman and how polite and well-mannered he was.  My ignorance would have me believing that I would be the outsider, the outcast in the eyes of a bunch of Southern drawl-speaking folks who abused the English language every chance they got.  I was as wrong as could be.  Geteman was a very pleasant individual and vivid competitor.  I asked him questions, things he said had never been asked by anyone before, and he responded humbly and honestly.  Bull riding may not be your thing, but to see inside the angled drape of an Amish household would fascinate readers too.  Here is what Geteman had to say:

Paneech:  Adam, tell me how you get involved with something like this.

Geteman:  It is something I have always wanted to try.  A buddy of mine that I met out line dancing said he did it.  So I went and trained with him, and the next week, I went through and did it.  He broke his arm and has not done it since, and I have been doing it ever since.

Paneech:  Do you travel all year with this group, or is it a certain amount of time, like a season?

Geteman:  It’s pretty much all year around, every weekend.  Personally, I only participate in the events that take place in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.  It’s nice doing this so close to home, I have a ton of family and friends who came to see me.

Paneech:  Explain the scoring and the system, I have no idea what you are trying to accomplish other than being on a bull for as long as you can.

Geteman:  The scoring is based on two parts.  Half is how you ride, and the other half is the bull.  The bull is scored on how fast it turns in circles and how high he jumps and kicks.  Riders get scored on posture and how well you control the bull.  You get one ride, and then the Top 10 get put back through for a championship round.  If you win, you get money.  Some places hold a series, and if you win that you can earn a belt buckle.  Everyone is after the buckle.

Paneech:  How long can you see yourself doing something like this?

Geteman:  I’m getting married in June, so I will try to stick with it for as long as I can.  It started out as just an adrenaline rush, and being an adrenaline junkie, I am bent on getting better.  The longer you do this the better it gets. 

Paneech:  Have you become friends with the other riders?

Geteman:  Oh yeah, you see a lot of the same faces every weekend.  Before you know it, you are going out to the bars with them and hanging out.  I will be 24 in a week and have been doing this for three years, so I have grown up around some of these guys.  We watch together and talk about our rides and the bulls.

Paneech:  Tell me about injuries.  What have you taken, what’s the worst you have seen someone else go through?

Geteman:  I have been lucky, for me the worst thing I have gotten was a few scrapes and cuts.  I have seen a bunch of people break bones.  Unfortunately, I even saw one kid break his neck.

Paneech:  Give me the percentage of people who compete that also chew snuff.

Geteman:  (laughs)  I don’t think I know anybody who doesn’t chew here.  I chew Beech Nut right now.  It’s a mixed batch, but most of the guys chew Copenhagen.  That seems to be the cowboy thing, I gave it up for Lent, so I am using the pouch stuff for now.  Going back to chewing is like falling in love all over again and my fiance got used to me not chewing, so I am trying to ease her back into it. 

Tuesday Links With Roger Waters

In a contest to see who could go broke first, Roger Waters has apparently won.  Tickets went on sale pretty much everywhere in the past five days for Waters tour of the US and they were a bit pricy.  Waters is touring without David Gilmour, who in my opinion was the voice of Pink Floyd.  To catch a “fleeting glimpse” of the Pink Floyd-like concert, expect to shell out a pretty penny.  The average seat is about $210.00 after Ticketmaster fees.  Waters who turns 67 this September is excited about the tour.  Unfortunately, I would rather see Ringo Starr do songs from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for more than half the admission fee.

Here are some stories from other great sites…

*Babes Love Baseball takes a look at 40 year-old Ken Griffey Jr. and his fading abilities with Not now kids, grandpa is taking a nap.

*NESW Sports uncovers a big scam as they bust the morning show Yo-Yo Master who has been cheating with his Duncan for years.

*PSAMP has some visuals of “The Bus”, Jerome Bettis playing golf in the story titled Jerome Bettis is a fat golfer.

*Gunaxin does a neat piece on 13 hockey goalie masks that have played a role in pop culture.

*Real Fake Sports has the story of a pitcher who got into trouble for NOT throwing a no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles.

*Pippenainteasy has a link to a website welcoming Lebron James to Chicago to play for the Bulls.

*Outside The Boxscore provides the story of how the Phillie Phanatic dressed up as Lady GaGa and got beat by an umpire.

 

 

Kelly Pavlik To Skip Rematch With Martinez, Will Fight at 168

Making weight has taken precedence over preparing for the actual fights.  Kelly Pavlik has declared that he will move up in weight to compete at the 168-pound division. 

After meeting with Jack Loew, his father Mike Pavlik Sr. and Cameron Dunkin, Pavlik has decided to bypass the rematch and ascend in weight for his fighting future.

Pavlik lost a unanimous decision to Sergio Martinez on April 17 in Atlantic City.  With the loss, there came a rematch clause for Pavlik to accept or decline.  The concern leading up to the fight was making the weight.  Pavlik has reportedly checked in at around 192 in recent days, right around where he was before starting formal camp for the Martinez fight.  Surely, making weight is getting harder at 160.  The methods Jack Loew uses to train Pavlik would have to be uprooted and turned to three or four daily workouts of about two hours each.

The move to 168 will be loaded with opportunity, but many of the stars at that weight class are locked into Showtime’s two-year tournament.  Lucian Bute, who defeated Edison Miranda on the same HBO telecast as Pavlik would be available if desired. 

The move to a higher weight will help Pavlik train the way he has become most comfortable – by getting stronger.  Flipping monster truck tires and swinging a sledgehammer are working into the mainstream and Pavlik benefits with the unique approach.  He will be one of the strongest fighters in a loaded division. 

Arthur Abraham, are you around now?

Why Everyone Is So Fired Up About YSU’s New Football Coaching Staff

Youngstown State University is buzzing about the new staff that Head Coach Eric Wolford (above with AD Ron Strollo) has assembled.  This is no ordinary group of guys just along for the ride, but rather, a group of proven leaders who are united to parlay their experiences into molding a football program which needed stronger direction.  Coach Wolford has built a great staff, top to bottom, which will surely prove worthy by season’s end. 

The neat thing about the new regime is that they have done more community involved projects such as camps which welcome local high school players and coaches.  The local camps open the door for everyone involved.  A player learns what he must do to improve for a shot at the next level.  The visiting coaches learn new methods of teaching things.  The best part about the camps is that YSU is not getting rich conducting them.  Coach Wolford and staff see these sessions as a bond with the community, as well as, a deeper look at the potential recruiting classes of the future.

Everyone knows about Ron Stoops and Rollen Smith.  The Mooney and Ursuline programs have prospered for years under these two great minds.  To get both of them on the same staff is a big score, I don’t care what level it is.  Stoops and Smith are both respected locally and will assist Wolford with the additional local tags. 

Ron Stoops has more than 30 years of coaching experience at the high school level, including the last nine at Cardinal Mooney.  Stoops will coach the defensive secondary and will serve as the first-ever YSU Director of High School Relations.  “Coach Wolford is a great guy with a lot of energy and I am very anxious to work with him,” Stoops said.  “I’ve been very involved in Boardman and at Mooney, but to do it at the college level, and especially at YSU, is really exciting and I am looking forward to it.”

Rollen Smith was at Ursuline for the last 20 years.  In those twenty years, he coached and ran the strength and conditioning program for a school that made the playoffs 13 times in those 20 years.  Smith will serve as an assistant defensive line coach under Wolford at YSU.  Perhaps the most community-oriented coach ever, Smith is involved with the local juvenile center and is on numerous task forces and programs to assist the area.  He is respected because of his demeanor with the youth of Youngstown and I have never heard anyone say anything negative about this guy.  He is a quality addition as the last piece Wolford added to the puzzle.

Shane Montgomery will serve as offensive coordinator and will also coach the quarterbacks.  Montgomery is a former Miami (OH) head football coach.  Coaching in the D-I MAC level for four years is impressive, but to be the head coach for four years is superb.  Montgomery parted ways with Miami in 2008 and spent last season as the offensive coordinator at Akron University.  Coach Montgomery may have the difficult task of learning which quarterback can lead the team without making mental mistakes or turning the ball over, both problems in YSU’s recent past.

Carmen Bricillo has been hired to be the offensive line coach.  Bricillo has a good reputation as an up-and-coming coach who communicates well with student-athletes.  Bricillo spent last season at The University of Illinois as an offensive assistant coach.  In 2007 & 2008, Briciillo coached offensive tackles and tight ends at Akron.  He was a standout offensive lineman at Duquesne University where he graduated in 1996 and earned first team all-conference honors his last two seasons.

Rick Kravitz will serve as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.  Kravitz looks like the guy you thought you played bocce with for the last five years at the MVR Club.  Truth is, he wasn’t here yet despite looking like a veteran Youngstown resident.  Kravitz has coached at Western Michigan and NC State.  Perhaps his best work took place at South Florida where he helped build a program for bigger things.  While at South Florida, Kravitz served as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.  He was also there for the jump from FCS Independent in 2000, to FBS newcomer as the Bulls made the jump in 2001.  To me, he is the biggest snag as an experienced D-I coach for this program.

Arguably, Tom Sims could count as the big piece in the puzzle.  Sims coached at Kansas last season and has spent the last nine years coaching defensive linemen at BCS schools.  Besides Kansas, Sims has gained experience while coaching at Minnesota and Illinois.  “His relationships and rapport with his players is something that I want all of our coaches to have,” claimed Wolford.  Sims played seven NFL seasons in Kansas City, Minnesota and Indianapolis.  His duties at YSU will consist of coaching the defensive line and being an assistant head coach.

Louie Matsakis will serve as special teams coordinator and work with running backs.  Matsakis also comes from Kansas where he coached running backs and coordinated special teams.  Matsakis first met Wolford while he played at Emporia, while Wolford was coaching there.  The biggest contribution, besides big-time experience, that Matsakis brings to the table is his wisdom of special teams.  Anyone who saw YSU’s special teams disasters last season may call Matsakis the big addition to the staff.

Phil Longo will coach wide receivers and serve as YSU’s recruiting coordinator.  Longo spent the last two seasons in the tent of the enemy, Southern Illinois, where he served as offensive coordinator.  He has the reputation of being a tireless recruiter and a very hard worker.  Longo commented, “I am excited about joining one of the most storied FCS programs in college football.”

Andre Coleman will coach tight ends.  “Andre has played at the highest level in the NFL playing and returning a kickoff for a touchdown in the Super Bowl,Wolford said. “He is someone I have known for a long time and is a person I can rely on to get the job done at all times. He can relate well with our student-athletes and has a lot to teach them.”  Coleman, who graduated from not-so-far-away Hickory High School was a standout in the NFL where he was drafted in the third round of the 1994 NFL Draft as the 70th overall pick by the San Diego Chargers.  He also played for Seattle and Pittsburgh.

Pinch yourself Penguins fans.  This is quite a coaching staff that Eric Wolford has brought to Youngstown, perhaps the best in YSU history as far as being well-rounded, community involved, recruiting know-how, experience, and player development.  With the new WATTS Indoor Facility coming very soon, Mr. Strollo has proven with the hirings of Wolford and this staff, a long-term commitment to excellence.