WHEELING - Ask 100 different writers, and you may get 100 different answers. But to me, the best part of this job is the people in our communities that I get to interact with on a daily basis.
So understandably it's a bit of a downer that four of my favorite coaches have called it quits. John Marshall's Stan Blankenship (girls' basketball), Bishop Donahue's Dan Angalich (baseball), Weirton Madonna's Bob Kramer (football), and Wheeling Park's Chad Stout (baseball) all decided to hang up their whistles in recent months.
Each coach went about his business in unique ways, but they had two common bonds - their teams won and did so with dignity, and each is a better person than coach. That last part should not be taken lightly because it doesn't always happen that way.
A lot of people misunderstood Stan and his methods. 'He yells too much, and he's too hard on the kids' were a couple things I heard detractors commonly say. It should be pointed out those people are dead wrong and Blankenship loved every one of them as if they were his own.
Kids today, more than ever, need the threat of the iron fist coming down. We've become far too weak as a society and don't necessarily care to be told what to do. I know that weighed on him the last several years.
Again, this man was my coach. He also happens to be the best one I ever had, and body willing, I would play on his team again any time.
Secretly, I wanted him to still be around long enough to coach my daughters.
What Angalich did for the Bishop Donahue community absolutely cannot be overstated. If not for Dan, it's entirely possible there would be no Bishops.
Not only that, but he's a guy who gets it. As evidence I give you his sons, Michael and Jordan, who were two of the most well-mannered kids I've covered.
No person deserved a championship more. Period. Bob resurrected a Madonna program that was on its last leg and turned it into a powerhouse.
The Blue Dons are going to be loaded this year, so you could say he left the program in a lot better shape than he found it.
Stout craved winning, and consequently despised losing. He's the kind of guy that wears his emotions on his sleeve, and though not as demonstrative as others, you always knew where you stood with him.
Unlike the three others mentioned, Stout will likely coach at some point down the road. And wherever that is, count on a championship banner being raised.
Ohio Valley Baseball
Magnolia two-sport standout Matt Sapp has decided to continue his academic and athletic careers at Ohio Valley University, where he will play both basketball and baseball.
Sapp averaged more than 17 points, five rebounds and three assists on his way to All-Valley honors in basketball last season. He batted .404 and struck out just four times in 57 at-bats on the baseball diamond.