Local Basketball Coaches Bid To Follow Lead of Football Coaches

WEIRTON — Coaches are thieves. If they like something another coach is doing they make it their own.

The Ohio Valley Football Coaches Association is a viable and united network of coaches. It is driven by the likes of Reno Saccoccia, Mike Young, Ty Fleming, Dave Bruney and Andrew Connor among others.

That being the case, two veteran and successful boys’ basketball head coaches are leading a charge to establish a similar association for basketball.

Weir’s Mike Granato and Steubenville’s Mike Haney have been meeting with some area coaches to make such a union come to fruition. Their passionate efforts are paying dividends.

“We started meeting in May. Realistically our goal is trying to mimic what our football coaches have done. The OVFBCA is something we want to model ourselves after,” Granato said. “We thought a good way to get started would be holding a fall clinic. We wanted to keep the costs reasonable. It will not be expensive and coaches can learn from our local college coaches.”

The clinic is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 22 from noon-6 p.m. at Finnegan Fieldhouse on the campus of Franciscan University in Steubenville.

The presenters that day will be Joe Wallace of Franciscan; Ben Howlett of West Liberty; Travis Schawb of Muskingum University; Dave Wojcik of TMPW Explorers AAU and former D-I college coach and Danny Sancomb of California of Pa.

“It is a good lineup for a Sunday afternoon. We want it to be a yearly event and continue to grow,” Granato said. “We may have two of the top D-II coaches in the country speaking in Ben and Danny. Ben is bringing his entire team and will run a practice for an hour.

For Pittsburgh Steelers diehards, Haney and Granato avoided any potential conflict. The Black & Gold will play on Monday night that week.

“We don’t want to limit this to just OVAC coaches. WPIAL, ECOL and IVC coaches are more than welcome,” Haney said. “The clinic is open to boys, girls and junior high coaches. Even if you are just a diehard basketball fan we would love to have you attend.

“Everybody we have contacted about the clinic and coaches association thought they were great ideas. I talked to Reno (Saccoccia) about how the OVFCA operates. We are working to get our bylaws and board in place. Once we get up and running the association will generate great camaraderie amongst coaches.”

Granato also sees great benefits from the coaches association.

“We feel it will help keep the game in the limelight and provide recognition for all our players who earn OVAC honors,” the Red Riders coach said. “It will also help us expand our clinic into holding recruiting nights. Also, the association will help to create goodwill among our coaches.”

Clinic registration Sept. 22 will be held from 11 a.m.-noon. The schedule is as follows:

∫ Noon to 1:15: “Man to man defensive concepts,” Joe Wallace, Franciscan University head coach.

∫ 1:30-2:30 p.m.: West Liberty University practice,” Ben Howlett, West Liberty head coach.

∫ 2:30-3:30: “Post play offensive and defensive fundamentals,” Travis Schwab, Muskingum University men’s coach.

∫ 3:30-4:30: “Implementing offensive skills into your practice session,” Dave Wojcik, TMPW Explorers AAU.

∫ 4:30-5:45: “California Vulcan Basketball — our favorite drills,” Danny Sancomb, California U. head coach.

∫ 5:45-6 p.m.: Ohio Valley Basketball Coaches Association closing remarks.

Cost of the clinic is $20 per coach. A head coach can bring his staff for $40 if paid by Sept. 15. For more information call either Granato at 304-670-1960 or Haney at 740-317-0210.

“The key word with the clinic is opportunity. Coaches have an opportunity to learn,” Granato said. “Staff have the opportunity to bond and coaches have the opportunity to bond with other coaches.”

BUBBA’S BITS

∫ Former Steubenville football and basketball standout Charles Reeves is now a member of the Youngstown State football team. He was dismissed from the University of Pitt this spring. He is a 6-foot-5, 280-pound tight end. Also on the Penguins roster is Ma’lik Richmond, another former Big Red athlete. He is a 6-4, 265-pound junior defensive end.

∫ Mark Gorvath was a star quarterback for St. John Central. Horvath guided the Fighting Irish to a 9-1 record his senior season in 1986. Now his son, Grant, is captain of the Columbus Bishop Watterson football squad. Grant is a 6-2, 215-pound QB and middle linebacker.

∫ College football ramps up this week. My final four is Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia. I will go with Clemson to win it all. My Heisman Trophy pick is Wisconsin running back Johnathan Taylor.

∫ Bud Billiard is an Ohio Valley coaching legend. The former Brooke football boss received the ultimate honor Thursday night as the playing field at Brooke Memorial Stadium was named in his honor. The recognition was truly deserved and spawned a large and boisterous turnout.

∫ Berry College launches its season Saturday against Maryville (Tenn.) coming off an 11-1 season. Martins Ferry grad Rich Duncan is again cast in the role of offensive coordinator for the Atlanta-based Vikings. Berry enters the season ranked No. 22 in Division III polls. Duncan played collegiately at Bethany.

∫ Urban Meyer is a great football coach. He is also a great liar.

∫ Ron Balog is in his first year as head football coach at Quaker Valley High in Leetsdale, Pa. The St. Clairsville grad piloted his Quakers to a 19-0 win over Springdale on Friday night.

Bubba Kapral can be reached via email at: bkapral@timesleaderonline.com

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