ShareThis Page

Jeannette coaches react, prepare for new classification

| Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Coach Roy Hall gives his team a pep talk during a game this season.
John Howard | The Jeannette Spirit
Coach Roy Hall gives his team a pep talk during a game this season.

The surprising change of heart earlier this month by the Jeannette School Board regarding Jeannette's athletics classification caught some off guard, most notably, two of the coaches most directly affected by the board's reversal on the October vote that originally kept football and basketball in Class AA of the WPIAL.

This month, the board voted to move all Jeannette's sports teams to Class A, and head football coach Roy Hall was shocked.

“Very surprised, very surprised,” said Hall. “After the first vote, I did not think the board members who voted against us changing classes would change their minds.”

Upon hearing the news, Hall immediately sent a text message to boys basketball head coach Adrian Batts who was equally shocked.

“I got a text from Coach Hall that read, ‘all teams moving to single A,'” said Batts. “I sent him one right back that said, ‘thanks for that news.'”

Batts' sarcasm in his return message is couched. He advocates what's best for the students and always has stood on that stance, but he also believes basketball and football are different sports and do not necessarily need to follow the same classification guidelines.

“The WPIAL may be changing their enrollment rules anyway, so we may not be affected,” said Batts. “But if we have to move, then hey, we will create new rivalries. That's what's great about high school sports.”

Hall is on the same page with Batts on the move not registering on the seismograph too far outside of Jeannette's city limits.

“This happens all the time in high school sports,” said Hall. “Times change, enrollments drop and sometimes schools have to adjust. It's just change.”

Hall points out that as a lifelong Jeannette resident, he has witnessed the city falling from one of the largest employers in Westmoreland County to one of the smallest. At the same time, enrollment has consistently dropped and the midget programs have struggled to field competitive teams.

“We gave them the heads up two years ago that we would probably need to reclassify,” said Hall. “I wrote my letter this year requesting a meeting with the school board when we were 3-0, so record and competition have nothing to do with it, it's all about what's best for the kids.”

Batts is waiting to hear whether Jeannette will stay in Class AA for basketball only, or will be relegated to a Class A schedule. Either way, he is ready for what lies ahead.

“We still have to win the games on the schedule and play better than our opponents,” said Batts. “The main thing is us doing what is in the best interest of the kids.”

Hall knows his team will definitely play a Class A schedule, but is not sure in which conference Jeannette will compete, but knows that many single-A teams would love to get a shot at the Jayhawks.

“There will be some teams we can get up on, and some that will be better than us,” said Hall. “We also know that regardless, we are going to work just as hard to make Jeannette proud of the Jayhawks.”

Dave Moio is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.