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Oliver: Would Hulkster last at Belle Vernon Area?

| Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 1:16 a.m.

On Monday, the Belle Vernon Area School Board accepted the resignation of varsity wrestling coach Tyler Nauman and opened the position of swimming coach Rob Reda.

Normally, these actions might not raise many eyebrows, but in this case they do.

In the space of a year, BVA has either let go or accepted the resignations of six varsity head coaches — including two for wrestling.

Gone in that span have been boys' basketball coach Eric James, wrestling coaches Jack Jolley and Nauman, baseball coach Dan Palm, football coach Aaron Krepps and Reda.

That is an alarming rate of turnover for one school.

By comparison, Monessen has had the same boys' basketball coach for 30 years in Joe Salvino, the same football coach for 11 years in Andy Pacak, the same baseball coach for 11 years in Bill Matush, th esame softball coach for five years in Bo Teets, the same girls' basketball coach for six years in Gina Naccarato (who was hired after Major Corley retired after 23 seasons) and the same boys' soccer coach in Sam Perry for 10 years.

See the difference?

I would never stand up and say all of those changes at BVA were caused by meddlesome parents, but I have no doubt that some of them to a large degree were.

In the case of the wrestling program, how do two outstanding coaches — one esteemed and the other up and coming — resign in a space of 10 months?

Doesn't make sense, does it?

I know there are two sides to every story. There always are. I just wonder what is true and what is concocted sometimes.

Whatever happened to the coach being the boss? Whatever happened to the coach running his own program?

Does that exist in any sport at BVA?

With turnover like that, one can only wonder. It's not like all of the coaches who left BVA went on to bigger and better things. By contrast, my guess is that most of them would still be at BVA had the interference not been so unbearable.

And let's remember that several of those coaches had decent to excellent resumes as coaches at BVA.

Not every coach is perfect, but six in a year?

I'm not saying all parents are meddlers. That would be unfair. Many parents go above and beyond supporting their children, their children's coaches and the programs.

Many programs couldn't raise the money needed to keep them solvent without dedicated parents.

Still, I can't believe the lack of support/authority some coaches seem to have been saddled with at BVA.

It is depressing.

Anyone who thinks coaches coach for money — especially at Mid-Mon Valley schools like BVA — is a fool. These men and women do it for love of the game, to give back to their alma maters, to mold youngsters into better athletes and citizens, whatever.

I would not insist that coaches who can't win or improve their players should be given carte blanche to continue as coaches.

Still, a coach should be allowed to run the program as he or she sees fit, within reason.

I remember when my sons played sports at Monessen — on every level. One thing I always told them if and when they complained about the coach is that sports is a microcosm of life. You find out what is fair and not fair and deal with both.

I also asked them point blank, “If you can't deal with your coach, what will you do when you get a job and you don't like your boss? Just quit?”

I don't know if things will change at BVA and I'm not insinuating that BVA is the only district with this problem.

But the coaching turnover is certainly alarming.

If I were a quality coach looking to improve my situation, I'm not sure I would pick BVA. At least, not right now.

After losing two wrestling coaches in a year, I'm wondering how long the great Hulk Hogan could last at BVA?

Not long, I would suspect.

Hulkamania wouldn't run wild; it would probably be run out of town.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or joliver@tribweb.com.

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