The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


October 4, 2013

Harold Raker's column on high school football: Coaching not all fun and games

Coaches talk all the time about discipline. But it is usually related to what happens on the field.

A coach will describe his upcoming opponent as a disciplined team or he will talk about his own team needing to be disciplined.

There is a difference, however, in being disciplined, and doling out discipline.

If they stay in the game long enough, most coaches will face a situation where some type of discipline, or punishment, is in order.

Knowing the kind of reaction they will get from parents and fans, coaches find themselves walking on egg shells in trying to determine the proper course of action.

Most of us can recall a time over the years when a star player ran afoul of team rules and was punished (wink, wink) by sitting out a series, a quarter or, horror of horrors, the whole first half.

Two years ago, Selinsgrove coach Dave Hess took one for the program, so to speak, when he suspended the bulk of his starters for the entire season after they were involved in a party where alcohol was served. The team finished 1-9, just two years removed from a Class AAA state title, but he made his point.

As expected, Hess took it on the chin as parents did everything they could to get the decision reversed, to no avail.

Another area coach disciplined a player and that action eventually led to his dismissal.

All of this popped into my head after an online story this week about a high school football coach in Utah, who took things to a whole other level.

Matt Labrum, the head coach at Union High School, indefinitely suspended his entire team, all 80 players, for cyber bullying, cutting classes and disrespecting teachers.

Can you imagine the Valley parents putting up with that from any of our coaches?

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