A couple of thoughts that nagged me over the weekend:
NINE SEASONS ... five coaches ... one winning year.
That’s what the Smethport High School football team has had since Carl Defilippi called it a career after the 2002 campaign.
First it was Brandon Falk for one season (2-7), then Rob Cosper for four (10-27, including a 6-4), Ryan Yingling for two (3-15) and Jesse Cheatle for one (4-6).
Then, just last week, Tim Woodruff was named the latest Hubbers’ coach. The former Smethport star takes over a program that has gone 19-55 in the eight years since Defilippi retired.
How many of Woodruff’s predecessors left of their own volition isn’t a matter of record, but what’s certain is that Defilippi’s legacy loomed over all of them.
The saying goes that you don’t want to be the coach who follows John Wooden, you want to be the one after the coach who succeeds him.
But in Defilippi’s case, the next FOUR were burdened with almost unattainable expectations.
He wasn’t just a “good” coach ... Defilippi was extraordinary.
In Big 30 football history, three names stand out.
There was Coudersport’s Paul Simcoe, the winningest, going 205-77-8 (.721 pct.) over 29 seasons.
There’s the longevity leader, Randolph’s Pat Slater, heading into his 33rd season with a 198-93-4 (.678 pct.) mark, and the all-time Big 30 leader in state titles with two New York State Class Ds.
Then there’s Defilippi.
He went 174-30 in his first 19 seasons, retired for a year, then came back for two more, going 9-1 then 3-6, the only losing campaign in his 21.
His final mark was 186-37-2, a glittering .831 percentage that by far is the Big 30’s best for any coach who worked more than a year or two.
But it’s been 10 seasons since Defilippi and his high-quality staff were the beast of the Allegheny Mountain League. That was the era every Smethport foe fumed when the home P.A. announcer intoned, “That’s ANOTHER Hubber ...” with the crowd responding emphatically, “FIRST DOWN,” and pointing toward the goalline.
The point is this.
Simcoe and Defilippi are Big 30 rarities, coming along once every few decades, and comparing their successors to either of them is both unfair and unrealistic.
ON SATURDAY, my OTH colleague, Tom Roof, used this space to point out the devastating effect this spring’s weather has had on St. Bonaventure’s baseball and softball teams.
But at least the Bonnie baseballers have had a few games at home.
Consider SBU coach Mike Threehouse’s softball squad. It has played 25 games — 70 percent of the schedule — and not one at McGraw-Jennings Field.
Four home games have been moved to neutral sites and while eight remain — including three doubleheaders — the first two are scheduled for tomorrow and the weather forecast calls for, of course, rain.
But Bona’s most weather-impacted spring sport — by far — has been women’s lacrosse.
Coach Christy Malone’s 5-7 team has lost five home games to neutral sites — three to Alfred’s Merrill Field, one each to Canisius and Buffalo’s Nichols School — and three remain to close the season.
But the students will be on break when the Bonnies host Duquesne, Thursday, Detroit Mercy, Saturday, and Canisius a week from today.
Besides, with rain most of this past weekend, it’s doubtful that the extremely soggy conditions around the East goal have improved.
How about a 15-game season without a single home game?
(Chuck Pollock, the Times Herald sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)