All oars rowing same way

I haven’t had the pleasure yet to meet John Holman.

But, I like the hire.

A lot.

The Buckeye Local Board of Education voted 5-0 last week to hire Holman, an Ohio State graduate and member of the football team, to take over its football program.


I haven’t read the message boards about the hire, but some will probably be positive and some, like they always do, will find nothing but negative – he’s too young, he’s never coached before, he’s not from here.

Yada. Yada. Yada.

The Buckeye Local football program needs a swift kick in the rear and Holman has been hired to do the job.

So, folks in Panthers land, here is what you get to say, or say nothing at all.

“Hello, coach, welcome to Buckeye Local. What can I do to help.”

That’s it.

All oars in the boat rowing the same way.

All the negative peeps can stay on the shore, thousands of yards away, and watch – mouths stitch closed.

Holman doesn’t need your negativity.

There’s enough of that going around.

It’s like a way of life for some – too many of you, in fact.

Of course, Buckeye Local isn’t the only football program, or sports program, with that pleasure.

There’s a glut of it in the Ohio Valley and across our great nation.

No doubt that Holman is in for hard work.

Considering he was a walk-on at Ohio State, earned a scholarship, and was part of three teams that went 38-3, including the 2014 national championship. I don’t think Holman is allergic to hard work.

It’s going to take a lot of time and dedication on everyone’s part – the Buckeye Local administration, athletic department, coaching staff, players, school, parents and those hanging on the family tree.

Most importantly, Holman.

That means, moms and dads, if coach wants kids in the weight room at 6 a.m., the players arrive no later than 5:45 a.m., and some could say 5:30 a.m., even if that means you get up to take them.

No excuses.

There have been too many of those.

Being a head coach is not easy.

There are far too many distractions – most of them off the field.

The numbers for the Panthers are not good:

Last beat a team that finished a season with a winning record on Oct. 16, 2009, a 36-18 win over Union Local.

2-31 in last 33, those two teams a combined 2-17.

Four wins in 2012 against teams a combined 6-34.

Six wins in 2011 against teams a combined 12-48.

Three wins in 2010 against teams a combined 5-25.

In the last six seasons, only four losses have come within 7-points or less, two last season, one in 2013 and one in 2011.

“I look at this as a good opportunity,” Holman said to Times Leader sports editor Seth Staskey after being hired. “My passion is working with young individuals to help make them successful. I did my research on Buckeye Local and am well-aware of their record the last few years. I see this as an opportunity to lay my hand on a program and help re-establish it to where it’s been in the past.

“After school resumes, I plan on holding a player and coach meeting and then a player and parent meeting. I want to have the parent meeting to make sure everyone is well informed of the expectations and goals of this program.

“I am ready to get there right now and get to work. I want to make sure people realize I am there to embrace the community and everything is in line.”

The Panthers haven’t been to the playoffs since 2009 and there is a lot of work hard by everyone to get back there.

First, small steps and increased responsibility and accountability.

OK, ready, repeat after me, “Hello coach Holman. Welcome to Buckeye Local. What can I do to help.”

The fact that Mike Leake, 22-23 over the past two seasons with a 3.70 ERA, signed a $16M contract with St. Louis with a no-trade clause for the life of the contract, should give you a clear indication of why the Pirates’ administration wasn’t in the sweepstakes and what their plan is.

I know some of you don’t think they have a plan and people are clamoring for the brass to spend some cash, but it’s rather apparent that’s not the way they do business.

And, considering the Pirates sit only behind the Cardinals with the most regular seasons wins in the last three seasons, it’s really hard to argue with their approach.

The Cubs just signed Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and John Lackey to contracts totaling $272M, and, with the $20M they are paying Jon Lester (51-45, 3.57 ERA after past four seasons, how many more games are they going to win above the 97 of last season?

Everyone laughed three seasons ago when Bucs manager Clint Hurdle said the team would win 95 games.

It won 94.

Pittsburgh sports talk radio is really fun to listen to after the Steelers lose.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at mmathison@heraldstaronline.com, followed on Twitter at @MathisonMike and is on the radio weekday mornings from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. with Joey Klepack and from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturdays on WEIR-AM)


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