WHEELING - As the Wheeling Nailers membership (that's the term the ECHL would like us to use) prepares to go forward under the guidance of The Hockey Club of the Ohio Valley, we must first look back. In doing so, it would be highly appropriate to give Rob and Jim Brooks a hearty pat on the back.
The brothers didn't have to sell the team to a local group. They could have simply walked away, allowed the team to go dark and then turn it around for cash in the form of one of the new clubs coming aboard next year from the CHL. That would have made sense for both parties since Rob and Jim stood to make more than the figures that have tossed about for the current sale, and it would have cost an unnamed CHL team considerably less than an expansion membership would have.
Yes, there will be those that will say that was a risky proposition. Hey, better to take whatever you can get, than to lose your entire investment.
But Rob and Jim Brooks believed in the Ohio Valley, and still do to this day. It became sort of a second home for them, and they wanted to make sure the situation was better than the one they inherited.
It's true the brothers and I didn't always see eye-to-eye, but what media-owner relationship is all roses? Could they have done some things better? Certainly.
But despite their penchant for pinching pennies, and that's the only borderline bad thing you can truthfully say about them, the Brooks brothers have allowed the Ohio Valley to keep its team.
If that isn't enough to warrant a pass on a couple of little things, then this is a tougher crowd than I thought.
Saccoccia Gets His Chance
It was brought to our attention recently that Steubenville High School graduate Anthony Saccoccia is advancing his men's college basketball coaching career. Saccoccia spent the last two seasons at Indiana University on Tom Crean's staff as Coordinator of Video Systems, helping the Hoosiers enjoy a huge turnaround to go 28-7 and advance to the Sweet 16. Prior to that Saccoccia was a graduate assistant under Tom Izzo while Michigan State made back to back Final Four appearances.
Now, though, Saccoccia is headed to Samford University. Indiana assistant coach Bennie Seltzer has taken over the head coaching duties at Samford and brought Saccoccia with him to the Birmingham, Ala., campus. The Bulldogs play in the Southern Conference, which receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Davidson won the league championship and bid the last two years. Samford finished last season at 12-18.
Saccoccia is a 2002 Big Red graduate, and earned a degree from Youngstown State University in 2007.
Congratulations and good luck, Anthony.
Call me a cynic, but the announcement Thursday that the OHSAA has approved adding a seventh classification for football, reeks of a money grab. How else do you explain it when there are several reasons, not the least of which is the discrepancy between the largest and smallest Division I schools?
Commissioner Daniel Ross says the group's board approved the plan to place the top 10 percent of schools based on enrollment in Division I. The plan divides the remaining 644 schools evenly among the next six divisions. It will leave about 72 schools in Division I with the other divisions averaging about 108 schools each instead of the current 120.
Oh, and then there was this little nugget at the end of the Associated Press brief: The plan also creates 32 more tournament opportunities.
That means more sites will play host to more games, further lining the OHSAA coffers.