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Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013: Winningest Staten Island basketball coach resigns

   Leading off today: Staten Island's winningest boys basketball coach no longer has a job in the sport, The Advance reported Thursday.

   Tony Rafaniello told the paper he resigned from Moore Catholic on Wednesday after posting a 39-27 mark in four seasons. He previously coached for 28 years at New Dorp and is 511-389 in 38 seasons overall including a stint at Monsignor Farrell.

   “I haven’t lost my enthusiasm for a game,” Rafaniello, 62, told the paper. “I haven’t lost my energy. And I don’t think I’ve lost my passion.”

   Rafaniello said he was summoned into a meeting with Moore principal Robert Manisero and athletic director Rich Postiglione in June and let go from his position as dean of students after two years. At the meeting, Rafaniello was invited to remain as coach.

   "It really just wasn’t a good fit anymore," Rafaniello said. "The logistics and other factors that I’d really rather not get into. It just was not a good fit. I thought it would be best to discontinue my relationship with the school. It probably is in everybody’s best interest."

   We have our first forfeit: A lack of numbers has forced the Salem football team to forfeit its opener next month, The Post-Star reported. Coach Don Zarzycki only had 15 players at practice on Wednesday, making it impossible for the Generals to have the minimum 16 eligible players for an Aug. 31 scrimmage and the Sept. 7 opener vs. Schoburg.

   “Hopefully if we can pick up a few kids between now and the start of school, we get to 16, then we can maybe be ready to play Hoosic Valley (in Week 2),” Zarzycki said. “But if we pick a kid up the very first day of school, we’ll have to forfeit to them also, then maybe we’ll play our third game of the season. And I think if it gets beyond that, it’s over. It’s an absolute shame.”

   Salem had a near-magic season last year, finishing just 5-5 but reaching the Section 2 Class D final before falling to Rensselaer.

   Just asking: The Salem situation was inevitable because practice opened Monday with the bare minimum of players available. It wasn't going to take much -- a sprained ankle, a family emergency, etc. -- for someone to miss a practice, thus forcing a Week 1 forfeit.

   So here's my question: Why is the preseason scheduled so tightly that even one missed practice can knock a player out of the opener, which could amount to nearly 15 percent of the season in football? Would the world grind to a halt if practice opened 15 days ahead of "Scrimmage Saturday" instead of just 12? That would provide a cushion and even allow coaches to convert one day of double sessions into a single practice while still installing full offensive and defensive packages before the scrimmage.

   Speaking of practices: In Syracuse, Henninger High's first week of sports practices was disrupted due to preparations for Thursday's visit by President Barack Obama. Among the obstacles: Football coach Dave Kline and his staff were punted from their office inside the school to a storage garage beside the turf practice field behind Sunnycrest arena, which became the team's temporary locker room. Thursday's practice was held at Syracuse University.

   "It’s just been a lot of change," Kline told The Post-Standard. "It’s been fun. This is a great thing for us. We’re lucky to have this."

   In case you missed it, Part 1: I blogged earlier today about Christine Brennan's column in USA Today in which football site

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she was critical of high school football games being televised. As I noted in the blog, Brennan was rather disingenuous in not mentioning that her own employer has played a significant role over the past three decades in increasing the publicity and hoopla surrounding scholastic sports.

   You can read the blog here.

   Having written what I did, I offer you this link to the oddball story of the day courtesy of MaxPreps:

   Station Camp Church in Gallatin, Tenn., which normally holds its Sunday services at 10 a.m., will push its schedule back to 5 p.m. this weekend because the high school football team is playing Hendersonville, Tenn., at 11 a.m. that day in a game being shown nationally by ESPN2.

   In case you missed it, Part 2: A belated congratulations to the staff of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, which launched its redesigned website this week featuring lots of new information and features. It's well worth your time to take a look.

   The word on the tweet: The esteemed preps writer at The Buffalo News doesn't need two-a-days to get into shape. He's already in mid-season form.

   Note: Obama did change up his schedule and stopped for his mid-day meal in Rochester, showing that he values good food and good conversation around the lunch table.

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