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Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014: Coach of Mendon's 2013 state title team dies

   Leading off today: Jason DeJoy, the coach of Pittsford Mendon's NYSPHSAA championship team in boys cross country last fall, died Tuesday morning at the age of 40.

   Pittsford district officials said DeJoy, a married father of three young girls, died unexpectedly. No further details were disclosed.

   DeJoy taught middle-school social studies in the district and was also an assistant track and field coach at Mendon. DeJoy led Vikings teams to more than 300 cross country wins, and four of his boys or girls teams were state runner-ups. His Mendon teams won 10 Section 5 titles.

   "One of the best, most patient and loving coaches I've come across," Pittsford football coach Keith Molinich told the Democrat and Chronicle. "He's a tremendous man. There are a lot of us that are like, 'What the heck?' We're at the age where it can happen to any of us. You just have to embrace every day."

   DeJoy, a Jamestown graduate who coached distance running there from 1998-2001, is survived by his wife Arlene, a social studies teacher at Mendon, plus their daughters Josie, Angelina and Libby.

   Burger done at Troy: Though he'd retired from teaching in June after 33 years, Jack Burger wanted to continue coaching football at Troy for several more years.

   That plan came to an end this week when Burger learned that there were no positions available that would have kept him in the school on a daily basis to maintain close contact with his players, thus ending his coaching tenure after 19 seasons in charge and 29 seasons overall.

   "The talk was there was going to be something for me. Unfortunately, because of budget cuts, it never materialized," he told The Times Union. "The coach needs to be in the school. The guys are used to me being there every day. They need a coach that is there."

   Burger took over for Jim Bongo in 1990 and was 90-38-1 through 2001 before taking time off to watch his children, Matt and Niki, play sports in college. He returned in 2007 and finished with a mark of 145-51-1, a 1998 state crown (after an 0-2 start) and a trip to the 2010 NYSPHSAA Class AA final in Syracuse.

   The Flying Horses won seven Section 2 championships under Burger, including five straight beginning in 1996.

   "The Troy community has been incredible. Phenomenal people. Very loyal," Burger told the paper. "A loyal, hard-working coaching staff and hundreds and hundreds of great kids. As much as you hear from players that say, 'Thanks for everything,' the feeling is mutual."

   Sources told the paper Burger's successor will likely be junior varsity coach Mike Hurteau, who played at Troy under Burger.

   More coaching moves: Justin Arini, a Ward Melville goaltender for retired Long Island lacrosse legend Joe Cuozzo, was named boys lacrosse coach at Shoreham-Wading River on Wednesday, Newsday reported.

   Arini, a guidance counselor at S-WR, was an assistant coach last spring at Huntington after previously working at the college level. He replaces Tom Rotanz, who guided the Wildcats to five Long Island championships (including the last two) and state crowns in 2002 and 2012 in 19 seasons. Rotanz's contract was not be renewed by district administrators.

   Milestone: I missed it over the weekend, but Utica Notre Dame senior basketball star Emily Durr reached 2,000 career points. The Iowa State-bound guard scored 10 points in a 51-50 loss to Gates Chili.

   Durr, who last month passed Sissy Babiarz as Notre Dame's all-time scoring leader, is the eighth player in Section 3 history to reach 2,000. The leader is former Cicero-North Syracuse player and current UConn star Breanna Stewart at 2,367.

   More basketball notes: Cardinal Hayes, ranked No. 1 in Class AA by the NYSSWA, fought off No. 3 Bishop Loughlin 86-83 on Tuesday. The Cardinals' 10-point lead with 2:11 to play was trimmed to one before St. Joseph's-bound senior Shavar Newkirk (24 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter) made a pair of free throws with :09 to go. Seton Hall recruit Khadeen Carrington (36 points) of Loughlin missed on a fade-away 3-pointer from the top of the key just before the buzzer.

   "It's an emotional game," Hayes coach Joe Lods told the New York Daily News. "As much as I don't want our kids to look at rankings, they understand rankings. They know who's good, they know they're good, they know it's a big

  
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game. It's hard, they're still kids. It's hard not to let the emotions get the best of them sometimes."

   In girls action Monday in Section 3, senior Nicole Granteed scored 22 points and eighth-grader Danielle Rauch 20 as Bishop Ludden edged undefeated neighborhood rival Westhill 59-52.

   Ludden began the week ranked 21st and Westhill third in the New York State Sportswriters Association Class B ratings.

   Granteed worked through two early fouls to finish the first half with 14 points.

   A closer look: The Times Herald-Record offered up a package of stories over the weekend on the subject of coaching behavior, one of the trending topics in high school sports the past couple of years.

   The mainbar opened with some great perspective from William Straub, who coached at Saugerties from 1951-66.

   "When I was playing, if you didn't do something right and you went home and told your father about it, he would kick you in the pants and send you back to do it right," Straub recalled. "It was a different era back then. In coaching parlance, no matter what the coach did, the coach was right."

   Straub earned advanced degrees in sports science and clinical psychology after his coaching career, which he says helped him look at sports in a new light. He said he realized he had regrets over some of his actions during his coaching days and even took to writing some of his former players to clear up any hard feelings.

   "I was a tough coach to play for," he said. "I am much more humanistic today. We're attracting to coaching a more humanistic refined type of person these days. These coaches who are cursing and swearing are not going to be tolerated today."

   In another story, S.S. Seward baseball and boys soccer coach Bill Steele recalled his days as an athlete and contrasted his experienced with current standards.

   "You put your hand on a kid and you've overstepped your bounds," Steele said. "Grab one of your players and you have lost him; you have crossed the line. It's totally wrong. Even if you do have to yell at them, don't get personal, have respect for them. Or they won't really respect you."

   While playing football in Corning three decades ago, Steele said his coach routinely hit players with a clipboard and his whistle.

   "One time he hit me in my helmet and my ears were ringing," Steele told the paper. "I came back and hit him with a forearm shiver and knocked him on the ground. I ran five miles that day."


  
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