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Thursday, July 17, 2014: Greece Olympia coach Steve DeRooy dies

   Leading off today: Section 5's Monroe County League has been rocked for the second time this year by the sudden death of an active coach.

   Steve DeRooy, 50, the longtime boys basketball coach at Greece Olympia, died of a heart attack Tuesday night after pulling out of a college parking lot following a workout.

   Olympia AD Kim Henshaw said DeRooy had no health issues that she was aware of and he'd been focused more on his fitness. "He was in the best shape he's been in in a long time," Henshaw told the Democrat and Chronicle.

   DeRooy worked for seven seasons under Jim Johnson before taking the varsity job when Johnson left for Greece Athena in 1996. He was well regarded in the Section 5 basketball fraternity, and one administrator recalled how DeRooy worked a summer camp for free as a sub while the camp director was undergoing radiation treatments.

   "He was absolutely the greatest guy, a caring do-anything-for-you guy," Johnson told the paper. "He devoted his life to teaching and coaching and kids. He was an excellent basketball coach but also a good person and friend."

   In January, Pittsford Mendon cross country coach Jason DeJoy died at the age of 40 just two months after guiding his boys team to a NYSPHSAA championship.

   Another passing: A funeral with full military honors is scheduled for today for retired coach John Spencer, a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Spencer, a World War II Navy veteran, died Saturday in Auburn at the age of 89.

   Spencer, a graduate of Ithaca High School and Ithaca College, coached at Owego, Dansville and then in the Rochester City School District. He went on to serve as the athletic director at Monroe and Franklin high schools in Rochester.

   A blow for Q'bury: It's doubtful Brett Rodriguez will be able to play football this fall for Queensbury, where he was a third-team all-state running back as a sophomore last fall. Rodriguez had his recent high school baseball season (he's a pitcher and infielder) cut short, and he's looking at a lengthy recovery.

   The Post-Star reported doctors Rodriguez was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome after doctors detected blood clots. If he resumes his baseball career next spring, his pitching days are quite possibly over.

   Neon Deion's school in trouble: The Texas Education Agency is moving to revoke the charter of Prime Prep Academy, a private school co-founded in 2012 by former football star Deion Sanders. The TEA alleges financial problems and mismanagement, according to school officials.

   Among the issues is the school repeatedly running afoul of the National School Lunch Program, which helped fund free or reduced-price meals for two-thirds of the school's students. The school was kicked out of the federal program, leading Prime Prep officials to say they could not continue to operate.

   Sanders went on Twitter to blame his former business partner and school co-founder for the problem, but the latest run-ins with Texas authorities reportedly stem from issues arising even after that individual left.

   Sanders and Superintendent Ron Price have said the Dallas-area school will appeal the charter revocation.

   In an unrelated story, Prime Prep was in the news this week as basketball sensation Emmanuel Mudiay spurned Southern Methodist University to turn pro. He intends to play overseas in the upcoming season and then almost certainly become a high selection in the NBA draft.

  
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   Revenge? It's summer, which means it's time for a handful of high school fall sports coaches to get hosed by their school boards for reasons they almost never share with us -- or their victims, for that matter.

   Bill Hueber, a 25-year coaching veteran (including the last 12 as boys varsity soccer coach) at Greece Athena, was recently denied reappointment despite being OK'd for return by his AD, the building principal and the superintendent -- and there's a component of the story that blew me away when I heard him explain on a Rochester radio talk show Wednesday.

   "I've done everything as a coach so I was shocked, to this day I am shocked, I'm just shocked -- this is not right," Hueber told WHAM-TV.

   The source of the shock was losing a 4-3 vote by the school board. Problem No. 1 is that 4+3=7, but there are nine members on the school board. For whatever reason, two board members who participated in votes before and after Hueber's proposed reappointment opted to abstain.

   And then there's problem No. 2, as explained by Hueber in the radio interview. One of the four "no" votes was cast by Adam Crandall, a former Athena student cut from the soccer team as a junior by ... wait for it ... Bill Hueber.

   I sincerely hope that the school board had real reasons for not reappointing Hueber. Because if revenge and/or another board member's disapproval of how much playing time he gave certain athletes are all they've got, then this is probably going to win 2014 statewide honors for the most dubious firing of a coach -- and I'd guess none of our voters will be abstaining.

   By the way, the school district issued a statement to WHAM-TV that said in part, "[W]e want to be clear that there were no conflicts of interest that prevented any board member from voting on the appointment. As board members are all community residents, many are parents of students or graduates, former employees, District graduates, or have other ties to the school district in other ways. It is the Board of Education's responsibility under the law to review and provide final approval for all staffing recommendations. All members of the Greece Central School District Board of Education take that responsibility seriously and cast their votes based upon what they believe to be in the best interests of the program and students."

   Extra points: Nanuet has named Valiant Jones as its new girls basketball coach. The former Nyack College standout previously coached the Hudson River Hornets, a female AAU team.


  
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