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Wednesday, June 24, 2015: Aquinas LB Jones commits to Notre Dame

   Leading off today: The University of Notre Dame was jonesin' for another Jones brother, and they got one.

   Linebacker Jamir Jones, an all-state first-team selection as a junior last fall at Aquinas, announced Tuesday that he has committed to the Fighting Irish, where his brother Jarron is a starting defensive tackle.

   Jamir Jones made the decision at Notre Dame's football camp, where defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder pulled him aside after practice to make the offer. He was already holding scholarship offers from a number of schools including Boston College, Pitt, Rutgers and Syracuse.

   "They were always one of the choices but there's no better place," Jones, who played QB much of last season while Penn State commit Jake Zembiec was injured, told the Democrat and Chronicle. "There's nothing better than being a student and a Notre Dame football player."

   Jones is listed at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, but his frame is filling out and he will be a candidate to move to defensive end not long after arriving in South Bend in 2016.

   I may have misplaced a reminder I wrote to myself about another commitment -- I sort of expect the IRS to write me a letter soon asking why I included that page in my tax return this spring -- but I believe the list of New York commitments from the Class of 2016 looks like this:

  • Ahmed Bah, WR, Grand Street Campus (Rutgers)
  • Brandon Barlow, DE, Shaker (Boston College)
  • Jamir Jones, LB, Aquinas (Notre Dame)
  • Adam Korutz, DL, Johnson City (Boston College)
  • Taysir Mack, WR, Grand Street Campus (Rutgers)
  • Ray Marten, TE, Poly Prep (Boston College)
  • Justin Morgan, OT, Poly Prep (Rutgers)
  • Elias Reynolds, LB, Poly Prep (Rutgers)
  • Jake Zembiec, QB, Aquinas (Penn State)
   Double duty: East Meadow senior Brian Kavanagh played in two big all-star games in as many days. He earned a spot in both the Grand Slam Challenge baseball game Monday and Empire Challenge contest Tuesday.

   Kavanagh was 1-for-2 with a stolen base in Nassau County's 3-1 baseball win over Suffolk. He played cornerback for the Long Island all-stars against New York City in the Empire Challenge at Hofstra University. He plans on playing baseball at Long Island University next season and is considering an offer to also dabble in football there.

   "When I first got the call about (the Empire Challenge) it was like a dream come true," Kavanagh told Newsday. "Then they called me for baseball, and I was like, 'Wow, this is even better.' I was on top of the world. I was so happy. I'm so thankful that I got the opportunity to play both."

   Moving on: Justin Culligan has come to the realization he's not likely to coach again at Whitehall, having twice been passed over by the school board in recent months.

   "I had planned on coaching track and football at Whitehall for the next 19 years and retiring," Culligan told The Post-Star. "They've made it pretty clear that they don't want me coaching there."

   Culligan, 40, a social studies teacher at the school for 11 years (he was voted favorite teacher by the junior and senior classes in this spring's yearbook), was fired in October as head football coach for purportedly using vulgar language -- an allegation he denies, part of the fallout from an incident-filled game vs. Rensselaer. Last week, the school board promoted assistant Dick Gould to head coach on the recommendation of AD Keith Redmond.

   Culligan, 19-14 in four seasons as football coach, also applied for and was passed over as head coach of the track and field team. "It's the first time I haven't coached track in 13, 14 years," Culligan told the paper.

   Culligan said he is mulling over whether to coach at another school this fall, or take the year off. His 8-year-old son, Sean, is involved in youth sports.

   "I haven't contacted any schools about coaching," he said. "The plan was for me to come back to Whitehall; now I'll start exploring my options, or not coach this year. I spent 21 years coaching other people's kids -- now I can coach my own."

   Veteran coach dies: Tony Cavaliere winning percentage while coaching boys soccer at Middletown was barely above .500 -- his record was 125-121-27 with four Section 9 titles from 1986-2000 -- but that doesn't mean he didn't make an impact in his community.


  • NYSPHSAA boys lacrosse
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  • Past years' brackets

  •    Cavaliere emigrated from Italy at age 11, learned English and Spanish, taught at Middletown schools and created a men's immigrant soccer league in town, tutoring players in English after games.

       He died on Friday at age 72 after a long-term illness, The Times Herald-Record reported.

       Later in his career, the at-times demanding coach took over the girls program at Burke Catholic for six seasons.

       "It kind of made him more of a softie because he realized that he had the opportunity where he could continue to grow," said Sara Cavaliere, his daughter. "He loved it."

       Hell-icopter dad: Music mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs was arrested by campus police Monday, accused of assaulting UCLA assistant coach Sal Alosi at the university where his son plays football. He was also charged with one count of making terrorist threats and one count of battery.

       Diddy's son, Justin Combs, is a undersized, seldom-used defensive back who signed with the Bruins out of Iona Prep in 2012.

       TMZ reported Diddy took exception to Alosi screaming at his son. Diddy, who was watching from the sidelines, later confronted the coach in his office and allegedly grabbed him.

       UCLA spokeswoman Nancy Greenstein confirmed the arrest following the incident at the Acosta Athletic Training Complex. The hip-hop icon was moved to Los Angeles County jail and posted bail later Monday.

       "I'm thankful that our staff showed the level of professionalism that they did in handling this situation," Bruins head coach Jim Mora said in a statement. "This is an unfortunate incident for all parties involved."

       A representative for Combs called accounts of the incident "wholly inaccurate," CNN reported.

       "Any actions taken by Mr. Combs were solely defensive in nature to protect himself and his son. We are confident that once the true facts are revealed, the case will be dismissed," the representative said in a statement posted on Combs' website.

       That's how to do it: Here's a lesson that some young athletes with professional ambitions should remember.

       New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski says he has made a little over $16.3 million in salary and bonuses in five in NFL seasons -- and has saved all of it. In excerpts from a forthcoming autobiography, "Gronk" explains that he's lived off endorsement income and socked away the rest, despite perceptions likely created by his reputation as an offseason party animal.

       "I live off my marketing money and haven't blown it on any big-money expensive cars, expensive jewelry or tattoos and still wear my favorite pair of jeans from high school," Gronkowski writes.

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