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Tuesday, July 5, 2016: Capellupo out as Pittsford Sutherland baseball coach

   Leading off today: Jim Capellupo will not return to the Pittsford Sutherland dugout next spring, and the Democrat and Chronicle reported over the weekend that it was not the veteran baseball coach's choice.

   "I really can't say much," Capellupo told the paper. "It was not my decision. My contract was not renewed."

   Capellupo was 224-73 in 12 seasons with eight Section 5 championships, including four straight beginning in 2005. The Knights were NYSPHSAA champions in 2010.

   A petition by 2016 season players on showing support for Capellupo had more than 400 signatures as of early Tuesday afternoon.

   The 411 on walk-ons: The Democrat and Chronicle did a feature Monday on the topic of football walk-ons, focusing in particular on Todd LaRocca, who was a first-team all-state quarterback in Class D for Bishop Kearney in Rochester.

   LaRocca is walking on at the University at Buffalo, where he expects to be one of six QBs in the program this fall. Those who saw him play the past two seasons will tell you LaRocca has the makings of a genuine Division I signal caller, but the walk-on route likely puts him two or more years away from a scholarship even if he progresses up the depth chart.

   "This is kind of what I've had to do before, me having to walk-on is a lot like high school, you have to show what you can do," LaRocca told the paper. "I like the challenge. It makes me a better person if I have to work for something, as opposed to being handed something."

   By the way, reporter James Johnson spoke with Old Dominion assistant coach Ron Whitcomb, who excelled at East Rochester and then the University of Maine as a QB. Whitcomb has worked New York very hard the past few seasons and has landed some early commitments only to have most of them back out when offers from more established programs came along.

   Address change: Jahmahl Pardner, a first-team all-state receiver for Aquinas in 2011, is heading off to his third college.

   Pardner tweeted on Tuesday that he's enrolling at Memphis after two seasons at Pittsburgh and the past two as a cornerback at Towson State. He made a strong early impression at Pitt but didn't make it all the way back from a knee injury (further complicated by a coaching change).

   At Towson, he appeared in 23 games in two seasons, starting 10 contests last fall. He'll have one season of eligibility at Memphis.

   More football: There have been a few stories around the state since mid-spring about USA Football's Heads Up Coaching Education Program, and you'll probably hear more about it in the fall.

   The program was endorsed in May by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. The initiative was introduced by the National Football League's youth


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  • development branch in 2012. It emphasizes player safety with a focus on tackling and blocking techniques, and it offers instruction in concussion recognition , heat preparedness and proper helmet and pads fitting.

       "We want to reassure the public that we are aware of concussions, and we are actively trying to prevent that from happening," state football coordinator Gary VanDerzee told The Daily Gazette. "This is another step to ensure the safety of the kids."

       Completing a four-module course results in coaches receiving $1 million in general liability insurance from USA Football, reported.

       "I strongly believe that coaching certification is critically important for the safety of the game, and what USA Football teaches us can only enhance the educational training that all of our coaches already have," Section 3 Executive Director John Rathburn said. "Let's give them a place to go where they can learn the game, and parents can have the confidence that our coach have received the proper certification."

       Extra points: Patrick Irving began work last month as the AD at Gates Chili after nearly three years in that role at Rochester East. Gates Chili went with an interim AD last school year while Ken Hammel made the move to high school principal.

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