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Friday, Aug. 12, 2016: Mechanicville loses coach on eve of opening practice

   Leading off today: Mechanicville coach Kevin Collins is stepping down on the eve of the football preseason in order to take a teaching job in another school district.

   Collins has been hired as a physical education teacher and assistant coach at Greenwich, The Saratogian reported. The appointment is on the agenda for Monday's Greenwich school board meeting, and Collins confirmed his interview and job offer Thursday when contacted.

   Collins, who also had a five-year stint as athletic director, took over for John Taglione 17 years ago at Mechanicville, where he taught. He said re applied at Greenwich, where he and his family live, after recently seeing the job posting.

   "Hopefully everything goes well and I get appointed," he told the paper. "It's a great opportunity for my family, to teach and coach where I live; make a positive impact and doing all the things I've been able to do in Mechanicville."

   Mechanicville is riding a streak of five winning seasons, including records of 7-3 in 2014 and 6-3 last fall.

   Levy finalizing her Plan B: Lexi Levy is a two-time all-state basketball guard for Seton Catholic in Binghamton. Entering her junior season last year, she was already committed to play at the University of Hartford, coached by former UConn star guard Jen Rizzotti.

   But Rizzotti left in April to become the coach at George Washington University, leaving Levy with a decision to make. She opted to decommit from Hartford and re-open her recruitment.

   Not surprisingly, the process seems to be leading Levy back to Rizzotti, this time at GWU. The website reports Levy intends to take an official visit this month after Rizzotti returns from her stint as an assistant coach on the U.S. women's basketball team.

   "I am just waiting for Jen to get back from Rio and then I will see what happens," Levy told the website over the weekend. "Everything is in place with Jen, we are just waiting to visit to see how I like it."

    • Aaliyah Jones, the state Class AA player of the year in 2013 as a Bishop Ford junior, announced she will transfer from Fordham to Siena.

   Jones missed her senior season at Murry Bergtraum after an ACL injury and played just three games as a college freshman before suffering another season-ending injury. She averaged 9.4 minutes per game as a Fordham sophomore.

   Nail it, totally: USA Today has a weekly column on the recruiting process, and the feature by Fred Bastie is geared toward all prospective college athletes rather than just the elites.

   A recent installment of the feature identified five pet peeves frequently cited by college coaches, and they're all completely consistent with what I also hear from college coaches.

   They are:

  • Athletes who don't take care of business in the classroom.
  • Athletes who send impersonal emails or post inappropriate tweets.
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  • Recruits who ask about scholarship money in the first conversation.
  • Over-involved, overbearing parents.
  • Emails/correspondence from third parties.
   Regarding mom and dad, Bastie writes: "Really there isn't a coach in the country

(at any level) that wants to deal with a full-fledged Helicopter Parent. ... If you think your parents might meet the definition of Helicopter Parents then you better be a lot better than your competition, or college coaches will pick the other athlete every time."

   I think I've mentioned it in past blogs, but something a now-retired local coach told me many years ago has stood the test of time: When approached by a parent who knows their high school student's statistics by heart, flee as fast and as far away as possible.

   Extra points: Lancaster St. Mary's announced that Brittany Heist has been hired as girls soccer coach. Heist, who currently coaches a club program, inherits a program that won last year's Monsignor Martin Association small schools playoff championship.

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