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Friday, Aug. 19, 2016: Catching up on developments and an Olympic gold

   Leading off today: A friend drives up from Warsaw to Rochester almost every Wednesday to load up on supplies for his business, pick up the latest releases at a comic book store and hang out with us. We'll typically grab some lunch, hit a movie or do some shopping and watch some TV and indulge your humble blogger's pet rabbits when they beg for treats.

   At some point in Wednesday's conversation, we got talking about former NFL coach Jon Gruden and what it would take for him to leave a cushy and lucrative television job to return to the sideline. (Conclusion: He'll never go back to coaching.)

   We also somehow got on the subject of the massive flooding taking place this week in Louisiana, lamenting how a genuine human tragedy is largely lost in the coverage of the election campaign, the Olympics and a lot of piddly stuff out there that shouldn't even rate a mention from the mainstream media but does anyway. (Conclusion: Not enough is being done for the people most affected by this natural disaster.)

   And, because the world of high school sports is so vast, both of the above topics somehow make it into today's blog.

   NYSPHSAA and partner lend a hand: With the flooding having caused thousands of people to flee with literally little more than the clothes on their back, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and Naples-based CP Sportswear have sent clothing to the United Way to help some of the victims.

   CP Sportswear, which this month begins its second three-year contract as the official merchandise supplier of the NYSPHSAA, is donating shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants and other items via the United Way. CP Sportswear owner Don Knataitis is packing up NYSPHSAA merchandise from past championship events and sending it to those in need.

   "When Don first suggested this idea of sending clothing from past NYSPHSAA Championship events, I thought it was a great way to show support for those in need," NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas said in a statement Thursday.

   Knataitis' inspiration came from personal knowledge of the affected area. "Having spent many summers in that area of the Gulf, we were deeply moved by the hardships the people of Louisiana and Mississippi are going through," h said. "This is a small way of trying to help many people with the basic of necessities."

   As if the start of a new school year doesn't bring with it enough chaos in itself, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association was flooded out of its headquarters. Furniture, equipment and computer hardware were ruined by a foot and a half of standing water.

   The Gruden connection: In Florida this week, Carrollwood Day School fired head football coach Lane McLaughlin despite a successful nine-year run with the program.

   McLaughlin had a 61-31 record.

   The move was unavoidable, AD Baker Mabry told the Tampa Bay Times. "It was a decision that we had to make," he said without divulging specifics.

   The Patriots will start the season with one of their assistants serving as interim head coach. One of those assistants happens to be Jon Gruden, the former Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach. Gruden's son Jayson is a sophomore on the team.

   Golden girl: After two years of struggling with injuries, Dalilah Muhammad won gold Thursday in Rio, becoming the first American woman to win the Olympic 400-meter hurdles crown.

   The former Cardozo star finished in 53.14 seconds in a light rain for a comfortable margin of victory.

  
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   "This means so much," she said. "I've been working so hard for this. The last two years haven't been the best but to finally be where I'm supposed to be at the right time, and I'm so happy about that."

   At Cardozo, Muhammad set a state-meet record of :57.81 en route to victory in 2008. She set the overall state high school record of :57.09 the previous season.

   Canton loses coach: Canton football coach John Vandevere is leaving this week after his late selection as the new athletic director at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, an NCAA Division III provisional member in Williamsport, Pa.

   Vandevere led the Golden Bears to a 5-3 record last year in his first season.

   "It's been a lifelong dream of his to have a position like that," Canton AD Bill Porter said. "He got our parents and kids together (Tuesday) night and told them that the timing couldn't be worse, but the opportunity only presents itself so often. We are all very appreciative of the time he spent here, what he brought to our football program and community."

   Porter said he will recommend assistant coach Tom Cloce as the new head coach.

   Vandevere was an assistant at Canton in 2013-14 after working as a receivers coach at Florida Atlantic.

   College commitment: MSG Varsity reporter Elio Velez tweeted Thursday that Bishop Loughlin girls basketball player Milicia "Mimi" Reid has committed to the University of Mississippi.

   Reid was a third-team all-state guard in Class AA last winter as a junior.


  
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