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Thursday, Oct. 5, 2016: Coach of PSAL football championship team dismissed

   Leading off today: Less than a year removed from a PSAL city championship, Bruce Eugene has been fired at Grand Street for letting a Long Island player use the football coach's Brooklyn address to establish residency, The New York Post reported Wednesday.

   The episode, which the paper reported was substantiated by investigators, allowed the unnamed student to attend Grand Street without paying the $7,119 out-of-district tuition.

   "There are enrollment regulations in place to protect students, families and taxpayers, and we have procedures for addressing employees who do not follow them," Department of Education spokeswoman Toya Holness told the paper.

   Eugene, 34, rode out two storms last year en route to the season-ending win at Yankee Stadium. He drew criticism for letting star running back Rahmel Ashby play out the season while facing two sets of serious criminal charges. Ashby, now attending a Miami college, was cleared of attempted murder but still faces a firearms charge.

   In addition, the coach was hit with a three-game suspension (later reduced to two) for holding a prohibited scrimmage with a New Jersey high school team.

   The paper also reported Eugene has gone to court to overturn the firing, claiming he signed a confidential settlement that allowed him to coach this year.

   Another departure: Niagara-Wheatfield football coach Brent Tylec is resigning effective Thursday, The Niagara Gazette reports.

   The school board will be asked to approve assistant Russell Nixon as the interim head coach.

   Coaching milestone: Baldwinsville girls volleyball coach Mary Jo Cerqua registered her 500th win in 27 seasons when the Bees swept West Genesee 25-14, 28-26, 25-8 on Tuesday.

   "It's a very special moment for me. I was trying not to cry. It's overwhelming," Cerqua told

   Her teams have won two NYSPHSAA and 18 Section 3 championships.

   Player milestone: Voorheesville senior Veda Hensel scored seven goals over three victories last week to reach 21 goals for the season and over 100 for her career.

   More soccer: Every time Wilson High needed a goal in its Niagara-Orleans League girls soccer game at Akron, Kayla Neuman responded. The senior midfielder scored all her team's goals -- including the game-winner on a penalty kick in the second overtime -- for a 4-3 victory. Neuman scored the game's first goal and then twice tied the game before booting home the winner.

   Watching the forecast: The Disney Cross Country Classic, scheduled for this Friday in Florida, is one of the major casualties as Hurricane Matthew bears down on the East Coast. Organizers cited and employee safety at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in announcing the cancellation.


   Obviously, the bigger concern for New York runners will be the status of the Manhattan Invitational, scheduled for Saturday at Van Cortland Park. National Weather Service projections remain optimistic yet fluid, but the hurricane (or what remains of it) could reach the metro New York City area over the weekend.

   Even if the likelihood of heavy rain and high winds begins to approach zero by Friday, it's possible some teams will be canceling out of the meet on Thursday to be safe.

   Sensible switcheroo: I'm not sure of the specifics that put it in motion, but the NYSSWA's Steve Grand in points out that some very sensible changes have been made to the Week 6 football schedule.

   When the season began, Massena was slated to face Tupper Lake this weekend. But with the clubs currently holding records of 5-0 and 0-5, respectively, that shaped up as a matchup that wouldn't benefit either squad.

   So, instead, Massena will play East Syracuse Minoa (5-0), which would have been sitting home alone because it couldn't find a replacement game after Oswego decided in August to drop its varsity for the season. Meanwhile, Tupper Lake will play Clinton (0-5), which also had a hole in its schedule.

   NCAA football proposal: The NCAA Division I Council has formally proposed the creation of brief early-signing periods in June and December, taking some of the pressure off high school players during their senior season. It represents a significant change from the current system that does not allow recruits to sign a letter of intent before early February of their senior year.

   If the NCAA Board of Directors signs off on creating a pair of three-day signing windows, the rule would go into effect for the 2017-18 recruiting cycle.

   The biggest potential issue with an early signing period in any sport is the possibility of a coaching change between the time an athlete signs and when he arrives on campus. On the other hand, coaches will be in a better position to manage the number of open scholarships and would not have to spend the months of December and January guarding all two dozen or so recruits from poaching by other schools.

   Coming up: I've started pulling together some pieces for the next blog, which hopefully will include an update on the looming issue of developing and approving pitch counts for NYSPHSAA baseball teams.

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