Coaches Stung by Loss of Sports Seasons

The players are not the only ones being hurt by the loss of high school sports

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Terry McCaulley

Head Baseball Coach Kevin Sollener, seen here celebrating last year’s Mountain League title, was excited for what he thought might be a championship 2020 season.

The abrupt cancellation of high school sports isn’t just affecting the players. High school coaches are also experiencing the pain of cancelled games and seasons.

Like their college and professional counterparts, high school coaches put in countless hours, but without the high paying salaries. They spend months each off-season helping their athletes improve, all for the love of their sport and their players.

I miss being around the kids and everyone at practice everyday. I’m disappointed that all the kids that worked hard over the off season won’t get a chance to show what they can do”

— Assistant baseball coach Dave Mease

For Tyrone athletic director and girls basketball coach Luke Rhoades, the cancellation of the basketball season in the middle of his first state playoff run as a head coach left him and his players wondering what could have been.

Rhoades’ 2019-2020 team won the Mountain League and were District 6 runner ups. They won their first two state playoff games and were hoping to punch their ticket to the Final Four when the season was suspended and later cancelled.

“This has been very frustrating as a coach and athletic director,” said Rhoades, “I feel so bad for the athletes. I texted my team and I hope they realize how important it is for them to work on their own. I think we were playing very good basketball at the time. Anything was possible.”

For Tyrone’s softball and baseball coaches, losing this season stings badly because both were expected to contend for league and district titles this spring.

“First and foremost, I’m deeply saddened and disappointed for the players,” said Tyrone assistant boys baseball coach Dave Mease. “I miss being around the kids and everyone at practice everyday. I’m disappointed that all the kids that worked hard over the off-season won’t get a chance to show what they can do.”

After years of losing seasons, both teams had a special feeling about the 2020 campaign.

“We wanted to improve on our school record 14 wins last season and there are only two teams in the Mountain League this senior class had never beaten, so our final goal was to make sure we beat them for the first time,” said head softball coach Doug Myers.

Last season the softball team lost a heart breaker against Bellefonte in the district championship game and the baseball team lost to the eventual state champions Mount Union in the district semifinals.

Both teams had the talent and determination to come back this year and finish what they started last season.

“It’s driving me crazy not seeing and being around everyone and having practice every day. I truly believe this team was better prepared to do better and make it farther than last year’s team,” said head baseball coach Kevin Sollener.

For the track and tennis teams they reached the ultimate goals last season and were looking to build off of their stellar 2019 seasons.

The track team sent multiple athletes to the state competition including a 4×4 team that broke the school record in the district match to advance, while tennis had two teams advance to the district doubles and two take part in district singles.

Now I just spend the evenings at home instead of the courts. I’m really disappointed because I was really looking forward to the guys having a great season”

— Head boys tennis coach Randy Irvin

“I had the team work on fundamentals, we did running for conditioning, and played a lot of challenge matches,” said head boys tennis coach Randy Irvin.

For these coaches, sitting at home this time of year is not normal, which makes losing the season even harder.

“Now I just spend the evenings at home instead of the courts. I’m really disappointed because I was really looking forward to the guys having a great season,” said Irvin.

Mease is doing his best to keep himself occupied without baseball.

“I’m spending more time with my wife and I changed my work schedule so that I’m working during the time when baseball practice and games would be to take my mind off of the season not being played,” said Mease.