Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sports Illustrated article

On the January "Start a new post," Mark Rauterkus wrote:

Get the new Sports Illustrated magazine with Steelers #92 on the cover. Read the artcle @ the Quips of Aliquippa.

We need to get that article to Dr. Lane of PPS and others. Sports matter. A track story is woven in there too along with the football and community insights. (Dr Lane loves relay talk.)

Coach Mark Rauterkus


Questioner said...

Here's a link to the article:

- So, it should be easy to send the article to Dr. Lane.

Anonymous said...

Read the article. Played against and with Quip kids as a youngster and then coached against them.
Sorry, but you have provided a bad analogy to an albeit great story.
Pittsburgh dwarfs Aliquippa ten fold, and the politics and money/payola taking place here undoubtedly would be shameful to compare to a small town and small district.
Dr.Lane, this continues to be a ludicrous idea, hatched and propagated either by fools or individuals with vested interests.

Mark Rauterkus said...

"Pittsburgh dwarfs Aliquippa ten fold, ..." so it was posted.



Please spell it out. Numbers would be welcome too.

Second request: Explain how an individual would and could have "vested interests" in terms of PPS Athletic Reform.

Perhaps couch salesmen are driving the idea so Pittsburgh schools can end all sports teams so as to propagate couch potatos?

Waiting for the wise bully to explain.

Bonus request: Share a "good analogy" from the recent reading (SI) to support the stance that ignoring issues in school athletics is the right thing to do.

Anonymous said...


You mean like how Aliquippa has 10,000 residents?

Do you mean like how the district has perhaps 1800 students.

"Vested interests"? Like the reform act would open coaching positions to non-teachers?

And why am I the bully, buddy? You're the one in attack mode. Funny how the moderator of this site talks out of both sides of her mouth where you're concerned, eh?

BTW, have you ever even been near Aliquippa, let alone in town?

Get off the stump, buddy. Your rhetoric isn't getting anywhere.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Here is how: "Dwarfs" and "fool" and "politics" and "money/payola" and "shameful" and "ludicrous" are a few of the ways of recent bully / name calling -- and WORST is how those are never supported with evidence and facts. Harsh attacks from the faceless to the messenger while avoiding the message is spot on bully behavior.

Oh, and "both sides of mouth" too.

Aliquippa, (been there and know folks from there), isn't dwarfed by any place, especially in the realm of sports.

But, here are numbers:

Aliquippa is AA in boys basketball, reporting enrollment of 148. Same as Chartiers Houston and two less than Avonworth.

PPS Sci Tech should have 150.

Wilkinsburg has 155.

Pgh Westinghouse once had 171. But with the re-mix there, it might dip to 150 and perhaps even worse. Any projections would be noted and worthy.

Pgh Oliver has 183.
Langley has 188.
U-Prep could be 190.

All those listed above would be AA in basketball. However, it seems that U-Prep and Sci Tech would play together, giving that coop team more than 300. That puts that school team into the range of Valley and McGuffey and AAA classification.

* Footnote: #s of 9th, 10th, 11th grade boys are used as that is the criteria for boys sports in PIAA classification process.

Mark Rauterkus said...

"Vested interests" chatter.

BTW, the PPS coaching positions are OPEN to non teachers by a crack already.

Perhaps the real vested interest it to keep the coaching positions as a mostly CLOSED shop so ONLY teachers can coach?

This is a 'closed shop vs open shop' battle line that unions and professions and mgt everywhere through history eventually face.

Frankly, that isn't a worry I detect from the PPS teachers, but one that I have wondered about from the administrators. When teachers coach more power resides with the admin.

Case in point from another district in another decade: One younger women teacher coached her sports team in a way that yanked her boss' comfort. Perhaps she asked for and demanded things that they had to provide, but were not happy to do so. Hence, the next year, this teacher not only got her coaching position re-opened, but also found herself re-appointed to an elementary building within the district.

I've seen this in other districts (not PPS) a half-dozen times with teacher/coaches who I have known. Not too often. But it happens. Backlash. Whatever.

No doubt, professional teachers put a lot on the line to go those extra steps to coach sports teams.

The REAL VESTED INTEREST, I'd say, comes from the top administration's loss of power should fewer teachers coach and the management of non-teaching coaches rely upon supervision and relationships beyond next year's teacher placement.

Coaching terms in the PFT teachers' contract is one of a dozen or more topics. To call that issue a 'vested interest' is a stretch -- except for the mild interest of the UNION and the PPS CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS Team.

Yesterday's Hero said...

Sounds like the only bully here is you, Mark.
And it sounds like your numbers are akin to mixing apples and oranges. We aren't talking about one Pittsburgh school, but all of them.
Do you think you are fooling someone?
As far as being nameless/faceless, it is something teachers need to be and I am surmising that this was a coach and teacher who was responding to you. Unlike you, he must worry about putting his name out there, or do you have some inane statistics that do not relate to that subject, either.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Think again.

The PIAA and high school sports are NOT about districts, but rather about schools (for classification only) and teams from schools and athletes from schools. The district is not REALLY a factor in athletics.

I am not mixing the apples and oranges -- nor making bad analogy defenses.

Team to team comparisons are what matters in sports the most, then it is school to school. District to district, not so much.

As per talk of ALL OF THEM -- as in All Schools -- then talk about the LEAGUES, the WPIAL, the District VIII, the PIAA.

"Do you think you are fooling someone?" No. Do you?

Teachers do not NEED to be faceless. It is a choice. Anonymous is fine. Posters don't need to be bullies either. What you surmise and what I do are different. BTW, I surmise that you are him too, but just with a different handle, again.


Apples = students;
Apple bushel buckets = teams;
Apple trees = schools;
Apple orchards = leagues;

One orchard (DVIII) is right in the middle of another orchard (DVII = WPIAL).

The school district could be represented as various farmers with certain choices of fertilizers, ambitions and options. Some farmers might only have one apple tree. Others a few. Farmers would also have other realms to care for (say oranges, livestock, etc.).

Competitions in HS sports are among student to students and among teams to teams. That's apples to apples and bushels to bushels.

An orange, go figure, could be a musician -- or -- a student in a calc class -- or -- some fully different asset to a farmer.

The head farmer, say Farmer Lane, could choose to focus 100% of the efforts on the chickens, a stable of horses and other fields and gardens and leave the apples to their own -- out of sight, out of mind. Ripe, rot, no worries.

Meanwhile, we're still waiting for you to deliver some analogy and any value for moving the conversation in the wake of the SI feature.

Teacher66 said...

"Teachers do not NEED to be faceless"
The most patently ridiculous statement there could possibly be within the current era and atmosphere in PPS.
Thank you. I am a teacher who will happily skip over anything you have to say henceforth.

Old Timer said...

Let's get back to the original note regarding the article, shall's a fantastic article and a true testament not only to the town and its people, but also to coaches, athletics and what an athletic program can do. If that is the point--to compare it to Pittsburgh--the point is well taken. It would be nice to have this district's kids and families rally around such a premise---rally around each school and its teams, and slowly build each school's teams from the ground level up.
I'm not naive. Not every team is going to do well. I know that Aliquippa really gets nailed in a couple of sports, for instance, but that's not the point.
The question is--how do we get there? Aliquippa IS much smaller than Pittsburgh and with increased size, population and number of schools comes numerous problems. Everyone needs to be on the same page, embracing the same vision, with the kids at the top of the chain.
Knowing what I do about our city, leadership would need to convince egos already existent in coaching to share the vision. It would need to embrace community programs as necessary building blocks to success, and yes, it would need to refurbish the coaching ranks with people willing to share the vision and realize that this is not a seasonal approach---you have to work year round to catch up to the pack, whether you are a teacher or not.
I guess my problem with all of this is that we are talking so many schools, and with it, so many stakeholders.
Can everyone get on the same page?
Can a strong A.D. have the vision and managerial abilities to keep all adults on the path?
(I don't know the guy in charge now or his abilities)
Will central office interfere in the A.D.'s job?

To Mark and others who are closely looking at this new avenue, it's an interesting idea. I like positive change and like a challenge and I am sure more than a few coaches and players would truly enjoy the competition. But again, it's the majority of coaches and schools I would worry about. Can an A.D. empower and energize coaches who just go through the motions? If not, can he successfully get rid of guys just hanging on for some additional bucks and recognize hungry, dedicated coaching types, whether they are teachers or not?

And lastly, can he work in concert with City Parks and Rec to build programs that will build up school programs in non-school hours?

To me, this question is all about leadership. Appealing to Dr.Lane is a no-brainer. But is there a workaholic, dedicated, visionary A.D. to make it happen?

As stated previously, there are large pockets of apathy throughout our city. Having read and thought about your posts, Mark, it seems to me that inspiring adults--teacher or not--can 'wake the dead'. Can we get them in place?

It all starts with leadership.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Thanks for getting to the article. Nods. Leadership is a huge element.

Today's PPS has one AD (Athletic Director) who is over all PPS schools, all grades. His role is more of 'air traffic control' and less for leadership of teams and athletes.

The plan from PPS's hired reformer, I think, is calling for changes at the building level with the present Athletic Facilitators / Coordinators. These people get a couple of prep hours per day to do that job with sports teams (schedules, eligibility, supplies) and still teach nearly a full class schedule. The new proposal being floated would make a half-dozen (?) new positions in PPS as full time ADs in schools.


So, perhaps some of the leadership can come from them. But really, they are more like the 'generals' and the ultimate boss is the superintendent / board of ed.

A new layer of middle management, building ADs, could do important jobs to provide for athlete's opportunities and experiences. They could rally the troops too and further empower coaches and volunteers.

But values, priorities, and resources have to be charted and provided.

Doubts linger.

Was there any talk of the AD at Aliquippa in the article?

Old Timer said...

Agreed, Mark, about the AD idea. This is what I have heard, too and while the AD himself is not mentioned in the article, to me at least our district has a number of egos within the coaching ranks that would need to be reigned in by one central figure. George Cupples would have been a splendid leader. Bob Pajak would have been, as well. These two guys would have held coaches accountable and continually reminded them of the charge the district had undertaken.
And both men being respected in the city would have commanded the attention of Parks and Rec and likely would have been able to build a district-city consortium.
I simply feel that a large district like ours needs a guy in charge who knows the district, the kids, the coaches, the sports and administration.
Not too many of these types left.
And if the PPS is going to put a figurehead in to oversee--as they did in Bob's final years---a guy who knows little about sports and is part of the bureaucracy, then jumping into the WPIAL is not the 'all in' move it needs to be for success.

bystander said...

Our city is in debt. To expand and improve Parks and Rec teams you need money that is not easily available. There are programs in operation for indoor soccer that use every minute of available gym time and CYA basketball teams have permits to use the rec gyms on weekends leaving little or no open time. Really city parks & rec staff deserve more credit than they get.

Our kids go to neighboring municipalities to make playing on a rec league possible in some cases. The staff at some city rec centers are stretched thin. Our kids play soccer in Brentwood and basketball in Mt. Lebo. ok, now this is beginning to sound pathetic, but do you get the message?

Anonymous said...

Is the presentation to the Board of the committee headed by Mr. House on any schedule yet?

It seems at least a few weeks ago that it was mentioned that the committee would be providing info in two weeks. Don't want anyone to be reminded of the dreadfully long wait for the Title lX audit report. lol

Questioner said...

The Title IX Report is now described as the impetus for the current overall sports reform.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Today, Feb 2, was the day when Jake House had an appointment with Dr Lane to get and give insights into this matter. Yesterday at City Council Dr Lane said (via 3rd person report) that she had not even seen the report yet. Perhaps read Vs seen. The Athletic Reform Committee meets in mid Feb for an update.