Saturday, March 17, 2012

The LuLac Edition #1987, March 17th, 2012

At left is Coach Al Kopacz and his boys just before the last play in the overtime for the 1990 Championship. On the right, is Coach Paterno with his guys.
(Right click to enlarge photos).


This week we saw the plea deal put forth by State Senator Robert Mellow. Mellow plead to a few counts and will pay a fine, maybe get some jail time and end his career as a convicted felon. However, there are a few buildings with the good Senator’s name on them. One of the most prominent is the Mellow Auditorium at Lackawanna Junior College. Do you take his name off the building just because of the admission of guilt? Maybe it might be better not to name things after politicians until they have left office.
Speaking of naming buildings, the fans at Penn State have voted by a majority (not a great one but one nonetheless) to name Beaver Stadium after the late football coach Joe Paterno. A few thoughts here. Paterno got a raw deal from the Penn State Board of Trustees. And at some point, with or without the Sandsusky scandal breaking, there was going to be an effort to name the stadium after him anyway. I think naming the Stadium after Mr. Paterno is a good way to honor his legacy and service and maybe take the bad taste out of the mouths of the may Penn State fans who feel Joe Pa got shoved aside and actually blamed for the disgusting alleged actions of Sandusky.
Locally, there is talk of possibly naming the Hanover Area High School Stadium after Coach Alex Kopacz. Recently the Coach was named to Pennsylvania Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Many of his former players are trying to lobby the Hanover Board to name the Stadium after Mr. Kopacz. I had arrived on the Hanover scene in the late 80s and had a few interactions with the soft spoken Kopacz. I was stunned when his players told me what a stern task master he was. Because I had gone to a high school with only a baseball and basketball program, (St. John’s had jettisoned football after the 1963 season) I never followed high school football. Until 1990. What a time to start. That was the year that Kopacz led the Hawkeyes to an undefeated season. As a matter of fact the team won 23 straight games from 1989 to 1991. It should also be noted that during the run for the championship in 1991, Kopacz lost his father right in the middle of the year. Both he and his son Brian (who played on the team his 4 years at HA) had to deal with that loss in the midst of that run. Here’s Kopacz’ resume as a football coach:
15 years Head Football Coach Hanover Area High School 1982-1996.
Overall Record 101-70-2 Winningest Coach in school history.
5 Wyoming Valley Conference Championships.
4 Eastern Conference Championships (1983,1984,1990,1991).
1 District Championship (1996) District Runner-up (1992).
Class AA State Championship (1990) Class AA State Runner-up (1991).
Top Class B School in State (1983) by Harrisburg Patriot News.
30 game winning streak 1989-1991 23 game winning streak 1982-1984.
2 undefeated seasons (1983, 1990).
5 time Wyoming Valley Conference Coach of the Year (1983,1984,1990,1991,1996)
Pa. State Football Coaches Association AA Coach of the Year (1990).
Associated Press Pa. Small School Coach of the Year (1991).
3-0 record in Unico All Star Games.
Defeated Meyers High School in 1987. This Meyers team had several division 1. players including 2 future NFL players in Rocket Ismail and Qadry Ismail.
Big 33 Assistant Coach (1992) Victory over Maryland.
Enshrined in Luzerne County Chapter of Pa. Sports Hall of Fame.
Ran Skills & Drills football seminar for high school and mini football coaches (13 years).
Analyst for local high school football for WICK Radio ( 8 years) after retirement.
Will a Stadium be named for Alex Kopacz? That’s up to the school board. There is a lot of passionate lobbying for it from the young men who played for him. Whether or not his name is inscribed on that Stadium wall is in the future. But what we know in the present is that Coach Kopacz made an indelible impression on the players he coached, on the students he taught and on a late blooming high school football fan like me who jumped on the right bandwagon at the right time.
NOTE: Mrs. LuLac threw out over my very, very loud objections my 1990 Hanover Area Championship Tee Shirt this January. But my memories as a fan of that year will always stay with me.


At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only reason I'd let my wife throw out such a classic t-shirt would be because its condition was toxic and indefensible. Am I right?

At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Professor Milburn Cleaver, OPA said...

A Happy St. Patrick's day to you all. I only hope you are responsible this evening and do not claim any innocent lives due to your reckless debauchery.

The business of this classroom goes forward...

When it comes to Coach Paterno, emotions run high like a fistful of snakes. I highly doubt that one can bring up his name in the many bars you patronize without getting out and avoiding a fight. Such is the fever of controversy surrounding the man.

I sympathize with those die hard Penn State fans who refuse to see the forest for the trees. And although Mr. Yonki is a dynamic student, unfortunately with his paper today he earns a C.

To name a school, federal building, or a football stadium (all of which are to an extent funded by tax dollars) after a person is a great honor to the person and his family. However, such an honor must be earned.

It is true that Coach Paterno did many great things. He molded many young minds. He put academics ahead of sports (which I greatly admire, since there are so very very few coaches of that philosophy today or yesterday).

Yet, class, the harsh reality of life is that sometimes one simple act, or in Coach Paterno's case, lack of an act, can destroy all of the good that has come before. By only doing the minimum, the Coach did the most maximum of damage not only to the youngster who had the misfortune of being engaged in a perverted act with Sandusky, but to countless future victims of this monster.

And now, we are going to re-name Penn State's stadium after him???
This does not make sense.

When Richard Nixon was laid to rest, President Clinton gave an eloquent eulogy at the funeral services. Clinton stated that to be fair Mr. Nixon should be "judged by his full record."
Fair enough, but have we seen any federal buildings named after the man who opened China, ended the Vietnam War and forged the first serious detente with Russia??? Of course not. Yet, in his final years Nixon found respect amongst his peers and an acceptance. But the blemish of Watergate never went completely away, and it never will.

IN short, there is nothing wrong with a sinner asking forgiveness. Yet, the mistake many of them make is that they mistake forgiveness for absolution of responsibility.

We can forgive a murderer for his crimes...but he still must go to jail, or hopefully the electric chair. We have forgotten this simple lesson.

I forgive Joe Paterno for turning his head after doing the minimum. But I do not believe he should be rewarded in any way. In fact, had he lived he may very well have found himself brought up on charges. Yet, we shall rename a stadium after him.

Since we are going down this road, why not, Students, rename the athletic department after Coach McQueary, and of course the shower room after Coach Sandusky???
It all makes as much sense as naming a stadium after Mr. Paterno.

In my view, letting the statue remain is appeasement enough. And I only agree with that action because the pigeons will eventually destroy it. Something every victim or relative of a victim of child abuse will agree with me on and....
Something to think about this morning.
Class Dismissed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take the names of felons off everything! Mellow Theater, McDade Expressway, all of them! In the end the only one left standing will
be the Robert Casey Highway.

At 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who gives a flying f*** what the phony prof. thinks. His opinion ranks right down there with whale shit and that's at the bottom of the ocean. He reminds of of former TL publisher O'Connor who said (back in the day) that they would inflict a nespaper on Wyoming Valley. With some luck, the professor will go the way of O'Connor.

At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we need to wait until after the trial before we draw any conclusions about JoPa or name any structure after him.


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