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Banquet can work here, too

December 24, 2002|by TIM KOELBLE

There is an opportunity that exists for high schools throughout the Tri-State area in football and basketball if coaches, athletic directors and business people are willing to be involved in what I think would be a very meaningful recognition program.

For 21 years in Ohio, I was involved with two scholastic clubs that had the following goal in mind: "To work for the betterment of the sport and to achieve good sportsmanship." All-star players and coaches were honored, but the highlight of these clubs was each school selecting a student-athlete nominee. At the respective awards banquet, the winner would be announced to highlight the evening.

We ran two banquets, football and basketball, each with anywhere from 350 to 500 people in attendance pending ticket sales. We had "name" guest speakers including Ohio State's John Cooper, Woody Hayes and LSU's Nick Saban for football, and Cincinnati's Bob Huggins and OSU's Clark Kellogg for basketball.

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We had regular club newsletters, a pretty doggone good awards pamphlet, great community involvement and a whole lot of fun working on a volunteer basis for the good of the student-athletes in the various communities.

I am here to let you know this can be done here.

From the south end of Frederick County, through Washington County and on up in to South Central Pennsylvania and to the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, we can make this happen here in The Herald-Mail's coverage area if all of you have the interest in helping, on a minimal basis.

Obviously, with the experience in doing so, I'm more than willing to work from the ground floor in establishing these non-profit entities. The awards dinners were not done cheaply. Area business was heavily involved in financial support as sponsors of different awards.

Doing this in the Tri-State area would triple the size of our ventures in Ohio. Therefore, I would presume it would also require more funds to be raised. Our banquets were top-notch. Our awards were top-notch. Scholarships, in the name of sponsors, were awarded. The whole shabang was first class.

However, remember one thing ... it takes everyone being on the same page.

Interested? We'll set a separate organizational meeting for football in the near future if anyone is interested, followed later with one for basketball.

My e-mail is at the end of this column, or contact me at The Herald-Mail.

It's like a TV commercial - "Once you get involved, I guarantee you'll be glad you did!"

n For all scribes in this business, it is the time of year when we do the usual lists that includes wishes, thank yous and the year in review.

Let me keep things in a simple mode.

My wife Peggy and myself are glad to be here and we wish each and every one of you a joyous holiday season and a fruitful 2003.

Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Morning Herald. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at koelble@herald-mail.com

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