The Town Crier

The Town Crier

Postby PointGuard » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:16 pm

Youngstown…you’ve heard of it, right? But I doubt you know where it’s located. Well, maybe you’ve heard it’s in Ohio, but walk a couple miles east from Youngstown and you’d be in Pennsylvania.

Population: 66,000 and change. But the town’s dying. In 1930 there were 170,000 souls here. It’s been a steady decline ever since…a downward spiral for nearly 90 years. You’ve heard about the Rust Belt. Well, Youngstown has one of the bigger layers of rust. Yeah, we’re the county seat, but so what! The whole county is wasting away.

I grew up in Youngstown and still live here. In fact, I’ve hardly even gotten out of the county. My dad never made much money, and as the manufacturing jobs disappeared, so did a series of low-level jobs for him. After finishing high school, I was able to go to Eastern Gateway Community College since it didn’t cost all that much and I could live at home. But there was no way I could afford to follow that up at a 4-year college.

But you read this because you were interested in basketball. And what’s all this got to do with round-ball?

I wish I could say it was to tell you about my stellar basketball career. But hell, I’m only 5’7” tall. I thought I was a good player, though. So I turned out to make the high school team. The coach quickly dispelled me of my lofty opinion of my own talent and any dreams I might have had. So rather than play sports, I inhaled them vicariously….watching and reading about all kinds of sports and playing pretty much any video sports game I could get my hands on.

So is this about how I learned so much about the intricacies of basketball that I became a great basketball coach? Sorry, no way. I’m not that talented nor am I a masochist. Besides, my temper would result in me leading the nation in technical fouls, ejections, and enough fines to eclipse my salary.

While attending Eastern Gateway CC, I wasn’t even much of a student. I attended when I had to and did enough to get by with lots of C’s. But I did enjoy my journalism courses, and one of the journalism instructors encouraged me and made sure I wrote for the college newspaper. When she realized that I wasn’t going to be able to take any college courses beyond my 2 years at Eastern Gateway, she pulled a few strings with an editor at The Youngstown Vindicator to land me a job as a sports reporter for that daily newspaper (such as it is—like all newspapers readership and circulation are dying).

I guess the next logical question is...who am I? I’m Steve Porter. I’ve now been a sports reporter for 6 years and am still on the staff of The Vindicator. Not going to get rich, but I like what I do. I cover any and all local sports, but my favorite is basketball.
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Re: The Town Crier

Postby Wayne23 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:16 am

Youngstown? Never heard of it!
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Re: The Town Crier

Postby PointGuard » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:35 pm

Wayne23 wrote:Youngstown? Never heard of it!

That's because you're from.....OLDSTERStown. :p
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Re: The Town Crier

Postby PointGuard » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:43 pm

My previous introductory remarks bring us to the only basketball worth mentioning in Youngstown. And that would be the Youngstown State Penguins. Lately, though, they have not only been last alphabetically in the Horizon League but also last in the standings. Finally at the end of the 2015-2016 season, the AD got the cojones to fire Coach Jerry Francis who I’m sure remained coach there for so long because he never asked for (or was given) a raise. Plus maybe he knew where some of skeletons were buried. The guy was a decent recruiter but his player development and game coaching skills didn’t fill a thimble.

Athletic Director Vic Morrissey has been taking his sweet time to hire a new coach. All sorts of rumors though. Based on some inside information, the final choice comes down to either Latrelle Brothers, K.D. Durst, or Everett Ashworth. Brothers has the most experience including being head coach at South Carolina Upstate before becoming the 1st assistant coach to Frankie Segretti, the legendary coach at Temple. One wonders why Brothers would consider the moribund program at Youngstown State, but maybe he’s itching to take on head coaching reins again. Durst is a guy who was a high school coach before becoming the head coach at Division 2 Gannon University in Pennsylvania where he’s compiled a decent, albeit not overly impressive, record. Ashworth is young. He was a star player for Marshall and has risen quickly through assistant coaching jobs for different Division I teams. Last season he was 1st assistant coach at Nevada, a team that impressively made it to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tourney.
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Re: The Town Crier

Postby Wayne23 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:58 pm

Hoosit gunna bee!!! Ooh! Ooh! Pick me!!!
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Re: The Town Crier

Postby PointGuard » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:38 am

Well, AD Morrissey dithered long enough that Everett Ashworth has been hired as head coach for Bucknell University. That narrows the choice for head coach to either Latrelle Brothers or K.D. Durst. Both have visited Youngstown State and gone through interviews. I’m thinking that either would be an improvement over the Jerry Francis who let the Youngstown State program spiral down into obscurity.
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Re: The Town Crier

Postby PointGuard » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:28 pm

Youngstown State Hires Basketball Coach

By Steve Porter

Youngstown State held a press conference today announcing the hiring of Kendrick (K.D.) Durst as their new head basketball coach.

Athletic Director Vic Morrissey said, “Following an in-depth search, we’re proud to announce that K.D. Durst has accepted our offer as head coach. K.D. impressed us on his commitment to academics to go along with his plans to re-invigorate the basketball program here.”

After graduating from Rice University, where he starred on their basketball team, Durst returned to his native Pennsylvania where he was head coach at 3 different high schools, taking each to the state tournament. He then became head coach at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. During his 5 years as head coach, Gannon compiled an 81-68 record.

Durst, aged 37, takes on a program at Youngstown University, that has finished at or near the bottom of the Horizon League standings the past 4 years and never won more games than they lost in any of the previous coach’s 11-year career.

Durst expressed his excitement about the head coaching job and stated, “I’m intent on building the program so that the Penguins soon will be contending for leadership in the Horizon League. I think we have some sound players and will be working hard to coalesce them into a hard-working and effective team.”

When asked about assistant coaches, Durst said he will be hiring an entirely new staff and plans to get than accomplished as quickly as possible.
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Re: The Town Crier

Postby PointGuard » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:28 pm

Well there you have it. I was hoping that Latrelle Brothers would have become the Penguins new coach. Brothers has better experience and been part of stronger programs. But he’s decided to remain as an assistant coach at Temple. Apparently he was not impressed sufficiently to pursue the Youngstown State position.

Durst was unable to create a strong Division 2 program at Gannon. He is divorced but has 2 children whose primary custodianship is with Durst’s ex-wife. I’ve heard that academics are important to him but that he is not a strict disciplinarian. His temper has gotten him into trouble on occasion.

Although not officially announced, I’ve heard that he has a 3-year contract with an $80,000 annual salary.
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Re: The Town Crier

Postby PointGuard » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:20 am

Coach Durst Announces New Staff

By Steve Porter

Coach K.D. Durst made good on his commitment to quickly putting together his coaching staff. He announced the hiring of Raymond Harrington (50) as 1st assistant, Steve Simmons (40) as 2nd assistant, and Miguel Ward (37) as 3rd assistant.

Harrington will handle practices and player development. Simmons will be the recruiting coach. Ward will be the team’s scout and also oversee player academics.
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Re: The Town Crier

Postby PointGuard » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:03 pm

It took me a while but I was finally able to get Steve Simmons, Youngstown State’s 2nd assistant basketball coach, to meet me for a couple beers. Simmons will be handling recruiting chores for the Penguins. Simmons confirmed that they will be trying to fill 4 scholarships that will be vacated after the 2016-2017 season ends. Although he was pretty indefinite as to what head coach Durst expected and was focusing upon, it seems that they most likely will be trying to sign a couple guards and a couple big men.

Simmons said their primary emphasis would be to go after recruits within the state of Ohio since the program isn’t well-known outside the state and even less so outside the Midwest region.

Even though Youngstown State’s academics requirements are quite low compared to most other Division I programs, Simmons expressed a desire to go after recruits with strong academics since both he and Coach Durst place a high value on academics for their players. It seems that Coach Durst is very concerned about the low academic records of nearly half of the present squad. The Penguins’ new head coach has told 3rd assistant Miguel Ward to get those players tutors as soon as the summer is over and players return to school. Although Simmons was unwilling to discuss academic deficiencies of individual players, it sounds like there was little emphasis on academics by the past coaching staff and that none of the present squad are stellar scholars.

Simmons said that the new coaching staff is just beginning to review game films from last season. That will allow them to better assess the talent levels of their players and determine where to focus training and practice.
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