Arundel's Yannuzzi to coach softball, too


September 29, 1993|By PAT O'MALLEY

I've got some hot questions with and without answers today and hope to get your response. Just call my 24-Hour Sportsline at (410) 647-2499 with your answers, remarks or questions of your own.

* Have you heard that Paul Yannuzzi is going to succeed Don Banks as softball coach at Arundel High?

Yannuzzi, now coaching the Wildcats' girls soccer team, was softball coach at Severna Park for six seasons (76-37, .672) before leaving to chair the science department at Arundel. He led the Falcons to the state 4A championship and a 18-4 record in 1987.

Banks was Arundel's coach for five years, with Yannuzzi assisting him in 1992, and the Wildcats made the playoffs last season. Banks' contract was not renewed.

"We decided to reorganize our athletic department to include more faculty members as coaches," said Arundel athletic director Bernie Walter.

"We've added 33 new teachers in the last two years and we wanted to get them more involved in our extracurricular program. We advertised all the coaching positions where we didn't have faculty members and softball was one of them."

Banks teaches at Arundel Middle, and Yannuzzi, a faculty member at the high school, applied for the job.

"I'm excited to get the job because I really enjoy coaching softball, but I didn't want to cause Don any heartache," said Yannuzzi. "The school wanted to have more coaches school-based, [so] I'm also coaching girls soccer for the first time."

Arundel boys basketball coach Gerald Moore, who teaches at Brooklyn Park-Lindale Middle School, also had his job advertised, but he will return this season. There was not a faculty member who qualified or applied.

* Wasn't the Severn School football coaching position mishandled all the way through? Amid complaints from parents and fans, Alan Pastrana resigned and Jim Doyle returned as coach.

Was Pastrana the right man to succeed Doyle in the first place or was Pastrana a big name that attracted the attention of athletic director Fred Hewitt?

Pastrana, who resigned last week at Severn just three games into the season, was a great high school player at Severn and Annapolis and later at the University of Maryland before playing briefly in the NFL. He had no prior experience coaching high school football.

His only coaching experience was at Anne Arundel Community College, where he struggled with a program that was dropped after the 1989 season (0-7). Pastrana had only one winning season in 10 years as coach and was 31-48 overall.

The AACC football team under Pastrana brought embarrassment the Arnold school when it was discovered that most of the players were not academically eligible (50 percent had a GPA below 1.50 in 1985-86, 69 percent below a 2.00) and a large percentage of them attended the school for football and withdrew after the season (85 percent same year).

It was discovered in 1985 that Pastrana had turned the team into a club team rather than a varsity squad without telling the players. As a club, there are no academic requirements.

When asked if he was aware of all the problems Pastrana had at AACC, Hewitt's answer was "that was more administrative than anything else."

Doyle is the right man and will stay at Severn School "unless I have a chance for the Arundel job. I would love that job."

Bill Zucco is in his second year as Arundel coach.

* Should referees and officials be held accountable for decisions they make, especially controversial ones that end a game?

Of course, they should. Coaches and players are accountable, so officials should be, too. Their role is just as important.

Case in point: Friday night at Severna Park, Meade took a 35-28 lead into overtime and on their turn, the host Falcons scored what appeared to be a touchdown on fourth down to pull within the extra point of another overtime.

While Severna Park players celebrated and hugged a diving Matt Long and the Meade players put their heads down, referee Ken Simon ruled that Long did not score and Meade won the game.

Severna Park coach Andy Borland said the films showed "Long got in for the touchdown, but we have to live with the decision."

Borland kept his composure and did a good job pulling his dejected and upset players together.

"I saw his knee hit the ground short of the goal line," Simon replied to my question while being pulled away by head referee Bill Boyle.

Boyle told Simon, "You don't have to talk to any reporters, don't have to give them your name."

Why not? These guys have names when it comes time to receive their paychecks. Right or wrong, and we all mistakes, officials as long as they are a vital part of the games should be accountable for their decisions.

Often their names are announced before the game by the PA announcer, or on radio and cable TV broadcasts, and that's OK with them. But as soon as there is controversy, they seek anonymity, and that is ridiculous.

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