Here's to Hobbs, retiring coach who could holler and teach


November 03, 1996|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Don Hobbs' retirement this week after 19 seasons as boys soccer coach at Old Mill is a sign of the times.

No doubt, Hobbs will enjoy watching his youngest son play at Broadneck the next three years after not getting to see his oldest boy play. But his stepping down is a loss to the vanishing breed of coaches who teach the game of life.

Hobbs, the only boys soccer coach Old Mill has ever had, is from the old school, where discipline, instruction and their relation to life are priorities. We've lost too many like him in recent years.

Coaches are meant to be educators who relate sports to life.

Occasionally screaming at his players to make them bear down -- Hobbs was never afraid to do it. He was a coach/educator.

Coaches from the old guard yell to help a young player, not to hurt a kid's feelings. But in this age of political correctness, yelling is often misconstrued as verbal abuse.

"I'm tired, and it's time for some fresh blood," said Hobbs (147-92-11), who is recommending that veteran assistant Jim Griffith succeed him. "It's gotten tougher and tougher to communicate with the kids."

It's unfortunate that coaches in the '90s have to be so careful when hollering to make a point or deliver a valuable message. Communication with players has never been so difficult to achieve, given the modern environment.

What's interesting to me is that the "easy-rider" approach of pampering athletes that the politically correct (parents and school administrators) demand, doesn't seem to work as well as the "old school" philosophy.

Discipline in the classroom and on the field is lacking because coaches and teachers have their hands tied by school officials who don't understand -- or appreciate -- the values of athletics via a strong coach.

If you can't discipline (have the freedom to put a young person in his place), you can't coach; neither can you teach, for that matter. Don Hobbs' teams were disciplined, and we don't need to keep losing his kind.

Kickers and headers

While the school's football team has gotten a lot of deserved attention, the St. Mary's boys soccer team is having another outstanding season. Coach Jamie McNealey's Saints take an 11-5-1 record into Tuesday's 3 p.m. Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference playoffs at St. John's College in Annapolis against an opponent to be determined.

The Saints started the season 0-2-1 but have won nine of their last 11. The Saints, who were 13-2-2 a year ago and shared the conference title with St. Paul's, returned a host of key seniors.

Four-year starter Justin Wells, an All-County sweeper as a junior, three-year starting striker Malcolm Granado (leads team with seven goals, four assists), and halfback Will Lahneman and goalkeeper Matt Miletich, both two-year starters, provide crucial senior leadership.


Veteran North County JV football coach Al Pindell says freshman quarterback Bryan Hall is "the best ninth-grader we've had." Hall has led the JV Knights to a 6-0 league record, 6-2 overall.

Job schedules prevented the brothers Keith and Mike Francis from returning as North County football assistants this fall. Keith is in the car rental business; Mike drives an armored truck.

Brooklyn Park's Erin Brady has made quite an impression as a swimmer out of the Andover and Catonsville YMCA pools. In just 18 months, Brady, who is 8, has won 41 ribbons (23 first places), taken two division championships in the butterfly and freestyle, and had three top-10 finishes in league championship meets.

The Capital Volleyball Club is conducting a skills clinic at 2 p.m. next Sunday.

Tryouts for the club's 16-and-under, and 18-and-under teams are scheduled for the evenings of Nov. 17 and Nov. 18 at the Takoma Academy in Takoma Park. Applicants can sign up for both next Sunday for a discounted $30 (clinic is $20 and the tryouts, $15). Information: Mike McMahon, (410) 586-0105 or (410) 647-7837.

Free clinics for youth basketball coaches sponsored by rec and parks are scheduled for 6 p.m. on Nov. 11 and 14. Information: Mike Busch, (410) 222-7300.

The Nov. 11 clinic will be at Annapolis High with the school's boys coach John Brady, Chesapeake's John Spinnenweber and South River's Ken B. Dunn as instructors.

The Nov. 14 clinic will be at Old Mill with the Patriots coach Paul Bunting, Brady and Spinnenweber as clinicians.

The Friends of Joe Cannon Stadium committee is conducting a card and memorabilia show in the Glen Burnie High school cafeteria, Dec. 8. Proceeds go to the group's baseball scholar/athlete program.

Have an idea for Sidelines? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-Hour Sportsline,(410)647- 2499.

Pub Date: 11/03/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.