Leading off today: Sister Maria Pares
, 74, a pioneering figure in Western New York women's sports, has been told her contract to coach the Buffalo Sacred Heart girls basketball team will not be renewed for next season.
Sacred Heart administrators informed Pares on Tuesday, The Buffalo News reported. Pares said the school declined a request that she and assistant Debbie Laux coach one more season and leave on their terms.
"Sacred Heart wanted me to say I was retiring, but that wasn't the right thing to do," Pares told the paper. "They fired me for reasons I don't know."
School administrator Jennifer Demert declined to say why Pares was let go after a 49-28 loss to Mount Mercy in the Monsignor Martin Association semifinals.
"Sister Maria has contributed greatly to Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart," Demert said. "She's been with us for five decades, and her dedication and leadership certainly have helped build the basketball program over the years."
Pares is a member of the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame and New York State Basketball Hall of Fame among others. The former Canisius College and Marquette coach is known for a fiery demeanor, earning the nickname "Attila the Nun" from coaches and officials, the newspaper reported.
"She's the No. 1 all-time high school coach in Buffalo," said Cardinal O'Hara coach Nick O'Neil, whose daughter played for Pares. "She's one of the greatest coaches -- men or women -- in the history of Buffalo sports. She's larger than life."
Pares was diagnosed with cancer in 2001. She had a mastectomy, but breast cancer recurred four years later and has spread to her liver. Surgery is scheduled Friday to treat cancerous lesions in her ears, the paper reported.
"I remember seeing her at meetings and thinking she didn't have much time left," said Tapestry Charter School's Fran Snyder, who previously coached at Holy Angels. "Then she's out there the next game, roaring. It's unbelievable."
Opinion: Burke Catholic (accused of recruiting in basketball), Aquinas (botched the process for restoring eligibility for its injured QB) and Elmira Notre Dame (stripped of a Section 4 soccer title over an eligibility issue) are officially off the hook.
Sacred Heart has clinched the "honor" of worst blunder of the year in New York private-school sports. Firing Sister Maria Pares? Seriously? What's next, the Vatican retroactively demoting three of the 12 Disciples to understudy status and two others to interns?
Glens Falls situation: State boys basketball coordinator Bill Higgins said the Glens Falls Civic Center is bringing in a structural engineer to assess the damage to the arena and should have an answer by Monday.
A portion of a rear outside wall collapsed Tuesday night, causing the arena to be closed indefinitely.
Snow and ice on the roof pushed out the lower protective wall on the edge of the roof and caused the bricks to collapse, said Glens Falls City Engineer Steve Gurzler.
Section 2 scrambled to move its remaining semifinals to new venues this week, with finals now set for Hudson Valley Community College. New York State Public High