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Saturday, July 8, 2017: Mascot controversy still unresolved a decade later

   Leading off today: Massena's school board may have decommissioned the district's controversial mascot last decade, but some of the drama lingers.

   A review of the mascot issue will be on the school board's to-do list for the upcoming year after two seniors came before members to say there remains racial tension among students over the Red Raider Indian head.

   The mascot remains in use by some parent athletic groups even though the district has long since switched over to a block M. Additionally, some students contend the old logo honors local Native American culture.

   District Superintendent Pat Brady said matters are complicated by a crossover of the Native American population -- about 11 percent of district students come from that heritage -- comfortable with the old logo and the non-Native student body who feel it is inappropriate.

   "From the Native perspective, reducing their culture to a mascot or caricature is demeaning," Brady said last month. "They feel they did not ask for their culture to be appropriated and used by the school as a symbol. From the non-Native perspective, the general sentiment from what I hear is the Red Raider and Indian head is an expression of honor to the Native culture. Many see it as a heroic symbol and a point of pride. It is part of the school's history and they do not see what the fuss is all about."

   Said board President Pat Bronchetti: "It's worth a discussion. I don't want to say we'll come to an agreement before hearing all sides."

   Coaching news: Matt Hellerer, who's coached track and field for 27 years and cross country since 2006, has retired from coaching St. Joe's but will remain on the faculty.

   Matt Dow will move up from the assistant coach's post to take over, The Buffalo New reported.

    • Stephen Greller, a former coach who led the team to a NYSPHSAA championship in 2006, is returning to Our Lady of Lourdes as the baseball coach.

   Derrick Damiano resigned this summer 11 seasons after replacing Greller. The Warriors were 15-5 this spring, losing in the first round of the Section 1 tournament.

   "I think I'm leaving at a time when the program is in a good place," Damiano said. "There are some great kids in the program; good ball players with great character. The future is bright."

    • Jerell Jones will be the new football coach at Nyack this fall, News 12 Varsity reported. The former Hyde Park FDR standout was a Nyack assistant last season.

   Final game in charge: The Democrat and Chronicle ran a feature on Dick Cerone, 82, overseeing his final Section 5 football all-star game Saturday.

   In recent years, Cerone had already stepped down as the sectional and state football chairman. He says he'll remain as the athletic director at University Prep in Rochester for one more year.

   The newspaper story mentions Cerone's biggest accomplishment in football, which I've touched upon in passing in blogs over the years: After Roger Bunce, his predecessor as the man in charge of the Section 5 and NYSPHSAA football committees, took the crusade two-thirds of the way to the end zone, it was Cerone who brokered the complicated deals in the late 1980s that gave birth to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association tournament.

  

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  •    NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas told the paper he found himself bragging to colleagues from other states during a recent national conference about how the five title games each year takes place at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.

       "I relied on Dick Cerone for the success of the football championships," Zayas said. "Absolutely first-class. His passion and his enthusiasm for the game, and more importantly for the student-athletes was evident in all that he did."

       Leaving New York: Antonio Cutrie of Chittenango, who reached the Division II quarterfinals at 220 pounds in the 2017 state tournament, is transferring to Wyoming Seminary in Pennsylvania for his senior year, New York Wrestling News reported.

       Cutrie went 38-3 for Chittenango as a junior, earning an at-large berth in the state tournament. He intends to wrestle as a heavyweight at his new school.

       Softball player seriously ill: The doctor for Norco (Calif.) softball star Taylor Dockins, recently selected the national player of the year by USA Today, believes she needs a liver transplant.

       Dockins needed to have the left lobe of her liver removed last summer after experiencing severe pain stemming from a large tumor. She was diagnosed with fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma but returned to the sport two months later and led her team to a 33-1 record.

       Rick Dockins said his daughter is consulting with doctors in Southern California following the discovery of three new tumors.

       "As most of you know it is very tough in California to get on the list for a liver," he wrote online. "I'm hoping and praying that the doctors at UCLA will be pushing hard for us."


      
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