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Saturday, June 30, 2018: Former Cal-Mum star, pro wrestler Cappotelli dies

   Leading off today: Tributes are pouring in from the professional wrestling community and Section 5 football following the death Friday of former Caledonia-Mumford star Matt Cappotelli.

   Cappotelli, 38, died Friday in Louisville, Ky., after a long battle with brain cancer. His wife, Lindsay Cappotelli, first announced the news on her Facebook page.

   Cappotelli ran for 3,602 yards over the 1996 and '97 seasons (and 3,741 in his career) for Cal-Mum before attending Western Michigan. After college, he was the MTV Tough Enough III co-winner, which launched his career with World Wrestling Entertainment.

   He was close to joining the national TV lineup in 2005 when he suffered a broken leg in a WWE house show match. He was diagnosed with brain cancer the following year and underwent successful treatment but had to give up his career. The cancer resurfaced in 2017 and doctors were not able to stop the advance of a grade 4 glioblastoma tumor.

   "He was an all-state player, but he was an all American-person," said retired Cal-Mum coach Mike Monacelli. "Everyone wanted a son who could not only play like Matthew, but be like Matthew. That's the biggest compliment."

   Coach's death a suicide: Horace Greeley track and cross country coach Matthew Ketterer's death this week was ruled a suicide, the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said.

   Police in New Canaan, Conn., said that officers were dispatched to a home on Tuesday morning, where they found Ketterer, 36, The Journal News reported.

   Ketterer began teaching social studies for the Chappaqua Central School District in 2006. He was placed on paid leave last year amid allegations of an improper relationship with a student -- claims both he and the student denied.

   The Chappaqua school board accepted Ketterer's resignation effective June 30 early this year.

   Western N.Y. school closes: Niagara Catholic Junior-Senior High School will not re-open this fall, the school's board of trustees determined Tuesday.

   Judith Nolan Powell, the president of the board of trustees, said the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, which provided about 10 percent of the school's budget, was eliminating that its subsidy -- a decision that also applies to five other private Catholic high schools: Timon-St. Jude in Buffalo, Cardinal O'Hara in the Town of Tonawanda, St. Mary's in Lancaster, Notre Dame in Batavia and Archbishop Walsh in Olean.

   "It's the economy in Niagara Falls. It's a lot of factors. It's not just the diocese," Nolan Powell said.

   Although the Diocese of Buffalo owns the school building, the school has operated independently as one of six private Catholic schools in Western New York. Niagara Catholic was formed in 1975 after the merger of the Bishop Duffy and Madonna High schools.

    • Niagara Catholic's closing will scatter its athletes across the region. One of the noteworthy names is Jalen Bradberry, who was fifth-team all-state in basketball as a freshman last season.

   At least one plugged-in observer suggests Bradberry was likely headed to St. Joe's even before the announcement of the school closing.

   Drip ... drip ... drip: Here's some friendly advice for the Southern Westchester BOCES administration: Pull your braintrust together to make sure everyone is on the same page ... and then sit down with reporters from The Journal News at the earliest possible opportunity to answer every reasonable question they send your way.

   Otherwise, stories are going to trickle out one at a time for what feels like eternity as that paper has to figuratively pull teeth to get questions answered about how Section 1 works ... or doesn't work.

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   The Journal News wrote two follow-ups this week in the aftermath of the announcement that Section 1 Executive Director Jennifer Simmons will be retiring in March.

   The first was a confirmation that both Simmons and the replacement expected to begin work in September will be paid their full salaries during a seven-month transition period. Southern Westchester BOCES, which is responsible for collecting dues from all Section 1 schools and cutting the checks, told the paper that "the additional funding for the two positions will come from the districts that are served."

   Section 1 is comprised of schools in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties and a portion of Dutchess County. Member schools pay annual dues through Southern Westchester BOCES.

   The second was a look at the dues paid by the member schools and districts.

   The stories are examples of the paper attempting to pierce the cloak of secrecy that's been characteristic of how Section 1 operates.

   "BOCES is usually good with communicating with the superintendents, but I can say it's been disappointing when it comes to communicating about Section 1," White Plains Superintendent Joseph Ricca said. "I would like to see more proactive and robust communication from Section 1 moving forward. I'd prefer to hear from them than read about it in The Journal News. ... I think that's important, and I'm sure whoever the new executive director is will be tasked with making improvements there."

   The relatively quick and informative responses to the line of questioning this week suggests Southern Westchester BOCES is moving in a better direction regarding the athletic program, but it was not a good look when three members of the section's Executive Committee told the paper on Tuesday they were unaware that the hiring process for a new Section 1 director had begun.

   As of this week, the Section 1 website still did not feature contact info for members of its Executive Committee and Athletic Council, nor did it contain minutes from committee meetings.

   More reading: My final PressConnects.com column of the year hands out awards for the 2017-18 high school sports season.

   Spoiler alert: Katelyn Tuohy and Joe Girard III may appear in there somwehere.


  
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