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Thursday, June 27, 2019: Groton football, basketball coach Eric Prior dies

   Leading off today: A 48-hour burst of offseason news this week qualifies as hard to match in recent times. Unfortunately, the biggest news is also the saddest.

   Groton's Prior dies: Groton football and boys basketball coach Eric Prior died Tuesday after playing basketball in Cortland. He was 51.

   Prior also coached sports at different levels at Cortland High and was set to work as an assistant coach with the Tompkins Cortland Community College men's basketball team next season.

   "I can always remember how appreciative and proud Eric was when he was informed that he would be taking over as head coach of our football and basketball programs," Groton AD Mark Triolo said. "He could not wait to share the news with 'his boys.' Eric was and always will be remembered to be all about his family."

   A GoFundMe page created to support the Prior family had brought in more than $36,000 in donations by late Thursday evening.

   League shuffling ahead? It's too early in the process to know what the result may be, but officials of three leagues in Section 4 are in talks that could lead to a realignment, The Daily Star reported.

   Local administrators confirmed talks amongst the Tri-Valley League, Delaware League and Midstate Athletic Conference had begun. Potential changes would be unlikely to take effect before the 2020-21 school year.

   "We are in the early idealing phase, and I just want to generate a discussion to come up with viable solutions for how we can continue to provide our kids and communities with opportunities," Unadilla Valley superintendent and committee chairman Bob Mackey said. "Right now it's just a pipe dream that may be put on a shelf in another year."

   The discussions began more than a year ago as administrators grew concerned about the prevalence of schools combining programs in order to field teams, and the topic moved to the front burner this spring. The most recent meeting gathered more than 50 people, including superintendents from nearly all of the schools in the three leagues, the paper reported.

   "I don't think there is anyone that totally embraces change, but we want to be proactive," Mackey said. "There isn't anyone in the 30-some school districts that would say today the best thing is some kind of league merger. We know we are OK where we are, but we are not OK staying where we are."

   The police blotter: UFC lightweight Desmond Green was arrested Tuesday in Broward County in Florida on charges including charges of DUI manslaughter for his alleged role in a 2018 car crash that killed two women. The other charges include third-degree felony possession of cocaine, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.

   Green, 29, was a 2007 state wrestling champion for Rush-Henrietta.

   On Aug. 18, 2018, Green allegedly veered his vehicle into the path of a tractor-trailer, triggering a multi-vehicle wreck that led to the deaths of Emelina Morfa, 67, and Emma Suarez Hernandez, 76.


    • Former Elmira Notre Dame girls cross country coach Cory McCarty was sentenced on Tuesday to six months in jail and five years probation for sending pornographic images to one of his athletes.

   The Chemung County Sheriff's Office said McCarty, 23, had sent the images to a 16-year-old student while still

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employed as the Notre Dame coach, WETM-TV reported.

   College decision: Geneva tennis player Ryan Fishback has made his college choice fresh off his first NYSPHSAA and Federation singles titles this month.

   Fishback, ranked the No. 1 rising senior in the country by TennisRe-, has given a verbal commitment to Virginia Tech, last season's runner-up to Notre Dame in the Atlantic Coast Confer- ence. He can sign a letter of intent in November.

   Fishback was undefeated in his junior season.

    • An aside: I've heard from two knowledgeable high school sports observers recently that Fishback is entertaining the possibility of playing doubles in the 2020 postseason.

   Kerr Cup: The New York State Sportswriters Association announced earlier Thursday that Fairport has won the 11th annual Kerr Cup All-Sport Championship.

   The red Raiders (50.5 points) edged Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (49.67), Pittsford Mendon (48.75), Cornwall (48.5) and Fayetteville-Manlius (47.5).

   Name change: Solomon Schechter School in Westchester County is changing its name to The Leffell School effective on Monday.

   The new name honors Lisa and Michael Leffell. Michael Leffell has served more than two decades on the board of trustees, including 13 as president, and was a major force in opening the high school in 2001.

   Extra points: Angelo Sciandra is coming out of retirement to serve as athletic director at Cardinal O'Hara. He was the O'Hara AD from 2001 until his retirement in 2016 when he turned the reigns over to Brian Lamping.

   He will be assisted by boys basketball coach Tony Pulvirenti.

   "It's a love," Sciandra said. "I love Cardinal O'Hara. I love athletics. I just thought maybe if this can work as a part-time thing for me it might be good for me and it might be good for Cardinal O'Hara."

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