UL school board again fumbles the ball

UNFORTUNATELY, IT is time to revisit the thinking process of the Union Local Board of Education.

We have questioned it on a handful of occasions in the past, starting many years ago with its ill-fated attempt to dispose of Jake Olsavsky as head football coach.

The UL board finds itself under the microscope again on the heels of the resignation of Mark Cisar as head football coach. It was a resignation surrendered only after Cisar was going to be terminated.

It was not a move the former Magnolia High legend wanted to make. Ironically, the board felt Cisar was the right man for the baseball head coaching post, hiring him in that capacity Thursday night.

I realize what Union Local’s football record has been over the past three years. Cisar will be the first to tell you that it is not up to his standards. He is as competitive as any coach you will find, so the losing experienced the past three years in Jetland eats at him worse than anyone.

Having said that, Urban Meyer may not have won many more games if he coached the Jets during that same span. Often times it is not X’s & O’s but rather the Jimmy and Joes who determine winning and losing. The Jets were virtual pups this season, primed to reap the benefits in 2013.

Eight years ago, I took the Union Local BOE to task for firing Bill Weller after just one year as head grid coach. Weller did nothing that should have resulted in his axing. Head coaches must be given more than one year to build a program.

I was told at that time by one of the UL powers-to-be that Weller was fired because the board had a chance to hire a “super coach.” That super coach was Mark Cisar.

Some of the people who brought Cisar on board are still in place. So what has changed? If Cisar was super eight years ago, he is even better now with all the experience under his belt.

The two-time West Virginia prep gridder of the year is an offensive mastermind. He has few peers in directing an offense. Cisar also put together a quality staff.

UL has 21 football lettermen returning for 2013. The talent and experience level was on the rise, fueling renewed optimism. It was just a few years back, Cisar led the Jets to the OHSAA playoffs.

The man can coach. Be it baseball or football, Mark Cisar can coach with the best of them.

Unfortunately, due to a few clueless board members, Cisar was dealt a cruel, career-changing blow. The UL school board should be flagged for illegal procedure.



THE BELLAIRE Chamber of Commerce held its monthly luncheon at the Country Club Retirement Center Thursday. It is the second time I have been in the facility and it is simply spectacular.

The chamber is again selling calendars featuring old pictures of Bellaire. Calendars cost $10 and will be available at the village’s Christmas Parade on Saturday, Nov. 24. After that, calendars can be secured by contacting the chamber office. The calendars proved a huge hit a year ago.

Chamber President Lou Ann Bennett also announced that a Remembrance Tree has been placed at the city building. It was donated and delivered by the Taylor family from Neffs. Individuals are invited to place an ornament on the 12-foot tree in the memory of a loved one.

Chamber members noted the improvements on the Ohio 7 right-away. Much of the brush and weeds have been cleared out, making the village more visible from Ohio 7.

Attorney Dan Frizzi announced plans for a Stone Viaduct Program and Tour on Sunday, Dec. 16. It will start in Bellaire, travel to Moundsville and WVNCC in Wheeling before returning to Bellaire. The Times Leader will be publishing more details in the near future.

Chamber members also heard a presentation from L.A.W. Publications, detailing its joint effort with the Bellaire Police Department in the ongoing battle against drugs. The chamber made a donation to help the cause.


I WAS talking to a Bellaire Board of Education member in the wake of the district’s levy defeat. He said it is now time for the board to get out of the levy-thinking mode and move on. He may be right after five election defeats. The district is doing things the right way financially. The $3 million-plus deficit has been whittled to about $1.1 million through cutbacks and improved efficiency. So if the district continues on the same path, it will work its way out of red ink. A levy would have resulted in a quicker deficit exodus and enabled programs to be reintroduced. If I were calling the shots, I would seek a 2- or 3-mill levy which would be more voter friendly and would generate some extra funding.

KUDOS TO Wheeling Hospital, as it donated $2,000 this past week to the Martins Ferry Fire Department to help sponsor the city’s Christmas Parade on Friday, Nov. 23.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE continues to impress on the gridiron. The Red Devils’ regional title tilt trashing of Johnstown-Monroe was another show of offensive fireworks. Coach Brett McLean’s Red Devils have the offensive balance and explosiveness to give any team fits. St. C. will face its toughest test to date in the Division IV state semifinals Friday against reigning state champion Creston Norwayne, but I still like the Red Devils’ chances.

KUDOS TO Belmont County Commissioner Ginny Favede on her dancing prowess. Ginny teamed with Caleb Cooper to capture the title in the “Dancing with the Ohio Valley Stars,” held earlier this month. If Favede opts not to stage a title defense next year, hopefully fellow Commissioner Chuck Probst dons his dancing shoes in an attempt to keep the crown in the Belmont County Courthouse.

THE SECOND Annual “Sugar for Reindeer” will be staged at River City in Wheeling on Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The fundraiser is held to promote awareness and offer support to children with Type I Diabetes and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Search for a Cure. The inaugural event was a success.

The major sponsors for this year’s event include Wheeling Hospital, Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration and Main Street Bank. Among the activities planned are face painting, cookie decorating, tree ornament creations, a visit from Santa and more.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader online.com