. . . on Youth Coaches with the Right Philosophy
I have always been impressed with those youth sports coaches who have done the "right thing for all the right reasons." Today's column pays tribute to all such dedicated mentors by spotlighting two individuals I have personally had the opportunity to observe -- Wrestling's Donnie Bauer and Baseball's Dan Taylor.
Let's begin with Coach Donnie Bauer. I have known Donnie since the early '70s as a very enthusiastic youth wrestling coach. He was one of the founding coaches of the Greater Wheeling Smallfry Wrestling League which was intiated in 1977 -- an organization that is still in operation.
An all-state wrestler for old Wheeling High School, Donnie Bauer has coached at every level of the game -- from youth to high school wrestling. Presently, Bauer is assistant coach at Wheeling Park High School. A teacher of fundamentals and sportsmanship, Coach Bauer does it because he truly loves the sport of wrestling.
Coach Dan Taylor, a native and promoter of Wheeling Island athletics all his life, has been totally dedicated to developing the baseball skills of Island youngsters since his high school days in the late '50s. Coach Taylor is most noted for his subtle understanding of all aspects of baseball; just ask any umpire who has ever worked his games.
Like Penn State's former football coach Jerry Sandusky, known as the "molder of linebackers" for the Nittany Lions, Island Tiger's Coach Dan Taylor is also a "master mentor" at teaching kids how to "bunt." This is an art that is often neglected by baseball-diamond coaches from the youth to professional leagues.
I can't tell you how many times I have witnessed Coach Bauer roll out the wrestling mats or Coach Taylor prepare a baseball field (often with his lifelong friend, the late Donald "Duck" Dusick). Coach Bauer and Coach Taylor are two gentlemen who have gone far beyond the call of duty for many Valley aspiring athletes.
Yours truly salutes Donnie Bauer and Dan Taylor, who have always enjoyed working with kids -- and have not stopped doing so to this day!
"Nothing is more firmly believed as what is least known."
-- Michel de Montaigne