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CURBSTONE COACHES Bellisari debate erupts; coaches pitch in



Published: Tue, November 20, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Tony Napolet and Jeff Bayuk say their main job is to build men of character and integrity out of boys.

By JOHN KOVACH

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

BOARDMAN -- The suspension of Ohio State senior quarterback Steve Bellisari after being arrested for driving under the influence created a debate at Monday's weekly session of the Curbstone Coaches at the Lockwood House.

In a poll of members in attendance conducted by president Joe Maxin, about half of them thought the policeman who caught Bellisari should have called coach Jim Tressel first and told him about the incident before arresting him.

About half of the group thought that if Tressel had been informed first, that he should have let him play in last Saturday's game against Illinois.

No way, called out one of the members in the back row. That would not send the right signal to the other players.

Team rules are team rules, reaffirmed another member. Bellisari knew the rules in advance, and should have stuck to them. No politics should be involved.

Reinforcement: These two strong sentiments for correcting a young man who made a mistake, for making him accountable for his mistake to deter him and others from making more mistakes, was strongly endorsed by veteran coaches Tony Napolet of Warren JFK and Jeff Bayuk of Hubbard High, who were guest speakers.

Napolet and Bayuk, coaches who guided their teams into the second-round of the postseason playoffs before being ousted two Fridays ago, emphasized that a coach's primary job is to build character and integrity in a student-athlete.

Napolet, whose Eagles ended 10-2 this year, said that on his team rules are announced before the season, and that if they are violated, "there's nothing to talk about. If there is no discipline, you don't have a team."

Good reading: Bayuk, whose Eagles were 11-1, said his objective is to develop boys to be the best of men, and recalled excerpts from an article that defined a coach's main job as one "to make men of boys, to teach them an attitude of mind, to plant character and to teach them to live up to their potential."

Because, Bayuk continued, the "final score" is that there will be "so many men [derived] out of so many boys and this is something that you will never see published."

Napolet said Bayuk's article should be mandatory reading.

"I think that should be passed out to every fan entering a stadium," said Napolet, who believes that, "Kids have to be taught to make the right choice. Don't be a follower, be a leader. Then things will be better off overall in the world.

"If you can help guide them and lead them on a straight line, you've done your job."

A builder: Gene Kelley, Hubbard High principal, praised Bayuk as a builder of men -- and football programs.

"Jeff is the real deal. He cares about kids," Kelley said. "He is a teacher first."

Bayuk said he tries to get kids "to listen. So many kids are anxious to talk. They should listen to people who are experienced. They've been there, where you are trying to get. That's the message we are trying to get across."




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