The Wilmington High coach realized he wasn't ready to give up coaching.
By BILL ALBRIGHT
NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. -- To coach or not to coach. That was the question.
Following the 2001 season, veteran Wilmington High coach Terry Verrelli decided to hang up his whistle after 30 years with the Greyhound program.
However, after a few months, Verrelli reconsidered, and in February he was rehired as the head coach of the successful Greyhound program.
"It was kind of a mixed-up affair, but I think as time goes, you sometimes just get tired," said Verrelli. "At the time, you don't feel there is any other solution to it, or at least that is what I thought at the time.
"But after talking with some of my coaches, they told me to sit down and think what it was that was bothering me or what could be changed, so I did."
One of those coaches and a long-time friend of Verrelli, Bob Mitcheltree, might have had the greatest influence in Verrelli's change of mind.
"He has always had some pretty good advice for me and I like to sit down and talk with him," Verrelli said. "He had some good ideas and he thinks things out well, so between talking with him and just thinking about it, that is what helped me make the decision to change my mind."
Just as things change, they many times remain much the same. Verrelli was quick to point out that was the case with coaching football at the high school level.
"Since I started coaching, the game itself has changed a lot," said Verrelli. "It used to be just a few simple formations, knock them off the ball and that was it. But since that time, the game has become more sophisticated and even at the high school level, the offensive formations and the defensive looks are a lot more complex than they once were.
"As for the kids, I think they are basically the same," he added. "They have different interests, but a lot of the problems they face are the same. I have always put in a lot of time, and for me, that means continuing to put in a lot of time just trying to keep up with everything."
During the past three seasons, the Mercer County Athletic Conference has dominated the District 10 playoffs, with Sharpsville (A), Sharon (AA) and Wilmington (AAA) doing the honors. When the 2002 season rolls around, Verrelli hopes that trend continues, although his Greyhounds will drop down a class this season to AA.
"We hope that this can continue," said Verrelli of the domination. "Basically, every year is different and we didn't go in there [to the season] expecting to be in the district playoffs.
"You are just trying to build a team like everyone else, especially at the beginning of the year," he said. "You set those expectations high, but in reality, it all comes down to how willing they [the athletes] are to work hard to get to that point. We are hoping to be there again, but for that to happen, they [the players] are going to have to build that for themselves."
As for dropping down one classification, Verrelli said that really doesn't change much, especially during the regular season.
"I tried to use that to my advantage," said Verrelli of the past few seasons in AAA. "You don't play any different teams one way or the other until you get into the playoffs.
"We are going to be double-A this year and there are several reasons for that," he said. "For one, I was bowing out at the time the decision had to be made and I didn't want to be the one to make that decision if I wasn't going to be around. Triple-A was an idea that just happened to work out for us."
For Verrelli and his Greyhounds, maybe double A will work just as well.