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Soltis, Conatser helping coach at VMI



Published: Sat, September 2, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



LEXINGTON, Va. -- Paul Soltis, the former Austintown Fitch High, Ohio State and Youngstown State linebacker who became a two-time All-American for the Penguins under coach Jim Tressel, is back in football.

Soltis left the sport for nine years to work in law enforcement jobs at the state and federal levels.

Now, he is an assistant coach at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va., on head coach Jim Reid's staff, tutoring the outside linebackers and serving as director of football operations.

Also on the Keydets' staff is Ken Conatser, former YSU assistant coach under Tressel for 15 years, who was hired as chief of staff and special teams coordinator.

Conatser, who coached at YSU when Soltis played there and was part of four national championship teams, came to VMI from Ohio State where he served in an administrative role under Tressel last year.

Soltis and Conatser are among six new faces on Reid's staff.

Conatser and Reid previously coached together as assistants at Massachusetts.

The Keydets opened the season Saturday against Davidson.

On YSU playoff teams

Soltis, who played one year at OSU and won a letter before transferring to YSU, helped the Penguins gain the playoffs in 1987 and 1989. He captained the 1989 team and was first-team All-American.

After college, Soltis signed with the Miami Dolphins and then played in the World Football League. He also served as an assistant coach for Austintown Fitch.

Soltis was inducted into YSU's Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.

He is married to the former Stacey Smallwood and they have three children: Abbey, Daniel and Alayna.

Conatser, who played for Cincinnati from 1958-62, coached at YSU from 1986-2000 with Tressel and then again in 2003 under Jon Heacock, helping YSU to win NCAA Division I-AA national championships in 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1997.

Conatser also was an assistant coach at Kansas (2002) under head coach Mark Mangino, a native of New Castle and a former YSU aide in 1985 and 1986.

Sachire back at Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, IND. -- Ryan Sachire, a Canfield native who is considered one of the top tennis players in the University of Notre Dame history, has returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach.

Sachire, a former Canfield High standout and three-time All-American at Notre Dame who ended his professional playing career a year ago, has rejoined the Irish after serving as an assistant coach at Baylor for last season.

"It is really special to return here as a coach after also being a student-athlete at Notre Dame," said Sachire, who will serve under head coach Bob Bayliss at Notre Dame. "It is a dream come true for me."

Sachire is credited for helping Baylor to a 25-7 record and a No. 4 national ranking in the ITA last season, even though the Bears had lost two NCAA singles champions to graduation.

Baylor also won its fifth Big 12 Conference championship last season and advanced to the NCAA semifinals where the Bears lost to Georgia, 4-3. The Bulldogs were undefeated and No. 1-ranked at the time.

Mann has impressive summer

WASHINGTON, Pa. -- Sam Mann, a senior pitcher on the Washington & amp; Jefferson College baseball team from Howland High, enjoyed a successful summer season for the Florence (S.C.) RedWolves of the Coastal Plain League.

Mann went unbeaten with a 7-0 record and tied for second in the league in wins, while leading in innings pitched. He limited opponents to a .210 batting average while giving up 63 hits and 10 walks, and had a 1.72 ERA. He also averaged 72/3 innings per start.

Mann also played in the league's all-star game and helped the RedWolves to a 32-18 overall record.

The Coastal Plain League, certified by Major League Baseball, is the largest summer collegiate baseball league in the nation. It consists of 15 teams in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

kovach@vindy.com




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