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Official call: YSU releases Hartzell

Published: Fri, April 9, 2010 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Joe Scalzo



Dick Hartzell figured he was too old to change, which is why Youngstown State decided to make a change.

Hartzell, an ex-YSU kicker and prep football coach known for his blunt opinions and obsession with hang time on kicks, will not return as the color analyst for radio broadcasts of YSU football games.


Dick Hartzell

Associate athletic director Rick Love, who informed Hartzell of the decision more than a month ago, said the department wanted a “new perspective in the broadcast booth.”

“We sit down each year as an athletic staff and evaluate all aspects of the department, including radio, TV, internet, promotions, tickets, etc.” he wrote in an e-mail. “We felt with a new football coaching staff in place, it was time to make some changes in several areas related to the football program.”

Hartzell, who had teamed with Bob Hannon on radio broadcasts the past five years, had become a bit of a polarizing figure in the community. His backers loved his honesty. His detractors, some of them parents of players, felt he shouldn’t have singled out individual athletes and that there were more tactful ways to issue criticism.

“They told me I berated players — that was the exact quote given,” said Hartzell, who had been asked on a couple occasions to change his style. “My feeling is, if it’s stupid football, that’s what I’m going to call it.

“If that’s not what they want, they shouldn’t put a coach on the broadcast. If you want a sweetheart broadcast, I’m not your guy.”

Hartzell has been a fixture on YSU and high school radio and TV broadcasts for decades, most often with WKBN’s Jim Campbell. One of his quirks — which was either endearing or annoying, depending on who you asked — was his obsession with a punter’s hang time, which he timed in the booth.

“Maybe we’ll keep a watch in the booth in honor of Dick,” joked Hannon, who has worked with five analysts in his 21 years and had no say in the decision. “He has a very honest, candid style. Whether you agreed with him or not, you knew who he was.

“That’s what made him effective.”

Hartzell is best known as the founder of Jump Stretch, Inc., which features his FlexBand exercise equipment. He was a record-setting kicker for the Penguins in the early 1960s.

“I have no animosity whatsoever,” Hartzell said. “Am I disappointed in the decision? Yes. But I’m proud to live in Youngstown and have my diploma from Youngstown University.

“I’ve lectured at Harvard, MIT, UCLA, Ohio State, Michigan, you name it. I’ve gone as far as South Africa. All with a diploma from Youngstown University. I’ll always cheer for them.”

Hannon will work Saturday’s spring game with WKBN’s Dave Sess and Chad Krispinsky. The Penguins haven’t yet named a permanent replacement. Former YSU quarterbacks Tom Zetts and Jeff Ryan are among those in the mix.

“We respect and appreciate everything Coach Hartzell has done over the years with radio, TV and his Jump Stretch conditioning of our student-athletes,” Love wrote. “We look forward to having Coach Hartzell continue his association with our team through Jump Stretch.”


1tatum32(6 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

BULL,the guy called it the right way.

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2dreamcatcher52(140 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

I will miss his input. He did give an honest critique of the game. So parents didn't like their kids being criticized? Typical of today's parents, I'm afraid. YSU is wrong on this one.

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3valleyred(1103 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

I liked Hartzell, but I can understand why they let him go. This isn't a professional sports team, this is a FCS college football program. If he wants to rip on athletes or other programs, do so in the post-game show, not during the game.

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4valleytransplant(37 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

Sounds a lot like the late Don Gardner and his well oiled nightly broadcasts. He wasn't a big fan of Ursuline but he sure loved Mooney. RIP Don.

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5YtownSports(306 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

It will be very difficult to replace Coach Hartzell's passion for the game and for the Penguins.
No one in this area has the ability to analyze and dissect a play the way he can. His "mistake," if there was one, was not so much in what he said, but the way it was sometimes said. I imagine he and Coach Wolford would have had a great relationship; they're both straight talkers.

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6ysupenguins_com(108 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

I enjoy both Hannon and Hartzell. My suggestion would be to add a third-man ...a true play-by-play. Krispinski will do well. Then expand Hartzell's roll. The average fan of YSU is not college aged. Use Dick in pre & post game, with a more limited play-calling roll. YSU/WKBN has missed the boat on pre-game broadcast activities for some time.

The entire day should be broadcast from campus on game days. We may not be Ohio state, but we are not Mt. Union ...our media needs to act like we have a DI football team. I will say it again Joe, I love your efforts & coverage.


ysupenguins.com the fan home for Penguin sports.

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7mcgoo07(3 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

This is an absolute shame - Coach will be impossible to replace! Listening to YSU games will never be the same. I can still remember listening to the end of YSU's last playoff run ending against Appalachian State. I could sit and listen to Coach talk about football all night. I cannot say that about Bob Hannon and anyone else they bring in. Players parents come and go every 4-5 years. True diehard YOUNGSTOWN Peguin fans never leave and love Coach. If Krispinsky gets the fulltime posistion I will not be able to listen to YSU games. He needs to stick to what he does high school games. I guess I better join back up at jump stretch to hear and see Coach now. That smile and great attitude are infectious

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8Ken(153 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

One paragraph in the article says something about evaluations being done yearly...does that hold true for the entire athletic department? If so, who does the evaluations? Great idea to evaluate...but do it from top to bottom..not just evaluate a color analyst.

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