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Official call: YSU releases Hartzell



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

By Joe Scalzo

scalzo@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

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.

photo

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.”


Comments

1rick51(94 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

His time was up, they needed a fresh opinion in the booth, he added nothing new to the broadcasts.

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2tatum32(6 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

BULL,the guy called it the right way.

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3sweatpea(114 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Big mistake- Hartzell KNOWS football and called it like he saw it. The genuine article. The criticism he handed out on the broadcasts was very well deserved if you have seen any of the Penguins games in the last 9 years!

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4dreamcatcher52(140 comments)posted 4 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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5valleyred(1095 comments)posted 4 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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6valleytransplant(37 comments)posted 4 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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7YtownSports(216 comments)posted 4 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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8ysuwin(57 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

YSU should have let Hannon go too! He's the worst play by play in the area. The guy is such a tool. Run to left, run to the right, doesn't announcer the ball carrier, who made the tackle, who made the catch. All Hannon does is pleasure himself to Indiana State being the worst team in America.

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9mcgoo07(3 comments)posted 4 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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10ysuwin(57 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Mcgoo how can you recruit a kid to come here when he's going to be criticized to the entire area during the game broadcast?

You ever think maybe it wasn't Heacock's fault for not recruiting local kids? The radio team just embarrasses them on the radio. Why go to YSU and be embarassed when you can go to Kent and Akron where they won't?

Hartzell and Hannon are pathetic to embarrass college aged kids who play football for the love of it.

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11SoupCity85(25 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

I always enjoyed listening to both guys. Dick does a damn good job. He's honest and upfront. I appreciate that.

As for the recruiting issue???? C'mon this is sports, they have to deal with being booed by 10K fans every saturday, who cares????? Recruiting problems, I don't think so!!!

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12ysuwin(57 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

This isn't pro sports. This is college athletics. A radio announcer and former coach should know more than the idiot sitting in the $1 section booing an 18 year amateur athlete. But not in DIck Hartzells case.

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13sweatpea(114 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

ysuwin, you have made your distaste for the entire broadcast team very clear. Even I would have to admit that Hannon has always been his own biggest fan!!! But I actually did not mind him doing the games.

Berating or booing is an not an accurate description what Hartzell ever did. About 6% of high school football players go on to play any level of college football. At the full scholarship level, that number drops to @ 3.5. I could be off a bit-but I'm close.

When you attend a university and one of their ex players say you need to improve or do a better job at X, then you need to take that as constructive criticism. Mommy and daddy need to be quiet and listen! Be grateful for the $100,000 scholarship your son has and enjoy the games!

You see, that "ex player" has bled the blood in August 3-a-days, spring drills, off season "voluntary" workouts, 5am weight room "apointments" and 8pm study tables the same night, "20" hours of weekly practice, travel to and from games, etc. He has also forgotten more than anyone sitting in the $1,000 section has ever known about the game. So he can say anything he wants-he's been there AND done it!!

In closing, any of you who think that criticism or words hurt the morale of a team or the ability of a coach to recruit have never been inside a locker room. Things are said to players that most people would never say in front of their mother (I'm assuming the best of people here I know). What a radio announcer says should not impact a players performance in any negative way-if it does-he should pack up his gear!

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14markc919(24 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Schools like Alabama, USC, and Florida State have actual broadcasters do their games, both praising and criticizing when appropriate. This isn't middle school or high school. These are adults! If you can take a hit from a 300 pound lineman you can take a criticism when you screw up.

I can understand these kids moms not liking the criticsm. That's natural. But if you are not a mother of one of the players and you think that Coach Hartzell is a big meanie then grow a pair or go watch Barney.

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15Ken(153 comments)posted 4 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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16rick51(94 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

I don't have anything personel against Hartzel but the guy was boring and had nothing interesting to add to the broadcast, further more when hartzell was on YSU's team there was no mandatory weight training, study table, or offseason workouts, those have all come about in the modern age!!!!!!!!!!

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