By Greg Gulas
For over 40 years, Paul Andraso was comfortable in the classroom setting where he imparted his knowledge of history and social studies to his many students at Boardman and Hubbard schools.
Speaking to the Curbstone Coaches during Monday’s weekly luncheon meeting at the Blue Wolf Banquet Center, Andraso said it felt like old times, only this time the history lesson he imparted was about the league that he currently oversees — the Inter-Tri County League.
The ITCL’s only commissioner, he told the group about the two leagues (the Tri-County League and the Inter-County League) and the history each brought when they merged seven years ago.
“The Tri-County League was formed in 1932 and the Inter-County League in 1951 and both leagues had a rich athletic tradition when we merged,” he said.
“The TCL was one of the oldest continuous leagues in Ohio and originally offered football and basketball only. The ICL, on the other hand, originally offered three sports; those being football, basketball and boys track and field,” Andraso said.
There was a decided difference in the running of the two leagues, however, pointing out that the TCL was led by superintendents while high school principals were the decision makers for the ICL.
Appointed commissioner of the ITCL in 2004, Andraso was on board over a year before the actual start of competition.
The ITCL offers six boys sports (cross country, football, basketball, baseball, golf, track & field and wrestling) and five girls sports (cross country, basketball, softball, track & field and volleyball).
This winter will be an exciting time for the conference as the McDonald boys’ basketball team, with 65 straight regular season wins under former coach Jeff Rasile, goes after the Trumbull County record for consecutive regular season wins (67), which was set by Liberty under the direction of former coach Bob Patton.
“It’s been a great run for McDonald and everyone is rooting for them to break a record that has stood the test of time,” said Andraso.
What excites Andraso most is the fact that both the boys and girls teams have become very competitive.
“By playing schools more their size, better pairings have created added interest by the athletes across the board,” he said.
Next week, Jim Fox, former Boardman director of athletics and cross country and track and field official, will serve as guest speaker.