Thursday, April 30, 2015

Old Goats Day One
Well, it was my first time out with the “Old Goats” as Trinity beat the Rams! In attendance was Mike Jutz, who I remember from the old days. I met Tim Roller and George Secrest. I rode to the game with Dave and his Dad. As I was early to Dave’s house, I chatted with Paula in the living room, then we stepped outside for a moment. Their daughter came out on the porch too. We went back in and I sat down in the same seat that I had been in and crunch! I thought what was that? I moved and there was his daughters glasses, broken. Paula started laughing and I felt terrible!
Then Dave came in late as usual. He put on his good looking red Manual shirt. He handed me, still in the package, the old goats shirt that I had ordered. It was too wrinkled to wear. Off to his Dad’s house to pick him up.
Running a little late, we still got a good parking place! As we are walking in, the first person I recognize was Shelby, a Manual cheerleader and friend of my daughters. We continue our walk to the concession stand for supper. We stop to buy a Trinity program, $5.00, are you kidding me never mind! It’s a good thing Tim Roller bought one, we all just looked at his. We go to the restroom and as I was relieving myself I think Dave was peeking over at me because I swear I heard him say “wow”! After washing our hands, yes Old Goats have good hygiene too, we got some rubber hamburgers brats and drinks. I think at the end of the season we should tell which football team has the best food! As we walk up to the top of the awesome Trinity Stadium I run into a couple of Okolona baseball friends. One of them is a coach, Tim Sievert, we all call him King Sievert because all the parents want their kids to be on his team. I take my spot on the top row while meeting Tim and George. I take my seat and look around for some other classmates. I didn’t see anyone that looked familiar except my daughter and her friends. I know Manual is not the same school I went to from 1978 to 1981. Manual started to change my Junior year when YPAS opened up. That is another story, back to the game.
Manual was looking good although I am not a fan of the black trim color in the uniforms. This was the first game I had been to since 1988. Manual lost to Trinity in that game too! As I listen to these guys talk and holler they seem to know a lot about football and especially Manual Football. I do believe one day they will take over the press box and call the offensive plays! When the game started, the Old Goats stood up! I looked up at Dave and he said “oh yea we stand the whole game”! Tim and George were talking about some more shirts they were going to order for the Old Goats. As I put my order in, I’m wondering, “ I know one day they will escort Tim and George out but will they get us all because were wearing matching shirts”? Anyway, we will cross that bridge later. The September 1st, 2006 night was a little on the chilly side and a good night for Manual football. We came out on the losing end but the first night with the Distinguished “Old Goats” was a great one!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Manual has a pantheon of football coaches who won lots of games and State Championships Neal Arntson, Ab Kirwan, Ray Baer, Mike Basrak, Tom Harper and Charlie Bentley but none of those legends won as many games as Joe Nichols.From 2001 through 2009 Joe's teams won 66 games and lost only 38 qualifying for the KHSAA playoffs every year but 2003. His first team, led by fellow Hall of Fame inductee Keenan Burton, beat Male High 20-13 ending a 13-year losing streak against the ancient rival. The 1988 Crimson squad, winner of 13 games and runners-up for the State Title, had last beat the Bulldogs that year. The victories came so far apart that no one around Manual was familiar with the old tradition of the losing team presenting the barrel at the winner's victory assembly. With a surprise 9-2 record in 2001, Joe was named Coach of the Year in 4-A football.
The following year, sporting an 8-4 record, Joe was named Paulie Miller High School Coach of the Year. He was named District Coach of the Year by the Kentucky High School Football Coaches Association in both 2004 (7-4) and 2007 (10-2). Under his tutelage played five future NCAA Division I players Keenan Burton, Byron Tinker, Andrew Robinson, Andre Henderson and Dave Ulinski. Burton also played briefly in the NFL.
Joe grew up in Sellersburg, IN, graduating from Providence High School. about 20 minutes away. He starred at Providence, playing both linebacker on defense and fullback on offense.I broke my ankle my senior year and missed 3 games, said Joe, which hurt his chances of playing big time in college. I had offers from the University of Evansville and a couple of other schools. Joe enrolled at Indiana University Southeast, then transferred to Hanover where he played in J.V. games, but due to a technicality with his transfer was not allowed to play for Hanover's varsity. Joe re-enrolled at I.U.S., but football was still in his blood. He made a return visit to Providence High only to connect with Head Coach Gene Sartini who gave him the chance to coach the freshman team for three years while he finished his degree.
In the summer of 1995 he was hired as freshman head coach at Manual under first year coach Jerry Mayes, now Manual's principal. Joe became a defensive line coach and was promoted to defensive coordinator before Mayes highly recommended him for the head job in 2001 when Jerry left to go to Pleasure Ridge Park High as assistant principal. The rest is history. Nichols left Manual following the 2009 season and was hired as head coach at Fern Creek High where he served the last four years recently retiring to spend more time with his children.