Sports Editor’s Playbook, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011

Patrick Newell

Jim Smith, a former Norwich teacher and coach, will be inducted into the Oswego High School Sports Hall of Fame on Oct. 1. While at Norwich, Smith coached the 1956 Norwich High School varsity boys basketball team to the overall Section III championship.
Smith, who passed away in the late 1980s, was a member of Oswego’s 1941 championship football team and started on offense at center. Smith is being inducted as part of the 1941 team, a squad that gave up just seven points the entire season. Smith’s children, Jim Smith, Mike Smith, Bill Smith, and Terri Jo Hawley were extended invitations to the banquet.
Jim Rebbeor, an organizer for the HOF banquet, contacted The Evening Sun Tuesday afternoon by e-mail requesting information about Jim Smith’s family. He described Smith as a “local hero in the Oswego area.” Rebbeor said that the 1941 football team produced school superintendents, school principals, doctors, and two young men gave their lives in World War II. “It was quite an outstanding group of men,” Rebbeor said.
Many may not know that Smith served his country in World War II, and was held by the Germans for two years as a prisoner of war, said Mike Smith. “It’s not something he talked about,” Mike Smith said of his father.

Anyone else disappointed by Syracuse University’s decision to leave the Big East for the ACC? The Orange were a charter member of the Big East, and I have lived and died for those rivalry games with Georgetown, St. John’s, Villanova, and most recently, Connecticut the past three decades. Conferences used to be identified by their geographic location. Now, it’s about solidifying power and creating more money-making opportunities. SU basketball coach, Jim Boeheim, is on board with the school administration’s decision to leave home for the South, but he isn’t an enthusiastic endorser. Boeheim said in a recent interview with ESPN that the decision (by SU) was about football and money. What? Since when was Syracuse football the school’s marquis sports program? The team is coming off its first winning season (not including back-to-back .500 campaigns seven years ago) since 2001. Until last year, Syracuse had not won more than four games since those aforementioned six-win .500 seasons. We all know that Syracuse is known first for its men’s basketball program where Boeheim’s troops have made a home in the top 25 for decades. Boeheim lamented the loss of those long-standing rivalries, and instead will pick up teams such as Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, and Virginia Tech. We aren’t apt to see any attendance records when those clubs visit the Dome. At least we have Boston College back on the docket, the one rivalry we Syracuse fans can look forward to.

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