So, the summer is nearing. The 2012-2013 school year, for all intents and purposes, has concluded. The scholastic sports year is complete.
Time to relax, right?
Well, not really.
Literally 12 hours after the end of the spring sports season, the high school season began for the 2013-2014 school year. And it’s begun, in earnest, all over the state, as coaches are allowed to work with their respective teams as soon as the athletic calendar was finalized for 2012-2013.
Two of my favorite programs, Wayne Hills football and Passaic Valley boys basketball, are already hard at work.
At Wayne Hills, there’s a new era underway as Wayne Demikoff is the new head coach, taking over for the legendary Chris Olsen. Demikoff served 14 seasons as an assistant to Olsen at Hills, so the landscape is somewhat familiar for him, even though the job has certainly changed.
Demikoff made some changes on the coaching staff, adding new faces, including former head coaches in John Jacobs, formerly of West Orange and Jermain Johnson, who was the head man at Paterson Eastside, to be the offensive and defensive coordinators, respectively. There are also a number of returning assistant coaches to the Patriots’ staff for 2013.
Practice began on June 11 with a large turnout of players. The pads won’t be issued until mid August, but there’s plenty of work to do in the meantime, and by the overall tone of the players, they’re thrilled with the coaching staff.
“It was a good week,” Demikoff said this morning. “You always wonder how things will go when there’s a new coaching staff in place, but I couldn’t ask for more. The kids have been great. They’re working hard and I was very happy with the way our new coaches have worked with our players.”
The Patriots were scheduled to take part in a 7-on-7 competition on June 15. There will be plenty of practices, along with the team camp in late June, into early July, which will have the team busy for most of the summer.
“It starts up so quickly,” Demikoff said. “The kids need this time, and so do we, as a staff.”
The opening game of the 2013 season is less than three months away, so at this point, it’s full steam ahead at Wayne Hills.
Meanwhile, at Passaic Valley, the boys basketball team may not ‘officially’ begin practice for another five months, but there’s plenty of kids wearing green and white playing hoops this summer.
The Hornets have been playing in a league at Teaneck twice a week. They will also be hosting a series of games, beginning on June 15 at the varsity gymnasium and extending to two other weekends later this summer. There’s also a few summer leagues, as well as a summer camp. In addition, some of the players will be competing for various AAU teams.
In other words, don’t tell head coach Rob Carcich that these are the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.
“If we want to be good, it starts now,” Carcich said. “The other teams are all doing it. We’ve got the potential to be very good next season, but that doesn’t happen without a lot of work. The expectations have been laid out for the kids. They know what has to be done.”
Carcich will be coaching the team, along with his assistants, Jim Holsworth and Dan Ring, in the various leagues and camps.
Passaic Valley won the Big North championship last season, en route to a 16-10 campaign. It lost in the second round of the state sectional tournament to Sparta after reaching the sectional final in 2011 and 2012.
“It wasn’t a bad year, and just about everyone is returning for this season,” Carcich said. “But we know what we’re capable of doing. Let’s see which kids are ready to put the time in. But, to be fair, so far, we’re showing some good signs. They’re listening and getting better with each summer game in Teaneck. When we play on (June 15) at PV, against some good competition, we’ll get a good idea of what’s up.”
So, with that said, there will be plenty to write about over the next few months. Summer may be here, but it’s business as usual when it comes to athletics.