That plan was executed perfectly. This past Monday, the school board approved the nomination of Brian Beany as Fitch’s new boys basketball leader.Beany is a lifelong resident of Austintown and a 1989 graduate of Fitch. He is also a proud graduate of Youngstown State. He has been a coach in the Fitch program since 1993. He was an assistant to both Gary Conroy and Roger Day at the varsity level and has coached every aged kid from fourth grade to senior in high school. He is currently the health and physical education teacher at both Frank Ohl School and Austintown Middle school. That familiarity with the Falcons played a huge role in Beany becoming varsity bench boss.
“I have had my hands in the mix,” said Beany with a chuckle over his cell phone. “When you have been with a program as long as I have, you take pride in it.”
Pride may be the only thing these Falcons may be playing for next year because they are coming off a five-win season in 2010-2011 and back-to-back, single-digit win seasons. At least Fitch has escaped the rough-and-tumble Federal League for the closer-to-town All American Red Tier. Not that playing teams like Canfield, Howland and Poland will be easy, but it will afford Fitch the chance to set up some local adversaries.
“(The Red Tier) has some great teams and coaches,” said Beany. “With hard work, we can compete. In the Federal League you had to bring your 'A' game every night and we will have to work that hard (in the Red Tier). We will be able to establish true rivalries which is better for the fans and the student body. Everything (about joining the Red Tier) is a positive.”
Austintown school Superintendent Vince Colaluca was absolutely positive when talking about Beany as the new coach.
“He is a good guy,” Colaluca said on Monday. “The committee recommended him and we went along with them and believe me this committee had a wealth of basketball knowledge.”
Colaluca also added that the speed in which Beany was hired was a major plus for the program.
“We wanted to act fast because so the kids can start to work (with the new coach),” the superintendent said.
Although the hiring of Beany was done quickly, rebuilding the Fitch basketball program should be a much slower process. Thanks to the new coach’s awareness of the younger players throughout the Fitch system, however, that rebuilding may not be as long as one may think.
“We have solid freshman kids and kids in middle school,” said Beany. “Things look bright down the road for us. Once you start winning, it becomes contagious. I feel positive that things will work the right way.”
The best way for Beany’s new team to start that winning is by believing that they can win. Coach Beany helped with the creation of travel teams amongst fifth and sixth grade Austintown kids to give them a big time attitude and so by the time they reach high school they will be eager to put on a Falcon uniform. Right now, Beany is extremely eager to get the Falcons flying in the right direction. He believes he owes that to the people of his home town.
“The ability of this program is there,” Beany insisted. “My job is to instill pride in these players. This community deserves that.”
Photo by J.T. Whitehouse