CONGRATULATIONS TO QUINCY Notre Dame football coach Bill Connell, recently selected as a finalist for the U.S. Cellular Most Valuable Coach award. Coach Connell is one of 15 finalists from around the country. This is a huge deal, and I'm going to vote for him, and I hope he wins the whole dang thing.
Coach Connell is a character, with his booming voice. But you know one thing about him as soon as you meet him - he demands respect and doesn't tolerate foolishness. You might be the star player on the team, but if you don't follow the rules or if you goof around, well .... you'll look good from the bench.
Secondly, Coach Connell has impacted young lives for years at QND. Look, my daughter went to Quincy High School and her Blue Devils had some epic girls basketball games against Notre Dame - name the last time Quincy High School beat QND in girls hoops (hint, it was when Emily was a sophomore, it was in a regional semifinal game in Springfield, and it was nine years ago). So I'm not vested at Notre Dame, but I respect the school and the fact they represent Quincy.
Actually, I think Rick Little should also be nominated for this award, given the incredible job he's done for the QHS football program. It looks like the Blue Devils will host a first-round playoff game next week and it's great to see them get state-wide respect - winning a Western Big 6 title will do it for you.
Tonight is the big QHS vs. QND football game at 10th and Jackson. The place will be packed and I'm sure emotions will run high. But keep it all in perspective, and remember that this is high school athletics, not the freaking Super Bowl.
Best of luck to all the players and coaches. It doesn't matter who you cheer for - we all win, with such great coaches and leaders.