To the editor:
With all the conversation going on about the current high-profile case in Steubenville, there have been many accusations made. While I do not presume to know the details of what happened that night or who was there and how they each participated, I do know that all the negativity coming from those inside and outside of Steubenville toward Coach Reno Saccoccia is unfounded. While everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, those who have been trying to paint him as a man who "only cares about football" are obviously people who do not know him on a personal level. Even in Steubenville some only know him in reputation and have never had a real conversation with him.
Saccoccia has been a positive influence in the lives of a countless number of young men, including myself. This is a man who has devoted more than half his life, not just to winning football games, but to helping mold young boys into men. He teaches respect, discipline, humility, hard work and faith to his players on a daily basis. He helps shape boys into good students, good husbands, good fathers and good employees. These, in his eyes, are all a priority over being a good athlete. His guidance is still relevant in my life today. He tries to treat each young man as a member of his own family. I know these things not because I read an online article, not because I saw an anonymous comment on a website, not because a friend of a friend told me and not because my cousin's friend's nephew heard - I know these things about his character because I know him. Does that mean that everyone he has coached has had the message rooted into their core being? No. Does that mean that the men he has helped shape have not made mistakes? No. None of us is perfect - the poor choices and actions of some of his players, past or present, are in no way a representation of the character of Reno Saccoccia.
On Dec. 23, Brandon Frey wrote a good letter demonstrating how Saccoccia has left his door open to his former players ("Saccoccia always willing to help.") Frey's example is not the only one. When I come to Steubenville to visit, I often pop in on Coach Sac just to say hello and catch up. He is not concerned with my (lack of) athletic career at the age of 31 - he is more concerned with how I am doing in life how my daughter is doing, how my job is going and if I'm happy in what I'm doing with my life.
In this day and age, when good role models are hard to come by, I am proud to have found one in the halls of 420 N. Fourth St. in my years at Big Red.