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Pierandri brings Division I experience to SU as new men’s ice hockey coach

first_imgSyracuse club men’s ice hockey coach Nicholas Pierandri learned to grind out every single minute during his playing days at Boston College.Then again, he didn’t really have a choice.Surrounded by future NHL players like Brian Gionta, Marty Reasoner and Brooks Orpik, the Connecticut native had to fight for ice time. Whether that meant simply killing penalties or playing through his junior season with a broken wrist, he did whatever it took.Respect was earned, not given, and he wasn’t afraid to throw his weight around in order to abide by that principle.“I knocked out Orpik in practice. They had to bring the smelling salts out,” Pierandri said with a chuckle. “He was a freshman, and I was a senior. He tried to step up on me.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textPlaying for Eagles head coach Jerry York, now the winningest coach in NCAA history, he learned how to play like a champion on and off the ice.“Life lessons,” Pierandri said when asked what he learned from York. “How to handle situations, how to be cool under pressure, how to rise to the occasion when you get to the big games, and how to perform at your peak level.”Now, Pierandri brings those lessons to the bench as the new head coach for the Syracuse club men’s ice hockey team.“He is incredibly passionate about hockey and has brought the energy to a whole other level,” team captain Russell Suskind said. “All around, we look really, really solid.”However, Pierandri’s ultimate task is building the squad into a nationally-recognized program. One of his goals is to produce the first NHL player from SU.“I want to bring tradition to the club,” Pierandri said. “I want them to build their own tradition. There’s no question in my mind that Syracuse can be like a Boston College in hockey.”After playing travel hockey as a kid, Pierandri developed into a promising athlete in high school. Playing for the Salisbury School in Connecticut, he was named an All-Prep School first-team selection in hockey during his senior year.At that point, Pierandri thought his only opportunity to play collegiate hockey would be at the Division III level.That all changed during a Christmas tournament.“Marty was on the team that I was playing against, and Jerry happened to be at the game,” Pierandri said. “We were the only team to beat Marty’s team that whole year. I had two goals that game, and we ended up beating them in a total upset.”York saw enough to offer him a spot on the Eagles as a recruited walk-on in 1995. After playing only eight games as a freshman, he was able to work his way into a consistent spot in the lineup the following three seasons.The Eagles reached two Frozen Fours during that time, both of which ended in heartbreak.But rather than mope about those defeats, he continues to use them as motivation.“It does drive me, the fact that I didn’t get to win a national title and other guys did,” he said. “It’s something that’s a burning flame in there.”Although he never played professionally, Pierandri has found a new passion in coaching. Since 2008, he has coached the Perinton Blades travel team and at Pittsford High School in New York.“I like teaching kids the game. I like bringing the experiences I’ve had to them,” he said.In the same way that he has seen his players grow and develop, Pierandri is hoping to see Syracuse rise to prominence. He has already held the team to a high standard during conditioning and tryouts, naming the four practice squads after Ernie Davis, Larry Csonka, Floyd Little and Jim Brown.“I’ve been here three years, and tryouts were the most competitive they’ve ever been,” senior center Aaron Witzel said. “He’s pretty intense, but he knows what he’s doing.”At the same time, Pierandri understands that on-ice results won’t be the most important measure of his success.Much like his former head coach, he hopes to build a group of winners away from the rink.“College hockey is an experience for them that should be enjoyable, but they all need to graduate and go on and start their lives,” Pierandri said. “How you can take the game and translate that into how to live your life, that’s the important thing.” Comments Published on September 16, 2013 at 1:13 am Contact Tyler: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Dwayne Haskins gives Bengals every reason to act now with QB in NFL Draft

first_imgHaskins hosted the Dwayne Haskins Football Pro Camp at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Sunday with hundreds of grade-school football players from the area. He bounced from station to station and played with the campers as his highlights from 2018 replayed on a loop on the giant television on the complex’s wall. Haskins was in their shoes when he was a young football player. “You will forever have a home here as a ballplayer coming to this university,” Haskins told a group of reporters at the camp. “To be able to go the spring game and share that with my former teammates and people I look up to in the NFL, which now I’m a part of, is an unbelievable experience.”Where will Haskins find his next home? That is the big question now.NFL DRAFT BIG BOARD:Where Haskins ranks among 2019 QBs Haskins’ stock for the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft continues to fluctuate, and Sporting News’ latest mock draft has the quarterback going to Denver with the No. 10 pick. What about the pick after that?Cincinnati should consider this move for several reasons, one being that it competes in an AFC North battleground state. Haskins could be a counter to neighboring Cleveland.”It would be great to continue that Ohio connection, but I’m just looking forward to whatever (team) picks me,” Haskins said.Ken Broo, host of “Sunday Morning Sports Talk” on WLW-AM Radio in Cincinnati, gave two reasons why the Bengals should consider Haskins with the No. 11 pick: Haskins has the talent to be a successful NFL quarterback, and there is an economic appeal to the pick.”Every team, in my opinion, needs cost certainty,” Broo told SN. “Despite the cap, you have to have cost certainty. Look at these teams going with young quarterbacks because their rookie deals keep them under team control with cost certainty for five years.”MORE NFL DRAFT:Order of picks for Bengals, others in 2019The Bengals are a team in transition in 2019. Marvin Lewis is gone after a 16-year stint. Zac Taylor, one of the chic assistants off the Sean McVay tree, is the new coach. Quarterback Andy Dalton has two years left on his deal, but there is no dead-money cap hit if he is released. Broo calls it a state of “quarterback purgatory.””(Dalton) is not going to get you where they want to go, and he’s not going to get you beaten on a consistent basis because of a lack of skills,” Broo said. “He’s just there.”If Haskins is available to the Bengals, then, yes, it’s a pick worth considering. Cincinnati has not indicated that will happen. Taylor continues to throw support in Dalton’s direction. Linebacker has been a popular pick in mock drafts because of the departure of veteran Vontaze Burfict.When asked about Cincinnati, Haskins mentioned former Ohio State teammates Sam Hubbard and Billy Price. Hubbard, a third-round pick in 2018, emerged as a Cincinnati fan favorite with six sacks as a rookie. It adds up to another Ohio connection with which Haskins seems comfortable.”I haven’t talked to the Bengals since the (NFL) Combine, but the draft is so crazy, you never know what can happen,” he said. “If I go down the street, that would be awesome.” COLUMBUS, Ohio — Dwayne Haskins’ return to Ohio State last weekend proved he will always have a home in Ohio.Haskins, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2018 after a record-setting season, attended the Ohio State spring game Saturday. He waved to the fans walking in the tunnel. He shadowed incoming quarterback Justin Fields. He locked arms with players and sang “Carmen Ohio” one more time, and he wasn’t done. If the Cardinals draft Kyler Murray with the No. 1 pick, then he will join Baker Mayfield (2018) and Sam Bradford (2010) as the third Oklahoma quarterback to be taken with the first pick this decade. By comparison, to find the last Big Ten quarterback drafted in the first round, one must rewind back to 1995, when the Panthers took Penn State’s Kerry Collins with the No. 5 overall pick.Haskins is in line to break that streak. ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay is surprised by the trend, but he does not see a correlation between conference and quarterback play. After all, former Big Ten quarterbacks Tom Brady and Drew Brees were not first-round picks.”There doesn’t seem to be a stigma out there if you want to play quarterback at a high level you don’t go to a Big Ten school,” McShay said. “It’s kind of been a coincidence.”Haskins, however, would have the pressure associated with a first-rounder. Broo cited two more perceptions that Haskins must disprove in the NFL.”He has a short resume with the one season, but they hired a head coach with virtually no resume,” Broo said. “The other reason I hesitate is the legend of Ohio State quarterbacks that have excelled at the NFL level is pretty short.”That second part is worth noting; the last Ohio State quarterback to be taken in the first round was Art Schlichter in 1982. The Buckeyes have had seven quarterbacks drafted since 1995: Bobby Hoying, Joe Germaine, Steve Bellisari, Craig Krenzel, Troy Smith, Terrelle Pryor and Cardale Jones. They have combined for 32 starts in the NFL.MORE NFL DRAFT:All-time worst regret for Bengals, othersHaskins posted better single-season passing numbers than any of those players at Ohio State. He set single-season Big Ten records for touchdown passes (50) and yards (4,831) in an offense enhanced by now-head coach Ryan Day, who had previous stops in the NFL with the Eagles and 49ers. That’s why this is different. Haskins is not a traditional Ohio State quarterback. He is the next in a new wave of quarterbacks.”Ryan Day has had a big role in developing Haskins and how quickly Haskins got to that high level with only 14 starts,” McShay said. “That will help Ohio State, and it can’t hurt the conference.”It can’t hurt the Bengals, either. If not now at QB for Cincinnati, then when?Consider the competition in the AFC North. Pittsburgh is already having to think about life after Ben Roethlisberger, and Baltimore has started a new era with Lamar Jackson.Cincinnati should look at Cleveland as an example of what a new look can provide. The Browns drafted Mayfield, picked up Odell Beckham Jr. in a blockbuster offseason trade and gave first-year coach Freddie Kitchens more than enough talent with which to work. Now Cleveland is a popular pick to win the division. Broo noted that Bengals owner Mike Brown is not going to make draft picks based on what the Browns are doing, but it is fair for Cincinnati to ask the same questions Cleveland did after going 0-16 in 2017.”All of this comes down to ‘Where are you in two years?'” Broo said.Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green will be a free agent in 2020. Running back Joe Mixon will follow in 2021. Haskins could be a player who gives those playmakers an incentive to stay, especially if he flourishes in Taylor’s new scheme. This worked for another franchise that played in the AFC championship game last season and took eventual Super Bowl champion New England to overtime.”I’m not sure the best blueprint for this team isn’t what Kansas City did two years ago with Patrick Mahomes,” Broo said. “They drafted him and rode with Alex Smith for a year. After that year, when they needed that group to win right now, they went with Mahomes. Maybe you do the same thing here with Haskins.”MORE NFL DRAFT:Ranking first-round QBs since 2000Haskins has the skill set to be a successful NFL quarterback for years to come, one who can break those Big Ten and Ohio State stereotypes. He would give the Bengals a long-term plan at quarterback and excite a fan base that would welcome the kind of buzz that’s now in Cleveland.Haskins already occupies the middle ground of the state in Central Ohio, where Browns and Bengals fans spend most Sundays arguing over which team gets televised when both are playing in the same time slot.Right now, Cleveland is must-see TV. Haskins with the Bengals would throw a wrench into that, especially in Columbus. If Haskins is the Ohio State quarterback who finally breaks through, then Cincinnati would have a counter to Cleveland for the next five years. That cost certainty would be there, too.Haskins would have another home in Ohio. He will always have that in Columbus, which was reaffirmed over the weekend.Haskins closed the weekend by telling campers the last year “was a dream come true,” and he can’t wait to see what comes next. Haskins said he will watch the NFL Draft with family, and he does not seem too concerned about when his name will be called. “All my friends in the NFL say it doesn’t matter how early you go, it’s where you go. I don’t care if I go first or I go 32,” Haskins said. “I just want to go to a place where the guys are going to develop me, have great people around me and be at a great organization. That’s a lot of teams. There are a lot of possibilities.”Cincinnati can be one of those places, too.If Haskins is there at No. 11, there is no reason for the Bengals not to make the pick. A franchise that understands its surroundings makes this move.last_img read more