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Continuity has been key to success of MinersPosted Wednesday, September 22, 2010, at 5:31 PM
Such has been the case for the Linton-Stockton football team, especially since Steve Weber was promoted to replace Rick Wellington as head coach in 2000.
"This is the most winningest (coaching) staff in the history of Miner football," Weber told his players after a 34-19 victory Friday night gave him a 97-25 record in his 11 seasons in charge of Linton-Stockton. "...This staff has been together for a really long time.
"Wellington brought all of these guys in, including myself in 1995. To have the success we've had, you have to have continuity. I don't know how teams that change coaches every couple of years do it. I know I have been very fortunate to work with these guys."
Wellington posted a 42-16 mark from 1995 to 1999, before the reigns were handed to Weber.
With the fourth win in five games this season, Weber passed Hall of Famer Gerald "Two Penny" Landis, who had the all-time record at Linton for wins (96-47-7 from 1923 to 1938). If anyone can appreciate the accomplishments of Landis and Weber, it is 1947 Linton-Stockton graduate Bob Elkins.
"Records are made to be broken," said Elkins, the unofficial historian of Linton-Stockton football. "What coach Weber has done is rather fantastic.
"He has come within an eyelash of going to the state final game a couple of times. He has established a record of his own down there."
Linton-Stockton athletic director Charlie Karazsia posted an 84-36 record during his 12 seasons (1980-1991) in charge of Miner football, the third most wins in school history. If anyone understands the pressure and criticism a coach takes, it would be Karazsia.
"It is quite an honor for Steve," said Karazsia. "It takes a longevity to accomplish something like this.
"When "Two-Penny" coached, they played 10 games per year. Now with the playoffs, the Miners can play as many as 14-15 games a year and that makes a difference. But Steve and his staff have a great winning percentage."
Karazsia said that 12 years was enough for himself.
"It really takes a toll on you," said Karazsia. "There is a lot of wear and tear physically and emotionally.
"I knew after 12 years that I was done. I hope that Steve continues to coach for a long time, but I know at some point he will decided it is over for him too."
Karazsia, who like Landis is a member of the Indiana Football Hall of Fame, said that he and Weber have a few things in common.
"Nobody can win games without talented players," said Karazsia. "We had some very good players when I coached and Steve also has been fortunate with the players that have come through the program in the past decade or so.
"You cannot have success without a good coaching staff. I know that I had some very good coaches to work with in my day and Steve has the same thing today."
Mike Hayden, Joe Hayden, Brian Oliver, Mark Gennicks and Joe Lorig, a former head coach at North Knox and several other stops, are assistants on the current Miner staff, which has guided the Miners to three consecutive Class A sectional championships.
"I can't say enough about all of the coaches," said Weber. "They have been just as big of a part of this as I have been.
"This is something that I have thought about for a long time. But now we can put this behind us and move forward with the season."
There are currently seven former Miner players and coaches in the Indiana Football Hall of Fame. Elkins thinks that Weber will make it eight some day.
"There is no reason that Weber shouldn't be inducted into the Hall of Fame after he is done coaching," said Elkins. "There is no doubt about that."
Weber, Karazsia and Wellington have combined to win 223 games while losing just 77.
After Roy Williams, another HOF member, went 53-58-6 between 1940 and 1951, the Miners slumped and won just 62 games in 22 seasons (1952 and 1973)
Since Randy Lynch and Dan Galbraith combined to win 33 and lose 26 between 1974 and 1979, the Miners have won 268 and lost 121 games over the past 40-plus years.
The Miners are the 21st winningest program in the state since 1994. They have a .747 winning percentage (142-48) over the past 17 seasons, including this one.
B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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