Dalton no stranger to public criticism
7/23/2010 3:32 AM
The passion with which the former and current football players at Trinity High School support football coach Ed Dalton is nothing short of amazing, if not fanatical.
And it's something that continues to amaze Dalton, who deserves credit for being able to identify and communicate with players in a manner effective enough to draw such a following.
Even parents of the players fervently back Dalton, the school's athletic director for 11 years before the school board transferred the oft-outspoken coach to a teaching position.
Some of those players and parents occasionally turned recent school board meetings into spectacles and made outsiders wonder if sports commanded too much attention.
Again, Dalton takes such speculation as a compliment.
"When people say that, it really is the ultimate compliment to me," Dalton said. "The naysayers say all that we're about is athletics. If there was a perception when I arrived here, it was that no one cared about athletics. It was all about the band and other things. Now, no one can deny that athletics is important."
Athletics certainly ranks as important to Dalton, and the man who guided Trinity football to seven WPIAL playoff appearances filed a civil suit against the district last week citing a breach of oral employment contract.
Dalton wants his job as Trinity's athletic director back and hopes the lawsuit is a needed step in recovering the position, which remains open as the 2010-11 school year approaches.
Whether the lawsuit achieves its objective or not, Dalton will continue to have the support of many players and players' parents.
As for the rest of the community, judging by the negative comments created when the Observer-Reporter ran the story of Dalton's lawsuit in Tuesday's edition, many have had enough of the situation between Dalton and the school board.
It should make for some interesting scenes when Trinity opens its 2010 football season Friday, Sept. 3, at Canon-McMillan. The Hillers play their home opener a week later against Chartiers Valley.
Dalton's no stranger to public backlash. It happened when he ended the Trinity-Washington football rivalry in 1999 and again when he created a youth football league.
"I've already made a pact with the players. We're going to work hard," Dalton said. "It's a great bunch of kids who want to be successful. And I will go into the classroom and do the best I can."