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The Daily



09-15-03: Celebrating victory number 100


ST. MARYS — Al Solomon, head coach of the St. Marys Colts midget football league team, celebrated his 100th victory as the Colts upended Shawnee by a score of 30-6 on Sunday.
A large sign announcing the milestone, along with a bath with every water bottle and water jug within reach of any of the 32 players age 9-12, showed everyone there was aware of the mark.
“Sometimes you like to give yourself too much credit,” Solomon said after the game. “I have had some great coaches through the years. But it’s still the kids out there doing the work.”
Solomon hit the 100-win mark in his 26th year as coach, something that looks more impressive when you consider the league only plays a six-game schedule each year. Solomon’s teams have compiled a 100-60-2 mark since his first year in 1978.
“I started doing it just for the love of the game and the kids,” Solomon said. “You are not just teaching them the game of football. You are trying to help them get off on the right foot in succeeding with life.”
The Colts have made the playoffs 14 times in the 26 years since Solomon became coach, including seven times in a row in the 1990s. The team captured the league championship in 1993 and 1995. According to league records, the Colts are the only one of the three St. Marys teams to capture a championship. The team is on its way to another playoff appearance with a 2-0 start this season.
“He is great with the kids,” said Rick Broyles, who is in his third year as a member of Solomon’s coaching staff. “He is strict in a football sense, but he gives them (kids) respect. The kids admire him for that. It’s like a big family.”
About 800 kids have played for the Colts in Solomon’s tenure, a figure that represents about 10 percent of the town’s population. Solomon said you get a feeling of satisfaction seeing those kids grow up and play on the high school team.
“Seeing them on the high school team is what it is all about,” Solomon said. “Seeing that the young men have succeeded in high school or college and then succeeding in life.”
Several fans pointed out that three starting running back positions for the high school team had played with the Colts.
Solomon said the biggest change since he began coaching is the size of the kids and having to scout games to stay competitive.
“The kids are so much bigger now,” Solomon said. “There was a time when you didn’t worry about scouting your opponents, but now you have to or you are that much further behind everyone else.”
Solomon said he may be giving up the position soon.
“I’ve been thinking about giving it up over the next few years,” Solomon said. “But I’ve said that before and then you see the kids getting ready for the next season and ready to practice and you come right back. We’ll see what happens.”


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