By LANCE MIHM
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
“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
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
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.”