No place like New-Wil

John D'Onofrio

Whether he's doing someone a quick favor and taking photos of old reporters with Gerry Kadryna or simply doing any one of the 1,000 things he does every day, Wilson athletics director Jeff Roth is a chip off the old block.

The same goes for guys like Newfane's AD, my former LHS classmate Doug Ames, without whom providing you with any media coverage would not be possible.

They're the reason behind two tremendously-successful small-school sports programs you've been reading a great deal about in recent weeks.

They're also the reason behind the wins and the reason we're able to provide you with up close and personal stories, photos and now, finally, video.

If I've never said it or don't say it enough, thank you to Mr. Ames and Mr. Roth and all the administrators in your respective districts for allowing us to do our jobs. 

It's definitely a new era in my journalism career and guys like Jeff and Doug (and their security staffs) make it as fun to go to work today as it was on my first day on the job at Lincoln and Summit on Jan. 2, 1987.


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Nate Beutel's Niagara County Community College women's basketball team finished 29-0 in the regular season just the other day — no small accomplishment for any team on any level.

To suggest Beutel's merely recruited locally with success since taking over as head coach seven years ago is the understatement of the century.

Beutel's all-time overall record at NCCC is a staggering 162-50, which gives him a Division 2 winning probability of 76.415 percent heading to the postseason this week. Winning better than three-quarter of your games in any one season is a tremendous accomplishment in itself.


The two-time Region III, D-2 Coach of the Year (2013-14 & 2015-16), Beutel has helped move nearly two dozen players on to four-year programs in that time with approximately half of them earning athletic scholarships.

He's a Sanborn native, but we'd all like to claim him as our own in Niagara County. That's because every where he's gone locally — to work or coach or play — he's touched a lot of lives in a positive way.

Winning three out of four consistently, for seven years now, well, that just screams, “D-1!”

And speaking of D-1 coaching talent, kudos to the NCCC men's team under head coach Bill Beilein, now in his 10th season. The Thunderwolves are 23-6 overall and 7-2 in Western New York Athletic Conference play this year.

Beilein. Barker's former 1,000-pointcourt wizard, is just two wins shy of a milestone 200th career win. He's 198-89 overall, boasting a career D-2 winning percentage of 69 percent.


Impressive yet again for the two-time Region III D-2 Coach of the Year Beilein (2011-12 & 2016-17) 


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How well have you been reading the sports pages of the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal and Niagara Gazette as of late?

Here's a quick quiz to see how well you've been keeping up with local sports:

1) Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen has been in a tweeting war with Jacksonville Jaguars defensive back: A) Jalen Rose B) Jalen Ramsey C) Craig Ramsay D) Waylon Jennings

2) This Grand Island junior turned in an MVP performance in the Lady Vikings' 45-33 victory at Lockport in the 2018-19 Niagara Frontier League girls basketball crossover championship game: A) Lydia Sweeney B) Mary Brennan-Taylor C) Patti Nodine D) Geraldine White

3) These Klumpp brothers are the head coaches of the Newfane girls and boys varsity basketball teams, respectively: A) John and Paul  B) Mick and Keith C) Kevin and Eric D) Mario and Luigi

4) The last names of the recent boys and girls Niagara PAL athlete of the year award winners (from Lockport and Lewiston-Porter high schools, respectively): A) Brooks and Dunn B) Brooks and Crum B) Victor and Crum D) Fife and Drum

5) Rick Wrazin is the Federation ice hockey coach at this local high school: A) Lewiston-Porter B) Niagara Falls C) Niagara-Wheatfield D) Royalton-Hartland

6) This NASCAR driver won the 2019 Daytona 500: A) Denny McClain B) Denny Hamlin C) Ricky Bobby D) Charlie Rudolph

7) This Niagara men's basketball player scored 15 second-half points against Fairfield to help the Purple Eagles snap a four-game losing streak with a 78-73 victory: A) Dom Fotia B) Dom Fragala C) Todd Fragale D) Dom Esposito

8) This hard-working Lockport senior basketball player was recently.featured in a column of mine: A) Morgan Rippe B) Morgan Freeman C) Morgan Stanley D) Cal Ripken  

9) He's the respected veteran head coach of Wilson Lakemen boys basketball team: A) Charlie Jufer B) David Owens C) Jeff Roth D) Brett Sippel 

10) This outstanding Niagara Gazette/Union-Sun & Journal sports reporter filed his final story last week before moving on to greener pastures down south: A) Chris Della Penna B) Jimmy Smith C) Dominic Napoleone D) Wynston Wilcox

ANSWERS: 1-B, 2-A, 3-C, 4-B, 5-C, 6-B, 7-B, 8-A, 9-D, 10-D

Follow veteran sports reporter and editor John D'Onofrio on Twitter @JohnD'Onofrio7.