The Shamokin Area School Board wrote the beginning of the next chapter in Indians' football history Monday evening by appointing Yaacov Yisrael as the district's head football coach. Although at the outset of the hiring process, there were some differences of opinion about the direction the football program should take, the nine school directors, to their credit, were unanimous in approving Yisrael's appointment. This demonstration of support not only does much to make the new coach feel welcome, it bodes well for a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect that is vital to the program's success.

By all indications, the school board has made an excellent choice. Yisrael has had an impressive career as a player (at a high school in Chicago and as a starter at Penn State), so he understands what help players need from coaches to function well in high-pressure situations. Yisrael's coaching stint at Halifax, where he made the most of the limited number of team members on the field, clearly showed that he knows how to motivate players and instill pride in themselves and in their program. At Halifax, he earned the respect of not only players and the school community, but his coaching peers.

In a community that is passionate about its high school football program, Yisrael will certainly challenge players to live up to the public's high expectations. Loyal Shamokin Area fans who want the team to be successful should keep in mind that "success" in competitive athletics is measured by far more than just a win-loss record.

It's important to keep in mind that the most important part of any school program is the students. Not all great coaches have coached championship teams; their "greatness" comes from their ability to "teach" players the virtues of hard work and the importance of cooperation and personal responsibility, in addition to the finer points of the sport. If Yisrael is effective, as we believe he will be, in building a culture of success, the "wins" will naturally follow.