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October 20, 2014

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high school sports:

The natives sure get restless when Gorman doesn’t win

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Steve Marcus

Bishop Gorman High School baseball coach Nick Day smiles during an interview at the school Tuesday, May 17, 2011. Day is coming under fire after the Gaels were eliminated from contention for a state title by Centennial — a team they beat 13-0 two weeks ago — in the Sunset Regional championship game. They lost twice to Centennial in the tournament.

Gorman Coach Nick Day

First-year Bishop Gorman High School baseball coach Nick Day is shown during practice at the school Tuesday, May 17, 2011. Gorman opens Thursday against Green Valley High School, which is Day's alma mater. Day, one of the best players in Green Valley history, helped the school win a state-record six consecutive crowns in the mid-1990s. Gorman, the five-time defending state champs, is looking to equal Green Valley's mark this year. Launch slideshow »

The high school baseball season was over for about one hour Saturday for Nevada power Bishop Gorman when my phone rang.

“When are they going to get rid of Nick Day?,” the caller ridiculously asked about the job status of the fourth-year Gorman coach.

That’s how I learned nationally ranked Gorman wouldn’t be part of this week’s state tournament in Reno. The Gaels were eliminated by Centennial — a team they beat 13-0 two weeks ago — in the Sunset Regional championship game. They lost twice to Centennial in the tournament.

After winning a state-best seven straight state championships through the 2012 season, the Gorman dynasty is no longer. Gorman lost to Coronado in last year’s state title game to snap the streak and also fell to Bonanza in the 2013 Sunset finals. Last year, however, the Gaels still made the state event because it was located in Southern Nevada.

Centennial — just like Bonanza and Coronado last year — has a quality program with good players. But, make no doubt about it, this was an upset. And that’s why the natives are surprisingly restless with Day.

But would Tony Sanchez’s job be at risk if five-time defending football state champion Gorman lost to Centennial? What about basketball coach Grant Rice, the winningest coach in Nevada history? Remember, Centennial basketball nearly beat Gorman three times last year. Obviously, both coaches have nothing to worry about. Actually, Gorman supporters are lucky both haven’t left for college jobs, for which they are clearly qualified.

So, why did three people contact me over the weekend about Day’s future with Gorman baseball? Are the expectations so outrageous that if Gorman runs into a hot pitcher and loses, that a coach with multiple state championships has to worry about getting a pink slip?

If I’m receiving calls about Day’s future, imagine the calls to the school. Sure, the coach at Gorman is in the spotlight more than any other program in the state. Day knew of those expectations when he was promoted from assistant in 2010 when Chris Sheff left for a college job, but could have never imagined the unfair pressure to win.

The Internet coaches — those making comments on message boards or messaging me to complain — need to take a look in the mirror. Could they do better?

This is high school baseball. Not college or the professional ranks.

Day doesn’t have to worry about his job status. He’s a great coach and even better person. He’s smart, understands the game and puts in the work needed to succeed.

In 2011, minutes after players emerged from a dog pile on the pitcher’s mound after winning the state tournament, Day gathered them in the outfield for a postgame message. He briefly congratulated them, then told players practice was the following day for the American Legion season. That following day was a Sunday.

That’s why I’m confused with calls for a new coach. Gorman can’t win state in every sport every season. Here’s hoping the next email is one celebrating the achievement of those kids at Centennial. Well done, fellas. You beat Gorman because you were the better team. And that has nothing to do with coaching.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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