Ulicny tabbed to lead TV team


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HEGINS - Mike Ulicny spent a lot of time over the past several years fishing during the fall months.

Come September, the fishing rod and bait will have to be put on the shelf for a bit.

Ulicny was hired Wednesday, Jan. 30 by the Tri-Valley School Board by a 6-1 vote as the Dawgs football coach, returning to the sidelines he roamed for 16 seasons previously.

Ulicny takes over for Mike Kogut, who was not retained following the season. Kogut posted a 34-26 mark in five seasons at Tri-Valley, including the 2009 District 11 Class A championship and a trip to the district final last season.

"It kind of caught me by surprise," Ulicny said. "I always have the fire burning. Now that I'm in, I'm going to go the full boat at it. Our kids will always be prepared and hopefully be competitive on game night."

Being competitive was never a problem for the Dawgs during Ulicny's previous tenure from 1989-2004.

Ulicny oversaw some of the best teams in program history while leading the Dawgs from 1989-2004. Tri-Valley posted a 117-65-3 mark, reaching the postseason 11 times in his 16 years at the helm.

Tri-Valley won the District 11 Class A championship in 1991, 1999 and 2000, making the PIAA semifinals in 1999 and quarterfinals in 2000.

During his first tenure, Ulicny's teams were known for their physical style. He also wasn't opposed to opening up the offense as quarterback Joe Wonchalk posted more than 4,000 yards passing during his career.

Ulicny praised Kogut's abilities to motivate his squads at Tri-Valley and the success the Dawgs experienced during his tenure.

"I'm fortunate enough to inherit some of these same kids," Ulicny said. "I have to instill that same attitude with the kids coming up and in the midget program. (We want to encourage kids to want) to be football players and strive to do their best at it."

An eighth- and ninth-grade Earth and Physical Science teacher at Tri-Valley, Ulicny is familiar with the student-athletes and hopes that plays to the Dawgs' advantage.

"I know the kids. I taught them all," Ulicny said. "I'm in the school. I think that's one of the things I was looking for. I know how to run a football program."

After leaving the program in 2004 to spend more time with his family, Ulicny spent two seasons as an assistant coach. He's remained involved with the Schuylkill County Football Coaches Association as secretary and treasurer, but hasn't coached since 2006.

"I'm behind the eight-ball," Ulicny said. "I have some catching up to do. Everything else, we'll see what happens."

Ulicny was scheduled to meet with the rising seniors and plans to assemble a coaching staff over the next several weeks.

"I kind of wasn't expecting to be coaching, but I always told our administration I'm ready to fill in (if needed)," Ulicny said.

As for the fishing ...

"That's going to be given up. I'll be able to fish another time."

In other business, Nicole Snyder was selected as the girls' soccer coach for the Dawgs. She replaces Rahn Richards, who resigned following the season.

Additionally, Bob Felty Jr. was appointed athletic director and Wayne Klinger assistant athletic director.

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