The Page Pirates administration made a bold move this week releasing head football coach Bob Via. The Pirates chose to say goodbye to Via and they didn’t give a real reason why. Bob Via is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and he seemed to being doing a great job with the young men at Page. Page had been losing more than they had been winning lately but the Pirate program was still sending players off to college at the completion of their high school playing careers.
According to the News and Record report the Page principal Terry Worrell and the athletics director Rusty Lee could not give a reason why Via was let go. The school will look to go in another direction. Maybe the News and Record got Via fired. The News and Record went inside the Page program during a week long feature this past fall and maybe Robert Bell uncoverd some items that the Page brass did not want to know.
From what the News and Record reported and from what I’ve seen over the years winning was secondary to Bob Via. Bob put the greatest amount of importance on how he treated people and how his players acted as young men representing the school and the community. Bob was also very active in his church and encouraged his players to take an active role in the church and in their familiy’s activities. This type of action could be determined to be very detrimental by today’s school administrative standards.
What did Via do wrong? It is possible that Bob just didn’t win enough games but I counter that by saying he didn’t have enough time to make it happen. Page had a winning record under Via’s leadership and he put in many long years of service to Page and the Guilford County school system even before he became head coach. Bob was 29-27 overall as the Pirates head man but he went 0-10 one year and lost to GRIMSLEY the past two years and that’s all some fans will remember about Bob Via at Page. The Page fans will only look back at the 0-10 season and the losses to Grimsley when they remember Cocah Via and that is not right.
After going 0-10 in 2004, Via’s Pirates made the playoffs in 2005. You would think after a playoff season that hopes for the following year would be high for Via and Page in 2006 but the coach that put his players and relationships first will not see the Pirate sideline in 2006. Why not give him one more year? Via and his Pirates had begun to turn things around and the building process was then suddenly shut down. Via did nothing wrong but treat others with respect and if that is wrong we are all in big trouble. Grimsley has now beaten Page two years in a row but listen, give the Whirlies some respect for those victories. Grimsley was due and it is now their time to shine, but Via deserved one more year to try to beat them.
Bob Via helped get his players into college, just take a look across the country and there goes Remene Alston on his way to Oregon. If Alston was not ready and if Via hadn’t have trained him, Alston would not be going to a major conference like the Pac-10. Bob did his job and he will not get a chance to finish it but the school that gets him will be very fortunate to have a good, hard-working leader like Bob Via. I would say give Via a try and hopefully he will take his son Michael(the big Soph. Offensive lineman 6’6/225lb.) with him to his new football team. Via will land on his feet as an assistant coach in Guilford County and his new school we be very lucky to get him and his family. His wife Mary has always been by his side and I am sure they will continue to bless the people they come in contact with.
This whole deal reminds me in some ways of N.C. State when Valvano was outsted and they brought in the former N.C. State player and assistant coach Les Robinson to coach the Wolfpack. N.C. State is red and white, Page is red and white. Robinson played for State and Via played for Page. Robinson was an assistant coach at State, the same for Via at Page. Robinson became head coach at State, same for Bob Via at Page. Les Robinson got the Pack headed on the way back but he didn’t have enough success against his rival North Carolina, Via faced similar problems with Grimsley. The Wolfpack decided to release Robinson and the Pirates said goodbye to Bob Via. Via did as much if not more for Page than what Robinson did for N.C. State but both got the same end results. Later on Herb Sendek came to Raleigh and did well, hopefully everything will work out for the kids at Page with their new coach.
The kids are the most important thing and Bob Via had those kids first and foremost on his mind. Les Robinson had Chris Corchiani and Rodney Monroe(the old fire and ice) but unfortunately when it was all said and done Les was no more in Raleigh.
Good people like Bob Via don’t come around often and he will be missed by all who knew him. The best thing about this deal is that Bob is not finished and he will be back on someone’s sideline soon and we wish him the best, because I found Bob Via to be a sound individual that treated other people the way he wanted to be treated and that is with respect. Bob we have all the respect in the world for you and look forward to working with you again in the future.