By Marty Gordon
Rick Cormany started his 40th season last week as the head coach of the men’s basketball team at Radford High School, but he well knows that his Bobcats will face challenges this season both his squad and he have never seen in his previous 39 seasons.
The season starts with a lot of uncertainties with restrictions associated with COVID-19 and thus will provide challenges the likes of which the veteran coach has never encountered.
His team has had no live play in the off season, and that has been tough on coaches and players for a program that is used to being together and practicing.
“In normal times we play pickup two or three times a week in the off season,” Cormany said earlier this week. “We have spent more time on skills. I think kids just want to play and are serious about being safe in order to play.
“We’ll just have to make sure we’re following all the safety guidelines and stress to the team the importance of being safe and smart away from the court,” Cormany said.
So far, none of his team or staff have been affected by the virus.
The Three Rivers District, of which Radford is a member, is having to tinker with scheduling. “So far scheduling has been fine, but I’m sure it will get tricky if teams have cases [of the virus] pop up,” admitted Cormany.
The Virginia High School League (VHSL) has said participants do not have to wear face covering when engaged in workouts or competitions, but has recommended that coaches and officials wear masks to the greatest extent possible. They must wear face covering when on the sidelines.
All individuals must maintain six feet or a greater distance from each other while on the bench. The VHSL also recommends using the first level of the bleachers as overflow for team personnel and to provide limited contact between players when substituting.
Jump balls will be eliminated with the visiting team receiving the first possession of the game. To start an overtime, a coin toss will determine who is awarded the ball.
The basketball will be given to officials in the locker room where it will be sanitized and not used for warm-ups. The host school must then assure the ball is sanitized during time outs and between quarters. Sanitizer must also be provided at the scorer’s table for everyone involved in the contest.
This past year, Cormany was named the All-county/All-City coach of the decade for his outstanding career. He notched his 700th win last season to move him to number four on the state’s most wins list all-time and number one among active coaches.
In 1993, the Radford dynasty began.
The Bobcats have won five state championships, 20 of the last 21 regular season championships in the Three Rivers District, 15 of 16 tournament championships, the last four Conference 45 championships, five Region C championships (2001, 2002, 2004, 2013), three Region 1A West championships (2014, 2016, 2017), two Region 2C championships (2018, 2019) and have made nine trips to the state finals.
“So far, we’ve stayed out of gathering in the locker room. When we do begin using the locker room, we will social distance, wear masks, wash hands and do anything else we can to make it safe for our players and coaches,” Cormany said.