Here’s something worth cheering.
Pegula Sports and Entertainment, parent company of the Buffalo Bills and Sabres, and ADPRO Sports, the locally based company that produces custom uniforms, have promised to step in with the full range of their professional expertise to enhance athletic programs in Buffalo Public Schools.
Despite longtime involvement with the district, both companies wanted to make clear they plan to be part of what should be an exciting athletics upgrade. As Superintendent Kriner Cash said in The News, “They are all in.”
The gesture is another example of those who have made it extending a powerful helping hand to the next generation.
The boost from these two companies could include providing student mentors to discuss eligibility requirements for college athletics and assisting the district in growing its athletic offerings. And we like this one: better training for high school coaches, in addition to marketing high school teams and providing student athletes with “shadowing” opportunities within the sports management company, which also operates the Buffalo Marriott HarborCenter.
This interaction with an outfit as diverse as Pegula Sports and Entertainment can be life changing for student athletes at every level. Russ Brandon, managing partner and president, pointed out that the company has 22 properties, with opportunities ranging from the equipment department to community relations. Students would get the unique opportunity to experience the sports business from all aspects, and realize for themselves that they can make valuable contributions off the field and away from the spotlight.
It should be noted that there is interest from Buffalo Bills players in connecting with students, giving students another reason to participate in the program.
The companies’ expertise should be invaluable, as Ron Raccuia, president of ADPRO Sports, said in, “helping the coaches coach … teaching them how to be better coaches, better mentors, better leaders.” That is especially important in cases where coaches may have ended up on the field based on teacher seniority as opposed to any real experience in coaching, one of the troubling legacies addressed in last year’s teacher contract negotiations.
The district is already taking steps to improve its athletics program, from pursuing facilities grants to adding sports (lacrosse and crew) to bringing in more assistant coaches to smoothing transportation difficulties.
Pegula Sports and Entertainment, owned by Terry and Kim Pegula, and ADPRO Sports approached Buffalo Public Schools officials because they wanted to be part of positive change. Good for them.