Tony Osburn has been to the annual football clinic at the Turning Stone Resort but this was the first year he went as the head football coach at Albion.
Retired coach Dick Diminuco spent last weekend introducing his 33-year-old successor to many of his colleagues at the state level. Following the road trip, Osburn said replacing last year's winningest active coach in Western New York seems more real.
"When I'm with him and our staff down in the field house, it doesn't seem like that big a deal. It was something I was anticipating," said Osburn. "When we're in [Turning Stone] he starts introducing me as the next head coach at Albion -- it's like a who's-who of high school football coaches in New York State. Every once in a while it hits my gut. You can't replace a guy like him."
Diminuco stepped down as football coach at the end of the 2008 season, and he will be retiring as athletic director in June, ending a 26-year tenure.
Osburn takes over a program he is quite familiar with both as a player and as a coach.
He was quarterback of the Purple Eagles in 1991 and 1992. He continued his career at Cortland before graduating in 1997. After a few years in Houston, he moved back to Albion in 2003 to accept a job as a social studies teacher and junior varsity assistant football coach.
"He's a good, young man," said Diminuco. "He's the next guy in line. It wasn't a big secret to anyone. I knew he was ready. He's a football guy who has a passion."
Osburn understands the demands on today's football coaches. He spent a year working with Diminuco to complete an internship toward his master's degree.
"I spent lot of time with him. We really got to sit down and go over the details," said Osburn. "I spent as much time with him as I did with my wife and kids. Coaching is a lot more than calling plays on Friday night."
Randy Knaak, a physical education teacher and coach of swimming and softball, has been appointed the next athletic director.
His swimming teams have won the Niagara-Orleans League title in 17 of the last 23 years. Like Osburn, Knaak is a former Albion football player, having served as a lineman in 1981.
State honors for WNY
Four coaches and three players from Western New York were recognized over the weekend by the New York State High School Football Coaches Association. Voted Players of the Year in their respective classes were senior Jeff Tundo (Orchard Park), junior Jasen Carlson (Southwestern) and senior Jake Larson (Maple Grove).
Carlson became the first lineman in any class to ever win Player of the Year.
Coach of the Year honors went to the four WNY coaches who won state titles: Gene Tundo (Orchard Park), John Faller (Sweet Home), Jay Sirianni (Southwestern) and Curt Fisher (Maple Grove).