SHAMOKIN — Henry Hynoski already has a Super Bowl ring and several state high school championship rings.
One of his next objectives may prove more elusive — bringing the Coal Bucket to Shamokin Area High School, from where it’s been gone since Hynoski himself was six years old.
Hynoski, the former Southern Columbia, University of Pittsburgh and New York Giants star who is Shamokin Area’s next head football coach and dean of students, told members of the Shamokin Rotary Club — and some guests from Mount Carmel Rotary, too — that he plans to bring the bucket back to Shamokin from Mount Carmel.
“It’s going to happen,” he said. He was a little non-committal about when, but he also said point blank in response to a question that his goal for every game this season is to win.
“If you don’t think you can win every time you play, what’s the point?” Hynoski said. “Our goal is to win every game.”
By definition, that would include the Mount Carmel game, and although the Indians are coming off a second straight 1-9 season, it’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. The Indians did, after all, have a lead on the Red Tornadoes last season before losing, 43-37. But when you haven’t beaten an opponent in 22 years, there simply is no such thing as getting close.
Hynoski, who recently wrapped up his student teaching semester at Shamokin and will officially become dean of students on July 1, said turning the Indians’ sagging program around isn’t about X’s and O’s, but about getting the players to believe in themselves and work as a single unit.
“The mindset and the mentality are the big things,” he said. “It starts with the little things, like showing up on time, keeping your locker clean, things like that.”
He said he’s spent much of his early days at the school doing just that, cleaning the locker room at the football field, and making sure the equipment cage is in order.
“Kids need to see their leaders doing what they (kids) are expected to do,” Hynoski said. “They thrive on that.”
One of the Rotarians noted that Hynoski and 22 of his players recently showed up for a community cleanup on Earth Day, and that Hynoski donned work gloves, got down and got dirty with the players and other workers.
“My first objective was to get the weight room going,” Hynoski said. “My dad (Henry Sr.) and my weight coach, Tony Scicchitano, started with three kids, then four, then five, then all of a sudden it was 10. Now we have about 30 kids coming in three times a week and there’s an excitement and energy around the room.”
To illustrate the work the players have put in, Hynoski noted that Shamokin’s powerlifting team recently placed third in a statewide competition.
Hynoski said he’s been pleasantly surprised with the discipline and attitude of the typical Shamokin student.
“I haven’t had one problem with one kid in that school so far,” he said. “The school has a reputation that’s not deserved. Shamokin kids are like kids at any other school.”
Asked about the school’s 20-percent sports participation rate among students, Hynoski said he not only wants to improve that, but wants all the students to get more active in afterschool activities.
“I want all the kids to get passionate about something,” he said. “Whether it’s sports, or plays, or music, do something. Don’t just go home and play video games. Ride a bike, get outside, whatever.”
He noted that while he wants to instill discipline in his players and other students, he wants them to know he’s there for them, too.
“I’m a players’ coach,” he said. “I’ll expect discipline but I want to be someone the kids can relate to, too.”
Hynoski said he is also ready to work with Rotary and other community groups, both as a coach and dean of students, to get students involved with their programs.