From the sports editor: Ginsburg was part of special era at Dover

There’s a certain irony that the last time Jim Oxford saw Larry Ginsburg, it was at Bob Andrus’ funeral.

The three of them are all former Dover High football head coaches.

It was also as assistant coaches under Andrus in the late 1960s that the two men first got to know each other.

“We were all students of Bob Andrus, in terms of coaching,” said Oxford. “We learned from what I consider to be a really, really good coach in Bob Andrus. We took what Bob taught us and developed it in our own way.”

All three men ended up having their own share of success at Dover.

Andrus coached the Senators to an undefeated season in 1962 as part of a 29-game unbeaten streak, Ginsburg’s teams went 73-25-1 with a pair of perfect seasons while Oxford led Dover to the Division I state title in 1988.

So when Ginsburg passed away earlier this month at the age of 84, it closed another chapter in Dover sports history. Andrus, who went on to coach at Wesley College, died in 2015.

The 77-year-old Oxford considered Ginsburg a good friend back when they were coaching together. Ginsburg, who took over as head coach in ‘67, was already on staff when Oxford was hired in 1965.

“I was sorry to see him pass,” said Oxford.

Oxford said one of the things that made Andrus and then Ginsburg so successful was that they were constantly drilling the fundamentals in their players.

“You’ve got to repeat, repeat, repeat — so you’re almost doing it in your sleep,” said Oxford. “That way you could react and respond at the particular moment that you were presented with it.”

All three men also found success in other sports. Andrus led the Senators to an unbeaten baseball season in ‘62, Ginsburg coached Dover to its only baseball state crown in ‘72 and Oxford was the head coach of the Senators’ 1969 boys’ track & field state championship squad.

“He was kind of a baseball guy,” Oxford said about Ginsburg. “Dover’s had some good coaches, I really believe that. We had really good athletes. … The coaches put out some pretty good products as far as athletes were concerned back then.

“Larry was a big part. He was a good coach. I enjoyed working with him.”

Ginsburg’s 10-year tenure as the Senators’ football head coach ended rather abruptly in ‘76 — the season before Dover won its first Division I state title. He then became something of a coaching legend in South Jersey as a success at both Woodbury and Eastern.

His combined football record at the three schools was 212-101-8.

Oxford said he and Ginsburg would reminisce about their Dover days once in a while.

“There’s no doubt about it, they were fond memories,” said Oxford. “But at the same time, he said, ‘It was time that I had to move on.’ He said, ‘I don’t regret having moved up to Jersey and afforded myself the opportunity at the two high schools I coached at.’”

Doctor on call

Dr. Bradley Bley is just one member of the board of directors of the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association.

But as the only medical doctor on the board, the 41-year-old holds a key position as the DIAA tries to make decisions during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Having Dr. Bley on the board is a tremendous asset,” said Kevin Fitzgerald, the Caesar Rodney superintendent and a DIAA board member.
“He does bring a perspective that none of us have. He can tell us what the guidance is, what the latest medical opinions are that help form our decisions.

“From my perspective, I’ve got to listen to Dr. Bley,” said Fitzgerald. “What do our doctors say about what’s safe and what’s not safe?”

According to his online bio, Bley is board certified in internal medicine, pediatrics, and primary care sports medicine, and a certified strength and conditioning specialist.

Not surprisingly, Bley made several comments during the DIAA board meeting on Thursday. Much of the discussion was about when it will be safe to resume high school competition.

Bley voiced some reservations about playing three straight condensed seasons starting in late December.

“Coronavirus is not going away,” Bley said during the virtual meeting. “And so we are still going to be dealing with the same issues in December, January, February, March as we’re dealing with now.

“Dealing with a condensed schedule, you’re going to have an athlete still potentially playing in competitions for one sport and practice has already started for another. So you have kids jumping teams, and potentially increasing the risk of spread — not to mention the injuries of no rest breaks (between seasons), stuff like that.”

Odds & ends

• Under the latest state pandemic guidelines, indoor basketball and soccer events can be held once their plans have been approved by the Division of Public Health. Competitions in football, wrestling, rugby and ice/roller hockey are still not permitted.

• Former Delaware and Middletown High standout Chad Kuhl is back on the Pirates’ roster after missing all last season following Tommy John surgery.

• The NCAA has announced that it will wait until August to decide whether it will have national playoffs in fall sports this year.

• Former Dover High football standout Rusty McKinney is beginning his second season with the Arizona Cardinals as a defensive assistant coach. This will be his seventh year in the NFL after also working with the Browns and Dolphins.