Statistics and records are a large part of the game when it comes to sports.
In the game of baseball, they keep track of WHIP, ERA, IP, BA, BB and OBP to name a few. All of these numbers are to show how much talent a player or team has, but who keeps track of all of the year’s worth of numbers?
At the professional levels, these endless numbers are handled by a full time staff that submits all of the numbers to the league of which they are associated.
At the lower levels such as high school, those numbers are handled by a dedicated person or people.
Before the advent of technology like GameChanger, those stats were all written by hand.
With years and years worth of stats, it can become cumbersome to keep track of everything.
With staff turnover, human error and even records simply becoming just lost in the shuffle, maintaining records books can be a daunting task.
North Union athletic director Nick Hajjar came on to the scene more than six years ago and said he inherited piles of paperwork that needed to be sorted.
“When I took it over, there were electronic records, hard-copy records and manila folders with paperwork in them,” he said. “Trying to accumulate it all, updating it and keeping it updated was obviously a challenge.”
Hajjar has been attempting to take the endless amount of paperwork and convert it over to electronics.
New technology made it easier to accomplish the task.
“The world has kind of changed a bit even since I have been here,” said Hajjar, who is also NU’s head football coach. “Technology (is) advancing yearly and there are new apps coming out.
“The days of the pencil and paper scorebooks for baseball and softball have been replaced with different apps.”
However, with so much history and old files to catalog, the NU athletic director has come across holes in history.
One was the recent discovery of a co-head softball coach in the late Chuck McNamee.
The Lady Cats softball team has a history of success for the past 40 years.
McNamee was a big part of that success.
He came to help coach the Lady Cats in 1981 with long resume of softball experience as a fast-pitch pitcher.
McNamee played for the former Hunt Milling team in Richwood and made the rounds in an industrial league in Marion, according to McNamee’s son, Scott.
“Whirlpool made a special position for him during a time of layoffs at the company so he could pitch for the team during the summer,” the younger McNamee said. “Once the season was over, they laid him off.”
McNamee helped the Lady Cats until 1989 as an assistant coach and helped take the Lady Cats to a state runner-up finish in 1984.
He made his leap to co-head coach in 1994 when he and Nancy Rubeck both returned to coach the Lady Cats until 1999.
“As a farmer, Dad needed help running the administrative side of things, so he asked that Nancy come on to help co-coach with him,” his son said.
The two coaches helped lead the Lady Cats to another state appearance in 1998. When McNamee wasn’t helping as a coach for the Lady Cats, he was giving private pitching lessons to young pitchers in the community and other locations.
“He gave lessons whereever he was needed,” Scott said. “He went to Mount Vernon Nazarene University and Rio Grande (College) to help give lessons and never charged for them.”
McNamee just loved the game of softball and wanted to pass along his knowledge of the game, according to his son.
All of this information was lost in the shuffle of paperwork of records.
Hajjar said when he comes across holes in the school’s sports history, he turns to social media for help.
“As we go through all of this paperwork there are holes,” he said. “Within the times that I have been here I have used social media where I ask the public, ‘Hey trying to update a certain sport record. There is a gap in these years. Can anyone help me?’”
Even when the community comes forward to help, Hajjar tries to validate the information.
“What we have been able to do is try and take some of those records, those wins and losses, conference finishes and then try to match them with something that is known,” he said. “Like the yearbooks or looking through the microfiche and try to find confirmation.
“But over the course of years and years of numbers, there is human error.”
Hajjar and folks at NU are trying to correct ay errors in the record, while bringing the information from paper files to the 21st century.
“What we have done now to keep up and start moving it over electronically,” he said.
“We try and minimize (errors) the best we can by not putting the cart before the horse,” said Hajjar. “We do this by not saying this is what we were or not before we really know.”
North Union has been able to make one correction to the record books by adding McNamee’s name to a number of softball seasons.
District officials will continue the process of updating records as they move files from paper to electronic.
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