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Howland drops girls coaches Diehl, Daniluk

John Diehl is going to turn 65 years old during the 2020-21 basketball season. But he won’t celebrate that birthday on the sidelines this year at Howland High School as his contract was not renewed and he was informed he would not be back.

Diehl, 64, was told there was “philosophical differences on how I develop mental toughness in my players.”

His record in 26 seasons at Howland is 407-198 with four district titles. In 35 years as a basketball coach he is 514-289. His Tigers were 12-12 last season, but Howland won at least 17 games each of the previous six seasons.

“The people that understand sports, there is such a fine line winning a district final and a regional game,” Diehl said. “There’s such a fine line. The teams that usually win are the ones that have mental toughness.

“I’ve learned over the years you can coach mental toughness in kids that don’t have it when you get them. Some kids get it, like kids come with speed. You can coach mental toughness, not being scared of the situation.”

Howland athletic director Andrea Ferenac said, in a statement, “On behalf of the Howland Local School District, we thank coach John Diehl for his service as our girls basketball coach. Although disheartening the narrative being shared, the district will continue to focus on moving forward and with our priority on kids.

“All supplemental contracts were non-renewed at our May BOE (Board of Education) meeting, as they are done each year,” she said via text message.

Diehl isn’t the only Howland girls coach not returning for the 2020-21 school year. Girls soccer coach Dan Daniluk said he was told he will not return.

He coached with Howland boys coach Brian Stiles for three years, but only coached the girls side for the past two seasons.

“I was told we want this to run like the boys side, we want to change the culture,” Daniluk, 48, said. “We want it to be a better program. We need clear direction. They want change. Of course with change, people get upset. It wasn’t if you knew somebody you got preferential treatment and stuff.

“I just played the best players to win and there were people that were upset about that.”

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