York County may not rank with New York for producing sports stories of national interest.

But in the just completed year of 2012, our little neck of the woods produced at least two gentlemen who made headlines all across this great country.

And both of those men graduated from York High.

Their names are very familiar to area sports fans -- Chris Doleman and Bruce Arians.

Doleman: Doleman learned last February that he finally earned a much-deserved berth in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. He was inducted in August.

The 15-year NFL defensive end had come agonizingly close to earning the honor several times before, only to barely miss the cut.

Bruce Arians stepped in as the Colts interim head coach and guided the team to a 9-3 record. He’s the teams offensive coordinator.
Bruce Arians stepped in as the Colts interim head coach and guided the team to a 9-3 record. He's the teams offensive coordinator. (File photo)

Doleman piled up 1501/2 sacks and eight Pro Bowl berths during his standout career, but somehow had been previously overlooked in the Hall of Fame voting -- most likely because he played in smaller media markets (Minnesota, Atlanta and San Francisco), competed during an era of great defensive ends (Reggie White, Bruce Smith, Richard Dent, Charles Haley) and never played in a Super Bowl.

That glaring snub was finally -- and justifiably -- corrected in 2012.

Arians: Arians, meanwhile, started 2012 by getting fired and ended the year as an NFL Coach of the Year candidate.

Who would have thought that?

Arians unexpectedly got the boot in Pittsburgh shortly after the Steelers lost a first-round playoff game to Denver. It didn't take him long to find a new job, however, landing a gig as the offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts under Chuck Pagano.

When Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia just three games into the 2012 NFL season, Arians was thrust into the job as the Colts' interim head coach. He took over a team that was 1-2 at the time and coming off a 2-14 season in 2011. All he did was guide the Colts to a 9-3 record over the next dozen games.

Chris Doleman earned a much-deserved spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Chris Doleman earned a much-deserved spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (File photo)

Pagano returned to the sideline in the season finale and Arians resumed his former role as offensive coordinator. Together they will lead Indianapolis into the playoffs.

Oh, by the way, the Steelers, without Arians, didn't even make the playoffs this season.

Many pundits (including this one) believe Arians deserves Coach of the Year consideration. His name is also being mentioned prominently as a candidate for several NFL head-coaching jobs.

York County also produced a number of other sports stories worth mentioning in any year-in-review column. They may not have made national headlines, but they sure did get a lot of ink around here. Below are some of the most prominent. High school stories are not included in this list. Our veteran high school reporter, Dick VanOlinda, ably handled the year's top prep stories in his column.

Etch retires: Andy Etchebarren, the most successful manager in York Revolution history, announced his retirement.

"Etch" led the Revs to their first-ever Atlantic League titles in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, the Revs again made the playoffs, but lost to arch-rival Lancaster, denying Etch a third-straight championship.

Still, the former Baltimore Orioles catcher became something of a folk hero during his brief stay in York, based largely on his no-nonsense demeanor and his often-cantankerous relationship with the umpires

Revs' pitching coach Mark Mason will replace Etch. But the baseball lifer will be sorely missed.

Baseball controversy: The York County Baseball Championship Series between Susquehanna League champion Conrads and Central League champion Stoverstown ended in controversy when the best-of-3 series was hit by rain.

Conrads won the opener and led the second game 6-5 after 41/2 innings when heavy rains hit. Since the home team was trailing, the second game needed to go five full innings to be considered official. The rain prevented that, and the two teams couldn't agree on a possible makeup.

The Susquehanna League president, B.J. Chambers, believed that Conrads should be declared the champion, since it won the first game and was just three outs from winning the second game. Not surprisingly, the Central League folks felt differently.

The final verdict likely depended on which league you root for.

York College: The school on Country Club Road produced a number of notable stories this year, most significantly the retirement of Jeff Gamber, the longtime men's basketball head coach.

Gamber led the Spartans to the CAC title in his final memorable season and he won the CAC Coach of the Year Award, which is now named after him. He leaves York with a 493-425 career record. He was replaced by Matt Hunter.

York also won CAC team titles in women's basketball, men's soccer and men's cross country. The women's basketball and men's soccer teams both advanced to the NCAA Division III Sweet 16 before bowing out.

New teams: It was announced this year that York is expected to add two new minor-league franchises in 2013.

The York Capitals will play in American Indoor Football league and their home facility will be the York City Ice Arena. Their opener is March 29 at the Roc City Thunder. The home opener is set for April 6, also against the Thunder.

The York City Hornets are also hoping to compete in the American Basketball Association next year. More details on the Hornets are expected at a later date.

Age no barrier: Craig Diehl picked up his 11th York City-County Men's Singles Tennis championship at the age of 51.

It was his first title since 2002. Along the way, he beat men who were more than 30 years younger than him.

Ostrom excels: T.J. Ostrom excelled on the golf course this season, winning the premier event on the local circuit -- the York County Amateur. It was his fifth Amateur crown.

Ostrom also won the York County Amateur Golf Association Match Play Championship. In addition, he tied for fourth at the York Open and tied for ninth at the Champion of Champions.

Beeper loses: Well-known York County boxer Carney "Beeper" Bowman dropped his first decision as a pro.

He fell to 16-1 after losing a split decision to Ramesis Gil at the Valencia Ballroom in August, leaving his boxing future very much in doubt.

Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.