Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Varsity notebook

Talk about splash hires.

First, McGuffey High School made waves when it hired Ed Dalton as its athletic director and football coach. The hire put a possible end on lengthy headbutting between Dalton and the Trinity School Board.

It also landed the Highlanders an energetic, passionate football coach with previous experience as an athletic director.

The opportunity to move back into an administrative position was an attractive choice for Dalton, who served as Trinity's athletic director for a little more than a decade. That ended when the board moved Dalton back to the classroom.

Must say it was weird seeing Dalton's first tweets as McGuffey football coach, urging followers and McGuffey football players to go and "Like" the football team's new Facebook page. Associating Dalton with McGuffey will take time, but I'm sure the returning players are already excited.

Less than a week after Dalton landed at McGuffey, Waynesburg welcomed back Russ Moore.

The outgoing Moore galvanized a fan base at Waynesburg during the latter half of the 1990s. His stint culminated with the Raiders winning the 1999 WPIAL Class AA championship in convincing fashion, a 30-3 win over then arch rival Washington. It's the lone football title in Waynesburg history, though the Raiders did reach the championship game in 1958, 1959 and 2000.

Moore resigned following the 1999 season in hopes his resignation letter would instead get the school to upgrade stadium facilities. It's a decision Moore regrets.

Now, after a two-year head coaching tenure at Ringgold, where Moore teaches, and several assistant coaching stops, he's head back to the place he calls home.

* Dalton and Moore are replacing fine head coaches, and two well-respected guys with the reputation of getting the most of their talent.

Derek Bochna didn't always win at McGuffey but the soon-to-be WPIAL Hall of Famer didn't always have a lot to work with there. When Bochna had good running backs, the Highlanders were a good team.

Joe Kuhns spent three years at Waynesburg after a successful tenure at California. The Raiders progressed under the direction of Kuhns and flirted with the postseason in 2011.

* Each coach faces a difficult task.

 McGuffey is dropping to Class AA and will compete in the Century Conference following a winless season. The Highlanders first two games are at South Fayette and home against Seton-La Salle - each quarterbacked by a Brumbaugh brother (Brett at South Fayette, Luke at Seton-La Salle).

Waynesburg losses its top rusher and a strong offensive line. The Raiders must also deal with increasing interest.

* For all the attention given to the incident during the boys basketball game between Woodland Hills and Peters Township, it's surprising and a bit alarming that one subject never came up in conversation.

What if Shakim Alonzo's punch to the ear of Peters Township's Gabe Pritz had connected with Pritz's temple instead of his ear? Or what if the unsuspecting Pritz had suddenly turned as Alonzo connected and the punch shattered an eye socket?

When I asked Peters Township coach Gary Goga that question last Thursday, he said I was the first person not affiliated with his team to ask that. Amazing.
* I say let Alonzo keep his scholarship to the University of Cincinnati football team. In reading extensively on this story, the punch appears to be an isolated incident. While it should be considered a criminal act, Division I recruits have faced more serious charges and played college football.

* Here's a name to keep in mind as Trinity searches for a football coach - Todd Young.

Young has spent the past 12 years at Washington & Jefferson College, and is the Presidents offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.

* Here's a few names that pop into mind when thinking about the Observer-Reporter All-District boys basketball first team: Zach Challingsworth (South Fayette), Jaisen Irwin (Monessen),Christian Koroly (Trinity), Earl Pinkney (Monessen), Gabe Pritz (Peters Township), Gannon Walls-Mitchell (Bentworth),  Josh Wise (Washington) and Joe Yamber (Avella).

On the girls side, possibilities are Beka Bellhy (Fort Cherry), Jessica Dorazio (Bentworth), Erika Ford (South Fayette), Carolena Gasbarro (Fort Cherry), Morgan Kurtz (Trinity), Jessie Merckle (Fort Cherry), Mariah Ward (Monessen) and Sammie Weiss (McGuffey).


Anonymous said...

Ask Russ Moore about how he left the CM football players in the middle of the season. He left high school kids in the middle of the season?? Hoe could anyone hire this guy as an assistant let alone a head coach. What happens when his team is struggling next year? Does he leave them too? I lost a lot of respect for him last year and I dont even have a kid in the program.

mike_kovak said...

I did. He did not want to speak about it on the record.

Lou said...

Russ is going to find out Waynesburg is a lot like Ringgold was when he was there.

Anonymous said...

Trinity would hit a home run with the hiring of Todd Young. Motivating and energetic guy who has years of winning experience under his belt.

Anonymous said...

They would hit a home run with the hiring of Todd Young. Motivating and energetic coach with a wealth of knowledge and winning experience on his resume.

Anonymous said...

The hiring of Todd Young would be a home run for Trinity. Motivating and energetic coach with a wealth of knowledge and winning experience under his belt.

Anonymous said...

What about the two men mentioned in this article as options for Trinity? Joe Kuhns or Derek Bochna?

Denny said...

Why on earth would a guy leave a fulltime college coaching job for a $7500 high school coaching position?

Anonymous said...

problem with the blog. You cannot read comments it kicks into leave your comments

Denny said...

Interesting question about Kuhn and Bochna. I wonder if either are interested? All I know is nobody heard about California football before Kuhn was there and he almost went to the play-offs with Waynesburg in an impossible conference with NO talent after inheriting a program that was in the gutter. Bochna did the same at McGuffey with his good defenses. Both of these guys get the most out of the the ingredients they are given, it is too bad the people of McGuffey and Waynesburg didn't understand that.

mike_kovak said...

I got the impression Kuhns wanted to take a break from coaching.

Bochna could end up on the staff at Waynesburg U. Wash High staff also a possibility.

Anonymous said...

I had two boys play under Bochna. I don't see what everyone else sees, I guess. Yes, my boys went to the playoffs under Bochna, but it wasn't because of Bochna's coaching...it was because of the TALENT he had those years. Bochna's goal my son's senior year was to have a home playoff game. Not to win....not make states....just to have a home playoff game. Well he accomplished that goal....and that was it. As a coach, you have to shoot for the stars, especially in a year when you have talented players. Our team beat GCC that year....who went on to be the state champs (if I am not mistaken). Bochna had talent....he just blew it with his coaching.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 3:20

I'd like to know what you're qualifications are to judge a coach. Derek Bochna is a very good high school coach. He won when he had talent and he prepared his teams to the best of his and their ability when he didn't have talent. Places like McGuffey, Avella, West Green, and all other Greene County schools will always struggle because of the make up of their school districts.
The best thing that could've happend to Bochna was McGuffey opening his job. Now he can use his abilities to help other programs.

LouTube said...

Goals are set for focus. Those goals must be attainable. State championship for McGuffey? C'mon man!