Former BVA coach Dongilli, Elizabeth Forward grad Etzel receive more honors
Former Belle Vernon Area High School football coach Gary Dongilli was one of nine individuals inducted into the Tri-County Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
The rest of the 2013 class included: the late Bill Ellis of Finleyville, past coordinator, game director and announcer for the Tri-County Football Classic; former Uniontown head coach John Fortugna; former Jefferson-Morgan head coach and Ringgold assistant Jan Haiden; longtime Mapletown head coach George Messich; former Waynesburg and Bethel Park coach Jeff Metheny; the late Al Romasco of Monessen, star of the 1937 Big Six Conference title team; former Peters Township head coach and longtime Charleroi assistant coach Mike Scrip; and the late J. Gawen Stoker, a former coach and associate executive director of the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association.
Dongilli served as the head coach of Belle Vernon Area from 1994-2000 after previously leading Yough's football program to a 35-33-2 cumulative record. The Cougars won two conference titles and made three WPIAL playoff appearances under Dongilli.
At Belle Vernon, he compiled a program-best 71-11 cumulative record that was highlighted by the 1995 team winning the WPIAL Class AAA championship. The 1996 and 1999 teams also reached the title game while the 1994 and 2000 teams made semifinal showings. His teams won seven consecutive Keystone or Keystone-Big Nine Conference titles. He received conference Coach of the Year honors nine times.
The 1995 team compiled a 12-2 final overall record and defeated Franklin Regional, 22-6, in the WPIAL Class AAA championship game at Three Rivers Stadium. The Leopards' conference record during Dongilli's seven years was a remarkable 47-1.
Dongilli then coached two seasons at Hempfield.
“With Coach Dongilli, Belle Vernon fans came to expect the unexpected,” said Stephen V. Russell, who wrote “History of Belle Vernon Area High School Football (1965-2011).” “Opposing coaches and teams had difficulty preparing for the Dongilli magic. He rolled the dice and had the kind of players to execute with a seasoned group of assistant coaches. “
Dongilli is one of the three alumni to serve as Belle Vernon's head football coach, along with Lou Rood (2006-08 And current head coach Aaron Krepps, who took over in 2009. Krepps was an All-State receiver and kick returner on Dongilli's final Leopard team in 2000 before going on to be an All-American at Washington & Jefferson College.
The new class was inducted and recognized at halftime of the 17th annual Bee Graphix Football Classic, which was played last month at Southmoreland High School.
Etzel feted again
Earlier this month Washington & Jefferson College standout wrestler Josh Etzel was named to the 2013 Capital One Academic All-America Division III At-Large First Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
An Elizabeth Forward High School graduate, he becomes the 30th student-athlete in school history to earn a national Academic All-America award.
The Capital One Academic All-America At-Large Team is the toughest to earn a spot on as it features all NCAA Division III student-athletes in the following sports: women's bowling, women's crew, men's and women's fencing, women's field hockey, men's and women's golf, men's and women's gymnastics, men's and women's ice hockey, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's rifle, men's and women's skiing, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's tennis, men's volleyball, men's and women's water polo and men's wrestling.
Etzel owns a 3.81 grade-point average and majors in biochemistry (pre-health minor). He was one of two wrestlers selected to the first team, joining Adam Sheley of Wisconsin-Lacrosse.
He set a school record for single-season victories with a 37-7 overall record at 165 pounds in 2012-2013.
The president of Phi Kappa Psi, he placed sixth at the NCAA Division III Nationals at 165 pounds. A two-time national qualifier and 2012 NCAA III Midwest Regional champion he became the Presidents' first NCAA wrestling All-American in 11 years. Etzel owns a 68-13 career record heading into his final collegiate season.
Bruce Wald is a contributing writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mon Valley warrant sweep yields 10 arrests
- Monongahela airman’s death commemorated
- Paglia: Two Brooklyn Dodgers received rousing reception in visit to 1956 NAACP fete
- Monessen mayor: Bickering out, blight fight in
- Cal U offers only undergrad degree in gerontology in Pa. system
- Mon Valley Salvation Army marks 100 years
- Belle Vernon man facing child sex assault charges
- Mon Valley Financial Seminar Series continues
- Monongahela church closing appealed
- Ringgold senior Umbel introduced to politics as Senate page
- Monessen mayor eyes city hall return