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Southmoreland seeks football coach

| Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Football has long been a sport where having the same head coach in place for years was a key factor in whether or not that particular program was successful year in and year out.

Men like Paul “Bear “ Bryant and Joe Paterno were the staples that gave identity to the Alabama and Penn State football programs. They were sideline fixtures that drew as much attention as the game itself.

Now, the trend for young coaches is to jump into a program and build a quick reputation for themselves, then bolt for a bigger and better deal as soon as another wolf comes sniffing at the door.

Things in the high school ranks are no different.

New year, new coach, new hope.

The Southmoreland football program recently became the latest victim in the high school coaches' carousel when Dominic Pecora announced his resignation as the head coach of the Scotties' football team after a two-year stint to take over as the lead guy at East Allegheny.

Pecora, who was 7-12 during his two seasons at Southmoreland, becomes the third head coach in three seasons at East Allegheny following the resignations of Jason Ruscitto and Dennis Edwards.

Pecora had been an assistant coach at Yough, Baldwin and Norwin before taking over the Southmoreland program in 2011.

After leading the Scotties to a 4-6 record in 2011, Pecora was rewarded with a three-year contract extension that would have solidified the Scotties' football program until 2014.

Now the Southmoreland administration and Athletic Director Charlie Swink are forced to scramble to find a replacement in the middle of offseason workouts.

“This sets us back a little bit, but we will be fine,” said Swink. “It came as a bit of a surprise to us, but we understand that there are personal and travel issues that made it difficult for Dominic to stay here. We wish him well in the future, and we move on from here.”

Part of moving on involves the interviewing and hiring process, which may take some time to complete.

“We have had several people contact us expressing an interest in becoming the head coach of our football program, but we will look inside our own unit first in order to fill the position, but we are prepared to look elsewhere should the need arise,” said Swink.

When asked if there had been a drop in attendance in offseason workouts and conditioning following the resignation of Pecora, Swink pointed out that through the volunteer efforts of current assistant coaches, the kids are still hitting the weight room hard and they are dedicated to continue to making themselves better.

Swink pointed out that assistant coaches Kurt Beistel and Mark Adams have been instrumental in keeping the kids on point when it comes to conditioning, and that their continued efforts are greatly appreciated.

“We have had a nice turnout at the workouts and the kids are pushing themselves hard,” said Beistel. “I have told the kids that no matter who the coach is, that come August, there will be football to be played and that they need to prepare themselves to play football and to let the coaching stuff take care of itself.”

As for filling the head coaching position, Swink hopes to have a new coach in place in the next couple of weeks.

“We will take some time and look at where we are before we announce a replacement,” said Swink. “We want to be comfortable with our decision and to put someone in place that we feel gives us the best chance to be competitive.”

Mark King is a freelance writer.