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College notebook: Makara steps down at PSNK

| Sunday, July 6, 2014, 8:41 p.m.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Burrell graduate and former state champion wrestler Joe Makara (left) was named wrestling coach at Penn State New Kensington by athletic director Dave Murray (back) on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Class A pitcher Anthony Malky of Riverview delivers to the plate during the WBCA A-AA all-star game Sunday, June 9, 2013, at Burkett Field in Robinson.

Joe Makara isn't giving up on Penn State New Kensington. He's leaving the school's wrestling program because he isn't giving up on his younger brother, either.

Makara resigned as wrestling coach at PSNK after just one season, but the former Burrell mat star is stepping down to help take care of Chuck Makara, who was severely injured in a head-on vehicle accident in May.

Chuck, 23, suffered broken bones in his feet and a collapsed trachea when the vehicle he was driving collided with another along Melwood Road in Allegheny Township.

“We weren't sure if he was going to make it,” said Joe, who took over a program that was dormant for more than three decades before it returned in 2010. “We think Chuck is going to come and stay with us (at the Makara family home). Every day is a step forward for him. But he needs our help.”

Chuck has a 6-month-old daughter as well. He is at a special care facility in Murrysville.

Joe is a full-time sales manager for Fuhrer Wholesale. After a long day of work, he spends time with his brother. Wrestling practices and matches won't get a viable time slot.

“I couldn't give the job the time commitment it needs,” Joe said. “I can't coach anywhere right now. We're all just pulling together as a family.

“I will still talk to kids about coming (to PSNK). Maybe I will get some time to go up there and help. I just can't be the head coach and give them 75 percent.”

The wrestling team had just three wrestlers on its roster last season but all three reached the NCWA Championships in Dallas.

Freshman 285-pounder Dean Lusk became PSNK's first All-American wrestler with a fifth-place finish, and freshman Phil Marra (Burrell) finished ninth at 149 pounds.

New start for Malky

Anthony Malky is known for making contorted facial expressions when he pitches. Think a kid tasting a lemon for the first time; or someone smelling fresh skunk spray. It's kind of like that.

The next time he pitches, he will be a new face on the roster.

Malky, the 2013 Valley News Dispatch Baseball Player of the Year out of Riverview, has transferred from Akron to Wooster.

A coaching change that Malky believed altered the blueprint for his future prompted the hard-throwing right-hander to transfer about 35 miles south to another Ohio school.

It's far from a lateral move, but Malky believes it could be more beneficial in a number of ways.

Akron is a Division I program, while Wooster, which initially recruited Malky, is Division III.

He will be a redshirt freshman in baseball and a sophomore in the classroom at Wooster.

“I decided right after Christmas break that is was clear to me I wasn't going to be getting a chunk of innings,” said Malky, who redshirted last season. “I went back and looked at all the schools that recruited me (in the beginning).”

Malky bristled at the thought of revamping his game to fit the system, which is what, Malky said, new pitching coach Kyle Smith had planned for him.

Former Zips pitching coach Matt Ford, who recruited Malky and was set to work with him, resigned to take a position elsewhere.

“I didn't gel with the system,” Malky said. “They wanted to make mechanical changes. I felt like I was going backwards.”

Although short-lived, Malky's stint at the Division I level left him with a slightly soured perception.

“Division I is a lot like a minor league system,” he said. “You're only as good as the last pitch you threw or your last at-bat. As soon as you start to struggle, you're shoved to the side.”

NCAA rules state players that transfer from one Division I school to another must sit out a year. Malky wasn't having that because he'd virtually have two inactive years in a row.

“That was out the window,” he said.

IUP, Walsh (Ohio) and Mercyhurst joined Wooster on Malky's short list of Division II and III teams that were aware of his talents.

Burrell grad cards Hall spot

Longtime Lower Burrell amateur golf standout John Jones will be inducted into the Allegheny College Sports Hall of Fame in October. A 1979 Allegheny graduate out of Burrell, Jones was a four-time All-Presidents' Athletic Conference selection and two-time conference MVP. He also was an All-American and helped the Gators to four straight PAC titles.

He finished in the top four of the PAC individual finals three times.

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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