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Hixenbaugh returns to BVA baseball

| Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Erica Hilliard, staff photographer
Daryl Hixenbaugh, shown in this 2011 photo as baseball coach at Kiski Area, is returning to guide Belle Vernon Area's team.

Belle Vernon Area has a new baseball coach and he is a familiar name - to some of the fathers of the current Lep players.

Daryl Hixenbaugh was hired by the Belle Vernon Area School Board Monday night by a 7-0 vote with two directorsd absent. He was given a one-year contract with a salary of $3,842.

Hixenbaugh replaced Dan Palm, whose job was opened after the past season, which was his seventh as head coach.

This will be Hixenbaugh's second stint as BVA. He guided the Leps for eight seasons from 1987-94. In that time, his teams won two section titles.

“I'm really excited to come back to Belle Vernon Area where I had some really good times,” said Hixenbaugh. “BVA kids are winners and they want to win. I was talking to somebody the other day and I was told that a lot of the kids on the team now are sons of the kids I coached the first time. That should make it interesting.”

Hixenbaugh is no stranger to the game of baseball, having put in over 25 years as a major league scout working for the Pirates (1985-88), St. Louis (1989-2006) and the New York Yankees (2006-10).

Some of those years were spent as a full-time scout.

After leaving BVA, he coached two years at Baldwin and later returned to coaching at Kiski, where he coached from 2007 until the 2013 season.

All in all, during his high school coaching career, Hixenbaugh's teams won six section titles.

“I still coach the same as I always have,” he said. “I'm intense. My kids will work hard. They will just go to it. That's the only way I know.”

Hixenbaugh said he really didn't want to leave BVA the first time, but said he resigned when a school administrator ordered him to break one of his own rules and he would not.

“If it wasn't for a parent and me being ordered to do do something I knew wasn't right, I would not have left the first time,” he said. “It's good to be back.”

BVA Athletic Director said Hixenbaugh was picked out of a group of five finalists that were interviewed. Crame said the district received 11 applicants for the position.

Citing Hixenbaugh's first stint with the district, BVA athletic committee member Joe Gratta said, “It's time to let this experienced, well-connected ‘old skipper' finish the job he started and performed with honor at BVA.”

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or joliver@tribweb.com.

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