Kiski Area hires new girls basketball coach
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Nick Ionadi set a goal for the Kiski Area girls basketball program: build a stronger foundation for a varsity team that qualified for the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs in each of the past four seasons.
Kiski Area School Board hired Ionadi, 30, of Hempfield Township, as coach of the Cavaliers by an 8-0 vote Monday night.
He received a one-year contract for $7,169.
The district lacks organized basketball for girls below seventh grade, he said, and the first-time head coach looks forward to the challenge of improving playing opportunities for younger girls in the district.
“If you look at Quad-A schools, most programs already have something in place,” Ionadi said. “This is a chance to build something, and it's a Quad-A job. It's not often they pop open, especially for your first job.”
Ionadi served as a volunteer assistant at Kiski Area last year.
“I liked his vision for the youth program at the elementary level, his ideas and how he planned on installing them,” Kiski Area athletic director Ryan Berberich said.
Ionadi applied for the job after Aaron Epps resigned after one season and was named coach of the Hempfield girls — Kiski Area's Section 1-AAAA rival — in late June. Ionadi will get a chance to coach against Epps at least twice this winter.
“We've talked about it,” Ionadi said. “He kind of got me started coaching girls. It will be fun matching up. We're friends, and we're competitive. I think we're both looking forward to it.”
Ionadi was a starting guard at Penn Hills and helped the Indians capture a WPIAL Class AAAA title in 2000. He hoped to play at Division II Slippery Rock, but a broken ankle ended his career.
He volunteered as an assistant for the Penn Hills boys and Woodland Hills boys for three years apiece. Last year, he joined Epps at Kiski Area as a volunteer.
In addition to coaching, Ionadi teaches science in Penn Hills School District.
Ionadi was hired relatively late during the offseason. But he believes he built a good rapport with Kiski Area's players last year and won't have to worry about a major transition.
“We lost practically the whole summer with everything going on with the coach search,” Ionadi said. “It will be nice to go in and get started. There's usually that awkward period when the players have to get used to a new coach. The girls don't have to worry about that.”
Last season, Kiski Area finished 8-4 in section and 16-7 overall. Returning players include senior 5-foot-11 forward Maddie Antone, who averaged 16.7 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and 1.6 blocks. However, there isn't much varsity experience beyond her.
“We'll be solid with the presence of Maddie,” Ionadi said. “We'll be a defense-first group and emphasize rebounding.”
Paul Kogut is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-224-2696.
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.