ShareThis Page

Leechburg hires Ceraso as girls basketball coach

| Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 11:42 p.m.

Just after he finished college, Joel Ceraso began his pursuit of a basketball coaching career. He helped at camps. He joined junior high coaching staffs, first at Highlands and later at Leechburg, where he moved up to junior varsity.

After the birth of his daughter, Taylor, in 2001, Ceraso, a 1984 Leechburg graduate, put his aspirations aside and focused on fatherhood.

Ceraso, 47, will soon add a new chapter to his career.

On Wednesday night, the Leechburg Area School District's board members approved him as the new girls varsity basketball coach.

“There was a time where I thought, ‘Man, this is what I want to do. I want to coach,' ” said Ceraso, who accumulated most of his experience as an assistant to Larry Ondako, Leechburg's former boys coach.

Ceraso, a first-time varsity coach and newcomer to girls basketball, succeeds Teresa Edinger, who coached two seasons. He inherits a program that was winless last season.

“I have tempered expectations,” Ceraso said. “I think if I can teach these girls first and foremost to be competitive and then get them to be interested enough to become skilled, we'll go from there.”

Slightly more than a decade ago, Ceraso aimed to follow Ondako as the man in charge of Leechburg's boys. That plan fizzled as Ondako showed no signs of slowing and Ceraso raised his daughter; he also has a son, Michael, who is 7.

When Leechburg's girls position opened earlier this spring, friends notified Ceraso.

“I wasn't really looking for a job, but since it was a Leechburg, I decided I'd try,” he said.

Leechburg interviewed five candidates, athletic director Mark Jones said. Three received second interviews.

“I wanted somebody doing the right things as far as building basic skills and getting them involved in the offseason,” Jones said. “With the state of the program, (Ceraso) stressed in his interview that basics would be the focus for the new few years.”

At Wednesday's meeting, school board members voted, 7-2, to hire Ceraso after they voted, 5-4, to decline Ernie Sipolino as the candidate.

Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.