Former Elderton, Ford City coach Callipare to lead girls program at Apollo-Ridge
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Elderton High School's closure in 2012 brought an end to one part of Jim Callipare's coaching career.
Apollo-Ridge presented the opportunity for another chapter.
The Apollo-Ridge School District's board approved Callipare as its girls basketball coach at a meeting May 20. Callipare succeeds Desiree Syster, who went 24-41 in three seasons as coach. He adds Apollo-Ridge to a resume that included Ford City's boys team, which he coached for nine seasons, and Elderton's girls team, which he led for two.
“Jim was high on the list as soon as we got his application,” athletic director Ray Bartha said. “We were looking for someone with experience, someone who had coached for many years, and Jim fit the bill. He's basically a basketball junkie, and that's what I was looking for.”
This past season, he coached Ford City's seventh grade girls team, which went 17-1.
“I think once you get that taste of head coaching experience and get the chance to run an entire program, it's hard to let it go,” said Callipare, 44, a health and physical education teacher at Ford City High School.
Though his life lacked a varsity coach's responsibilities this past winter, Callipare remained intensely connected with basketball in the Alle-Kiski and Armstrong area.
“I probably watched more basketball than I had in my entire life because I could go to any game I wanted to,” Callipare said.
Callipare went 27-18 in his two seasons as Elderton's coach. He believes success is just as attainable at Apollo-Ridge, and he plans to follow a similar strategic philosophy: Slow down teams defensively and operate efficiently in half-court offensive sets.
He likely knows no Section 1-AA opponent better than Ford City. And he knows no Ford City player better than his daughter, Ashton, who is finishing her sophomore year this spring. Callipare has another daughter, Jaylen, who is finishing fifth grade and also plays basketball.
“It'll be interesting,” Callipare said of coaching against his daughters. “I guess it's fair to say they had mixed emotions (about him being hired). They knew I wanted to coach again, that I wanted to be a head coach, and that there were no opportunities at Ford City.”
Bartha, who coached Apollo-Ridge for 34 seasons, trusted his new hire thought long and hard about coaching against kin before he applied.
“He showed a lot of excitement and a lot of enthusiasm at the interview,” Bartha said. “He's a class person, and we're excited to have him.”
At the May 20 school board meeting, Apollo-Ridge also approved Linda Guercio as the new girls varsity volleyball coach.
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.
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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.