TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Former Elderton, Ford City coach Callipare to lead girls program at Apollo-Ridge

TribLIVE Sports Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Top high school sports

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 9:21 p.m.
 

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 wwest@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Basketball

  1. New Deer Lakes boys basketball coach Parham is eager to get going
  2. Springdale hires veteran assistant for girls basketball post
  3. Penn Hills graduate looks forward to playing basketball at Cheyney