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Ringgold's Pergola, Monessen's Salvino keep rolling along

| Saturday, March 15, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Jim Ference / the Valley Independent
Ringgold's Phil Pergola has coached 44 years and has an overall record of 584-489.
Jim Ference / The Valley Independent
Monessen basketball coach Joe Salvino has coached 30 seasons and has an overall record of 562-227 with the Greyhounds.

Their careers are certainly nothing like college legends, Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim, who have climbed over 900 career wins each at Duke and Syracuse.

However, the Mid-Mon Valley area's two basketball coaching icons, Monessen's Joe Salvino and Ringgold's Phil Pergola, wrapped up seasons that ended on different ends of the spectrum, one expected and the other not so much.

Pergola, the owner of the most wins of any coach in Mid-Mon Valley history, ended his 44th season and first on a second stint at Ringgold with a 5-16 record.

Salvino, the second all-time winningest coach in the Mid-Mon Valley, wrapped up his 30th season at Monessen with a 21-7 record that included a trip to the WPIAL Class A title game.

Pergola, said from the outset it was going to be a rebuilding process and it was, as the Rams struggled with an inexperienced squad.

However, Pergola's career, which includes stops at Mon Valley Catholic, Charleroi, Ringgold and California shows that he has a knack of building winning traditions where ever he goes.

His career record as a coach stands at 584-489, including 238-233 at Ringgold.

Salvino, whose all-time coaching record is 562-227 (71 percent winning percentage), said that his team far exceeded what he had expected going in.

Every year, the expectations at Monessen are to win a section title, go to the playoffs and compete for a WPIAL crown. His 2013-14 Greyhounds did all of that, and then some, despite not having a player taller than 6-2.

Neither coach is showing signs of slowing down and both are already looking ahead to the 2014-15 campaign.

The Rams return most of their key players next season, losing only Dayshore Majors from their key core of players.

Monessen loses four senior starters, including Clintell Gillaspie, who scored 892 points in two seasons, including 517 this season.

But the Greyhounds will be bolstered by young, budding stars Lavelle Rush, a sophomore, and freshmen Jaden Altomore and Justice Rice.

So far, Rush has scored 337 points in his career while Altomore (145) and Rice (136) are off to good starts.

BVA's big turnaround

Kyle DeGregorio's first year at Belle Vernon Area didn't result in a playoff berth. However, the Leps' first year coach had one of the biggest turnarounds for a team in the area.

BVA went 10-12 in DeGregorio's first season. When you consider the Leps went a combined 7-56 the previous three years, just finishing under .500 is a big accomplishment.

Add to that the fact that the Leps lose only two seniors – Jason Capco and Jake Sweitzer – and it is easy to see the future is bright.

Speaking of Capco, the 6-3 guard was the second leading scorer in Class AAA at 21.5 points per game.

He finished his career with over 900 points and DeGregorio said Capco is receiving interest from Division II and Division III schools.

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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