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Faust returns to coach Washington High hoops

| Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 9:18 a.m.

Ron Faust has some shopping to do.

Faust, who won a pair of PIAA titles and presided over a WPIAL-record 52-game win streak at Washington, will be recommended to replace Mark Gaither as head coach of the Prexies boys basketball team at next Monday's school board meeting, athletic director Joe Nicolella confirmed Tuesday morning.

After stepping down in 2009, Faust was replaced by Gaither, who resigned last Monday to spend more time with his family.

“Over the last five years I've pretty much given (his old Prexies gear) away,” said Faust, 62. “My wife told me at breakfast (Tuesday) morning that we have to do some shopping because my entire wardrobe is sweatpants and tennis shoes. I don't do the dress shoe thing anymore or the dress clothes.”

Faust does do the dress thing again — or at least he will when he meets with the team next Wednesday, assuming everything goes OK at Monday's board meeting.

And the hire seemed to have started with Nicolella, Faust's longtime assistant.

“After (Gaither resigned) Joe Nicolella gave me a call,” Faust said. “As the days went on and Joe kept talking to me, I kept running out of excuses why I couldn't come back. My wife finally looked at me and said, ‘Why don't you tell the man that you'll try it?' ”

Nicolella knew of no one better than Faust, an icon in the Washington community, to lead the program into the future.

“Simply put, I just felt the ideal person to replace Mark was the person Mark replaced,” Nicolella said. “I called Ron, we talked about it, and he said yes. It was pretty simple how it went down. It was just over a matter of a few days.”

Faust was Wash High's coach from 1981-2009 and has a career record of 518-192. Along with the two PIAA titles, Faust has won four WPIAL crowns, including three straight from 1984-86.

He inherits a pretty decent program, too, as the Prexies reached the playoffs four times in five years under Gaither.

“A lot of the parents either played for Ron or had kids Ron had coached prior to his retirement,” said Nicolella, who was a longtime assistant coach for Faust. “It's not like he's coming in to an unfamiliar group of kids. He won't know these kids directly, but he will know of them through their parents or through their brothers he had coached.”

Faust said he will encourage his players to take up football, baseball or track during the offseason and will make his rounds getting to know each one.

“We'll see what happens when we get started, but it's a new phase,” Faust said. “We'll try to help out.”

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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