HS football position by position breakdown: Scouting the coaches
The WPIAL saw another coaching legend leave the sidelines when Woodland Hills' George Novak retired.
His career record reached 306-139-3, making him one of only three WPIAL coaches to hit the 300-win mark. Blackhawk's Joe Hamilton retired after 2014 with 342 victories, leaving Upper St. Clair's Jim Render (390 wins) now as the only active member.
His retirement was among more than two dozen coaching changes since last season.
Elsewhere, Beaver Falls won its first state title and then saw coach Ryan Matsook resign. In the City League, former Pitt star Rod Rutherford returns to coach his alma mater, Perry.
WPIAL teams with new coaches include Baldwin (Loren Cooley), Beaver Falls (Nick Nardone), Brownsville (Bill Maczko), Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic (Patrick O'Shea), Chartiers Valley (Dan Knause), Connellsville (Marko Thomas), Ellwood City (Nick Hand), Greensburg Central Catholic (Aaron Smetanka), Highlands (Dom Girardi), Kiski Area (Sam Albert), Knoch (Frank Whalen), Monessen (Mikey Blainefield), Moon (Ryan Linn), Mt. Pleasant (Jason Fazekas), Penn Hills (Jon LeDonne), Quaker Valley (Jerry Veshio), Seneca Valley (Ron Butschle), Serra Catholic (Jose Regus), Shady Side Academy (Chuck DiNardo), Shaler (Jim Ryan), South Allegheny (Mike Crown), Springdale (Seth Napierkowski), Uniontown (Cedric Lloyd) and Woodland Hills (Tim Bostard).1. Tim Bostard
Bostard is the Wolvernines' second coach since George Novak retired earlier this year. The school board's first choice, Kevin Murray, resigned amidst controversy this month without coaching a game. Bostard, the assistant athletic director at Woodland Hills, is an alum who coached the offensive line under Novak.
2. Nick Nardone
Ryan Matsook led Beaver Falls to WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A titles a year ago and then resigned as coach. His teams went 101-26 in 11 seasons and reached the WPIAL final three times. He's replaced by Nardone, who was Beaver Falls' defensive coordinator. Nardone is an Ellwood City graduate who played football at Lafayette.
3. Jon LeDonne
The Aliquippa native was picked to replace John Peterman, who went 27-32 with four playoff berths in six seasons before becoming athletic director at Kiski Area. LeDonne already is familiar with the brutal Class 6A conference after three years as Shaler's coach. His teams went 2-27 in the Northern Seven.
4. Ron Butschle
Butschle enters his second stint as Seneca Valley's coach. His teams went 15-33 in his first from 2004-08. He was offensive coordinator last year under Dave Vestal, who resigned after two seasons. The Raiders went 13-9 under Vestal and were WPIAL Class 6A runners-up a year ago. Butschle also coached 16 years at Sto-Rox.
5. Sam Albert
Albert went 75-57 with eight playoff appearances in 13 seasons at Highlands, where he has the most coaching wins in school history. Kiski hired him in March to replace Dave Heavner, who wasn't retained after going 18-31 in five seasons. Albert's career record is 133-100-1 with stints at Valley, Butler and Freeport.
One to watch: Rod Rutherford
The former Pitt star was a standout quarterback and defensive back for Perry Traditional Academy in the 1990s. He led the Commodores to the state Class 3A final in 1997. The Perry program once was a powerhouse in the Pittsburgh City League, but the team went 12-24 in the past four seasons. That includes a 4-7 record last season under coach Craig Aguglia. Rutherford coached five seasons as an assistant at IUP through 2015.