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High school notebook: Ward resigns as McKeesport football coach

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Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, 11:12 a.m.

Jim Ward resigned Thursday as McKeesport football coach, citing “personal reasons.”

McKeesport was 19-11 in Ward's three seasons, including a 15-5 record in conference play. The Tigers won the Quad South title in 2010, when they went 8-2 overall, 6-0 in conference play and Ward was named Quad South coach of the year. The Tigers were 6-4 in 2011 and 5-5 this past season, when they finished third in the Quad East. McKeesport lost in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs all three years.

Ward succeeded George Smith, who won 197 games and two WPIAL and PIAA Class AAAA championships in 28 seasons. McKeesport has the second-lowest enrollment of WPIAL Quad-A schools, with 515 boys in grades 9-11, according to the PIAA.

“I just felt this was the right time, early enough for McKeesport to seek a quality candidate,” Ward said. “It's a great group of kids coming back. Eighteen starters are returning. We played a lot of young kids this past season. They should be ready for great success, and I wish them all well.”

Arizona drops Woodson

Gateway quarterback Thomas Woodson, who committed to Arizona in June, has reopened his recruitment after his scholarship offer was pulled.

“The worst part about it: Not one of the coaches called me. They had a compliance officer call to let me know,” Gateway coach Terry Smith said. “You always hear about this kid de-committing and switching schools, but you don't hear about what these colleges do to a kid. It's ruined his recruitment. We had these schools come in and wouldn't let them meet with him. We're scrambling.”

Akron offered a scholarship Thursday to Woodson, a 6-foot-2, 225-pounder who completed 118 of 204 passes for 2,395 yards and 23 touchdowns this season. Woodson, a three-year starter, was shot in the leg during a trip to North Carolina in 2011.

“Thomas is a resilient kid,” Smith said. “He's been through worse. I told him, ‘This isn't as bad as it seems. You're going to land somewhere. You just have to be patient.' We've got to wait for the trickle-down, especially with all of these coaching changes. You never know.”

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at

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