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High school notebook: WPIAL penalizes Vincentian football for recruiting violations

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 4:08 p.m.

Vincentian Academy football coach Tim Storino was banned from coaching for one year by the WPIAL for recruiting, and the private school's athletic program was admonished Wednesday for failing to follow transfer rules.

During a hearing Tuesday before the WPIAL's board of control, Storino was found to have visited with Catholic youth league coaches and athletes to tell them about Vincentian football, said WPIAL executive director Tim O'Malley.

But because Tuesday's hearing was about Vincentian Academy's athletic program as a whole and not solely about Storino, the WPIAL granted him another hearing to appeal the ban. That should occur in February.

“The WPIAL needs to hear a more complete report from Coach Storino,” Vincentian Academy president John Fedko said. “I think Coach Storino will present them with the information that they want to hear. I'm confident that will have a positive outcome.”

Fedko said there was a misunderstanding of Storino's actions.

“With a brand new football program, it's important that Catholic student-athletes in the area know we have a program,” Fedko said. “I think that's what the emphasis was. But really what Coach Storino was doing, if anything, was promoting an open house and coming to the school in general.”

This past season was the school's first with a football team, and it finished 1-8 in Class A under Storino, a first-year coach. Storino could not be reached for comment.

Vincentian Academy, which changed athletic directors before the school year, came under scrutiny because its athletic department failed to request eligibility waivers before the season for 10 athletes who participated in various fall sports.

As a result of Tuesday's hearing with Vincentian officials, O'Malley said the WPIAL ordered the school to forfeit in writing any contest in which a not-yet-eligible player participated. The board also censured the school's administration and put the athletic program on probation for two years.

Fedko said those oversight issues have been resolved.

“We had some paperwork problems,” he said, “and I think the WPIAL was happy with what we put in place. I think we've done all we can to correct any concerns.”

Imani hires coach

Imani Christian Academy hired Jason Bell to coach its football team, replacing Harvey Smith, who was not retained after one season. Bell coached at Schenley before the school closed after the 2010 season.

Smith officially back

The McKeesport school board officially hired George Smith, 63, to return as the Tigers football coach by an 8-0 vote Wednesday night.

At McKeesport, Smith won 197 games, two WPIAL championships and two state titles in 28 years before resigning in 2010. He replaces Jim Ward, who resigned after going 19-11 in three seasons.

“My biggest concern isn't wins and losses, it's getting the program going in the right direction,” Smith said.

Recruiting

Blackhawk sophomore guard Chassidy Omogrosso made a verbal commitment to play basketball at Pitt on Wednesday night.

”The coaching staff was the main reason,” she said. “They made me feel like I belong. It was a perfect fit academically and athletically.”

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