Bentworth again turns to Skiles to head football program

| Saturday, March 15, 2014, 3:48 p.m.

For the third time in 33 years, Bentworth School Board has hired alumnus Ron Skiles as its head varsity football coach.

The 70-year-old Skiles' first head coaching stint with the Bearcats was from 1981-88. He compiled a 53-26 record in those eight seasons. The 1984 Bearcats won 10 games and won the Tri-County South Conference.

Skiles was a standout quarterback and running back, who graduated from Bentworth in 1962. He was also an assistant coach from 1973-76 under Don Donardo.

Skiles' second round as the Bearcats head coach began in 2004; in four years, he won 13 games and led the team's last playoff appearance in 2005. Bentworth defeated Mapletown, 35-34, in the first round of the WPIAL Class A playoffs that year before losing to eventual runner-up Duquesne. The playoffs were Bentworth's last post-season appearance.

Along with coaching football, Skiles enjoyed a successful golf career. He was a top amateur before spending time on the PGA and Champions tours. His best finish was an 11th-place effort at a seniors' tournament in Chicago in 1999.

Skiles replaces Bob Niziol, who coached Bentworth each of the past two seasons before stepping down to help take care of his family's newborn.

Skiles has also served as an assistant coach at Charleroi for two seasons (1998-99) and at Belle Vernon for three (2007-10). Bentworth was 1-8 overall in 2013.

Sweitzer headed to Georgetown

Jake Sweitzer, a 6-foot-4-inch, 230-pound tight end from Belle Vernon Area High School, will continue his academic and football careers this year at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Sweitzer earned all-conference honors last season after he was the Leopards' second-leading receiver.

A run-blocking specialist, Sweitzer caught 18 passes for 243 yards last season and scored three touchdowns. He averaged 13.5 yards per carry in 2013 and helped the Leopards compile a 4-4 mark in the Big 9 Conference before losing to eventual WPIAL Class AAA finalist Central Valley in the first round of the District 7 playoffs.

Sweitzer joins a Georgetown team that is coming off a 2-9 overall record in 2013 with a 1-5 mark in the Patriot League.

Georgetown's football program is now under the Rob Sgarlata, who was named the Hoyas' 31st head coach on Feb. 18.

Rebellion tabs Bertagnolli

Rick Bertagnolli will serve as head coach of the Pennsylvania Rebellion, a first-year team in the National Pro Fastpitch League. NPF is an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball.

The Rebellion will begin playing in June at Consol Energy Park in North Strabane Township, Washington County. The field also is home to the Washington Wild Things of the Frontier Baseball League.

He is also the head softball coach at California University of Pennsylvania and begins his 21st season with the Vulcans this spring. He has a 705-227 (.756) cumulative record at Cal U. Bertagnolli's career collegiate coaching record is 929-271.

“Being the first head coach of the women's pro league here is a great honor and very exciting,” said Bertagnolli, who guided Cal U to consecutive NCAA Division II national titles in 1997 and 1998, along with 18 NCAA post-season appearances.

Last fall, Bertagnolli was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

“I'm thrilled with the opportunity to coach the sport at its highest level in Western Pennsylvania — the place I've been proud to call home for the last 20 years,” he added.

Pennsylvania Rebellion will open its inaugural season on May 30-31 with a pair of games against the defending league champion USSSA Pride in Salisbury, Md.

The home opening games will be two 7:05 p.m. games June 5-6 against the USSSA Pride, headquartered in Osceola, Fla.. The four-team league includes the Akron (Ohio) Racers and Chicago Bandits.

Bruce Wald is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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