Ringgold turns to Nick Milchovich

| Friday, March 28, 2014, 12:26 a.m.

Nick Milchovich is thankful for many reasons to be the new head football coach at Ringgold.

And one of those reasons is that he won't be trying to rebuild a struggling program.

Milchovich, a Charleroi native and a Venetia resident, was named the new football coach at Ringgold Thursday during a special meeting of the Ringgold School Board.

Milchovich, a teacher at Peters Township, was given a three-year contract.

Ringgold will be the fourth coaching stop for Milchovich.

He coached at California in 2000, taking the Trojans to the WPIAL playoffs. Next he went to Charleroi (2003-06) and was named Black Hills Conference Coach of the Year in 2006.

He was at Peters Township from 2007-10 and took the Indians to their first-ever Class AAAA playoff berth.

“Ringgold has a lot of talent and Matt (Humbert) certainly did a good job coaching there,” Milchovich said. “When I got the Charleroi and Peters Township jobs, it was tough. There was a lot of work to do and I feel proud that I left those programs better off than when I got there.

“It's nice not to have to go in with a rebuilding mode.”

Milchovich is excited to take over the reins of a program that he feels he has a lot of ties to.

“I live in Venetia, and Ringgold is only 12 minutes away,” he said. “I go to church in Donora. I have a lot of connections, but what it really comes down to is that I am just excited to coach football again.”

Milchovich said after his post was opened at Peters Township after the 2010 season, he was both humbled and hurt.

“I never had that happen to me before,” he said. “But, shortly after that, I found out I was going to have a son, so maybe it was a blessing. The last three, four years I stayed home doing the main coaching job of looking after my children. But now I felt ready to get back into it and this is just an ideal situation for me.”

Ringgold Athletic Director Ron McMichael said Milchovich and the other job finalists, Jim Ward and Donnie Militzer, each had final interviews with the school board Wednesday and Milchovich was a standout.

“He is not only a good coach, but a high character guy,” McMichael said. “I think he impressed everybody with how he handled himself, his ideals.

“I know that everybody I talked to about him couldn't say enough good things about Nick. I think he will do very well here and Ringgold will be happy to have him.”

Milchovich was humbled when told how highly he was thought of.

“Fifty years from now, nobody will know my record,” he said. “But they will remember the kind of person I was.”

Milchovich was asked the first thing Ram football fans will notice about his team when it takes the field on Friday nights.

“Our team will play hard,” he said. “Every team I ever coached played the game the same way. Our opponents always knew they were in a battle. The next day, they needed ice. We will be a tough team. I know that.”

Milchovich also understands he is taking over a team that has been a regular participant in the WPIAL playoffs the last few years.

“I know that expectations are high and it is important that we work to meet or exceed those expectations,” he said. “We don't want to upset the apple cart. We're going to work very hard to improve on the good job that Matt did here.”

Milchovich said he has a good portion of his staff on board, including his offensive coordinator from his days at Peters Township, T.J. Plack.

“He was with me at Peters and also was a head coach at South Fayette before that,” Milchovich said.

He will also bring three assistants with strong local ties: former Charleroi head football coach Luke Mollis, former Belle Vernon Area assistant Dan LaCarte and former California head coach Brady Barbero.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or joliver@tribweb.com.

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