Guido: Leechburg trio ascend coaching ranks
Three coaches who are graduates of Leechburg High School are on the move.
Robb Smith, Tim Dubovi and Mark Adams have been appointed to new coaching assignments.
Smith, defensive coordinator at Rutgers last season, is the new linebackers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Dubovi is the new head coach at Freedom High School, and Adams has taken over at Southmoreland.
Smith, a 1993 Leechburg graduate, has spent the last 14 seasons in the college ranks. The former head coach at Rutgers, Greg Schiano, is set to begin his second season at Tampa Bay.
“I'm excited. I really appreciate this chance,” Smith said. “I couldn't pass it up when Coach Schiano approached me and I got a chance to compete at the highest level of coaching.”
Smith, a fullback/linebacker who was part of Leechburg's most recent winning football season in 1991, was hired by the Bucs in mid-February.
“A lot of it has been getting up to speed on how we do things defensively and evaluating players,” Smith said.
Smith was exposed to football and coaching at a young age.
“I was five or six years old and I started going to Blue Devils games on a Friday night,” Smith said. “The head coach at the time, Don Olshansky, lived across the street from me and so did Bill Carroll, who was Leechburg principal at the time and a coach before that.”
There is a distinct Western Pennsylvania flavor on the Tampa Bay coaching staff.
Former Pitt coach and Baldwin High School standout Dave Wannstedt is special teams coordinator and East Allegheny graduate Bob Fraser, who coached at Allegheny College when Smith played there, is also a Bucs staffer. Former Pitt assistants Brian Angelichio and Jeff Hafley are assistants at Tampa Bay, having followed Schiano from Rutgers.
• Dubovi was appointed at Freedom after last year's coach, Frank Hernandez, took over as the school's assistant principal. There were 34 applicants for the Freedom job. A 1987 Leechburg graduate, Dubovi teaches in the Seneca Valley School District. Dubovi played at Lock Haven University and began his coaching career there. Freedom (4-6) made the WPIAL playoffs last season but hasn't had a winning season since 2004.
• Adams, a 1983 Leechburg graduate, was named at Southmoreland to take over for Dominic Pecora, who left for East Allegheny. Adams was the Leechburg head coach from 2007-10. The Scotties haven't made the WPIAL playoffs since 1979, the second-longest WPIAL drought next to Avella's (1976). Adams will have a rude introduction into Class AA Interstate Conference football. His first game is against Jeannette, the WPIAL's second-winningest high school, and the second game is against Washington, with the WPIAL's top running back, Shai McKenzie.
Foxes mourn former 3-sport star Kriston
Rich Kriston, one of Fox Chapel's top all-around athletes, died last week of Huntington's disease, a genetic disorder that also claimed the life of his father and older brother, Louis.
Kriston was 58.
In football, Kriston scored 45 career touchdowns — 15 each in his three starting seasons.
The 1972 Fox Chapel graduate was also a standout third baseman and a three-time heavyweight champ in wrestling.
Though just 5-foot-9 and 215 pounds, Kriston was recruited by Joe Paterno to play linebacker.
He started for three seasons for the Nittany Lions and remained a loyal Penn State alumnus.
His last public appearance is thought to be last month's screening of the Paterno tribute movie, “The Joe I Know,” at Oakmont's Oaks Theatre.
George Guido is a Valley News Dispatch scholastic sports correspondent. His column appears Wednesdays.