High school notebook: Schools move to fill basketball coaching vacancies
With seven local basketball coaching vacancies, athletic directors and school boards are busy with the hiring process.
There are boys coaching openings at Kiski Area and Burrell, while girls' coaches are needed at Apollo-Ridge, Leechburg, St. Joseph, Springdale and Valley.
Kiski Area is ahead of the pace. It is scheduled to name a coach Monday. There are eight candidates.
Burrell will complete interviews at the end of the month and hire at the May board meeting. More than a dozen have applied.
Leechburg has conducted five first-round interviews and has submitted three names for follow-up interviews. A coach could be hired as early as April 17.
Apollo-Ridge is advertising its position in-house and has received several calls about the opening.
Interviews will start the first week of May.
St. Joseph and Springdale also plan to hire in May. Springdale has not started interviews yet.
Burrell also could hire a wrestling coach next month.
Freeport three-sport standout Brendan Lynch will continue his football career at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Lynch, who also plays basketball and runs track, was recruited to play defensive back.
He was a first-team all-Allegheny Conference pick at quarterback and defensive back.
Lynch was the area's top rushing quarterback last season, running for 1,186 yards and 13 touchdowns.
In basketball, Lynch averaged 18.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists for the Yellowjackets.
Case Western competes in the Division III University Athletic Conference. Lynch said he also considered Allegheny, Wooster, Washington & Jefferson, Bucknell, Johns Hopkins, Rochester, Trinity and Mercyhurst.
Aulicino to Allegheny
Freeport girls basketball standout Jessica Aulicino has committed to Allegheny College.
The 6-foot senior forward averaged 14 points and nine rebounds this season for Freeport, which moved up to Class AAA.
Aulicino will play for Allegheny coach Kate Costanzo, a Kittanning graduate.
Aulicino also considered Westminster, Washington & Jefferson and Saint Vincent.
No hard feelings
Chuck Wagner's surprise announcement that he wants to come of retirement and coach at Riverview surely caught local football fans off-guard, but it likely also made them wonder why he'd want to go to Springdale's rival.
Wagner, 78, began as an assistant at Oakmont — now Riverview — in 1958 and later became head coach. He coached Springdale from 1993-2012 before retiring in November.
Wagner led the Dynamos to an Alle-Kiski record 10 straight WPIAL playoff appearances, a streak that has continued since he left.
But he said he did not consider asking to return to Springdale, for fear he might be a distraction among his replacement, Dave Leasure, and his staff.
Tough start, strong finish
Freeport senior softball pitcher Alyssa Meta had a rough first inning Tuesday against Deer lakes but stayed in the nine-inning game and nearly earned the win.
Meta somehow snagged a line drive hit back to the mound, then was hit by a pitch on her non-throwing elbow — all before some fans settled into their seats.
“I don't even know how I caught that ball, but I did,” Meta said.
Meta finished with eight strikeouts against the defending WPIAL champions in a 5-4 loss.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at email@example.com.