Alle-Kiski notebook: Highlands coach Zendarski stepping down
TribLIVE Sports Videos
After 18 years, Mike Zendarski is stepping down as Highlands' softball coach.
“It's time,” Zendarski said. “I have a 5-year-old daughter and an 18-month-old son. It's time for me to spend more time with them.
“It's just so tough coaching nowadays; you have to put in so much time.”
With teaching and softball, Zendarski said there are days when he puts in 12-plus hours and doesn't see his family until late in the evening.
Zendarski, 45, is the third-longest tenured softball coach in the A-K Valley behind Leechburg's Jim Oberdorf and Kiski Area's Dianne Haney.
Highlands won three section titles (2002, '03 and '05) under Zendarski. The Golden Rams made the playoffs the past three seasons.
“It's crossed my mind the last four or five years (to resign),” Zendarski said. “I've had coaches around the area and in the section call me Brett Favre because I keep coming back.”
Zendarski's last game will go in the books as a loss, but it almost became the program's biggest win. The No. 16 seed, Highlands (8-7) nearly downed No. 1 Greensburg Salem (18-2) in the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals Thursday, falling 6-5.
Highlands took a 3-2 lead into the seventh but surrendered three singles and a grand slam to fall behind, 6-3. The Golden Rams scored two more in the bottom of the seventh.
“That was a great team we almost beat,” Zendarski said. “That's the No. 1 team in the WPIAL. We haven't faced a pitcher like (Jayne Oberdorf) since (Valley's) Caitlin Nealer, and we did pretty well against her.”
Zendarski recalled another 16-vs.-1 situation in which Highlands pulled a stunner. In 2001, the Highlands football team toppled top-seeded Uniontown, 30-20, in a first-round playoff game. Zendarski was the offensive coordinator. He stopped coaching football in 2007.
Zendarski is a health and physical education teacher at Highlands Middle School. He also caddies at Oakmont Country Club.
“It's hard to walk away,” Zendarski said. “I put my heart and soul into it. I was fortunate to have so many good girls to coach. And my wife as been so supportive.”
Greensburg Salem's softball team has several connections to the A-K Valley. Standout pitcher Jayne Oberdorf and shortstop Clair Oberdorf are the nieces of long-time Leechburg softball coach Jim Oberdorf.
Freshman outfielder Maggie Kallock, who hit the grand slam against Highlands, is the daughter of former Kiski Area girls basketball coach Chris Kallock.
Deer Lakes senior baseball player Ryan Perroz doesn't have to look far for advice on what it takes to win championships.
His aunt is Valley softball coach Carol Perroz, who has won two WPIAL titles and a PIAA championship in her nine seasons. She was inducted into the A-K Valley Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Ryan Perroz is the designated hitter for Deer Lakes (17-3), which is in the WPIAL Class AA semifinals.
“It's always fun talking to her,” he said. “She has been to big games and knows what it takes to get there. She gives me advance on hitting, too.”
Highlands has opened its girls varsity basketball coaching position. The board has not begun the interview process to replace Ron Lang, who coached the team for two seasons.
Girls coaching openings remain at Apollo-Ridge, Springdale and Valley. Springdale has its finalists picked and is scheduled to hire a coach Monday night.
The Burrell boys basketball job also has not been filled, but that could happen Tuesday night along with the school naming a new wrestling coach.
Fox Chapel senior placekicker Ben Mroz will continue his football career at Case Western. He'll join another local player, Freeport's Brendan Lynch, who was recruited there as a defensive back.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers defensive end Tuitt shifts into high gear
- Rossi: Pirates foolish to bet on Burnett return
- Steelers notebook: No decision on surgery for rookie CB Golson
- Steelers’ Mitchell taking cautious approach about dealing with injuries
- PennEnvironment threatens to sue steel giant under Clean Air Act
- Perfect storm rains heroin, pain pills onto Mon Valley
- Rain postpones Pirates-Cubs game
- Operating loss mounts at Highmark’s core hospital system
- Inside the Steelers: Wide array of receiving options shine
- Westmoreland girl tells trooper a stranger fondled her in Herminie alley
- Armstrong County D.A.’s office to head jail escape probe