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Gateway grad Rovesti happy to be back with alma mater

Michael Love | The Times Express
Randy Rovesti began his duties as Gateway’s second interim athletic director last week. The Gateway grad also recently retired as Norwin’s athletic director after a ten-year run in that position.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

When Harry Orbin, Gateway's first interim athletic director, completed his duties earlier this month after a four-month stay since the resignation of Terry Smith, a familiar face in area athletics moved in.

Randy Rovesti, who just completed a decade-long stint of service as Norwin's athletic director, takes over in an interim capacity at Gateway.

As a 1970 Gateway graduate, Rovesti, who announced his retirement from Norwin this spring, said he knows what the Gateway athletic tradition is all about.

“I am proud to be a Gator, and I am extremely happy to be here,” Rovesti said.

“I know it's only on an interim basis, but I am excited and looking forward to everything.”

Orbin had to stop working because his state retirement package limits the number of hours he can work, Gateway spokeswoman Cara Zanella said last week.

Rovesti said there are no restrictions to the amount of time he can work.

“I am happy to help out as needed for as long as they need me,” Rovesti said.

“There has been no guarantees to me on one month, two months, and so on. All I can say is I will try to be the best athletic director I can be for Gateway.”

School board president Steve O'Donnell said school officials plan to maintain the interim title for at least another year before deciding on how to proceed longterm.

“You look at the history of the athletic directors at Gateway — Henry Furrie, Larry Hanley, Larry Phillips, Paul Holzshu and Terry Smith — it's a who's who of strong athletic administrators,” Rovesti said.

“To be able to sit in their seats, it's a real honor for me.”

Rovesti's retirement from Norwin takes effect on June 27.

He said he will split time between Gateway and Norwin until then and will help Norwin with the transition to a yet-to-be-hired replacement.

Rovesti said there is a lot of work to be done this summer.

“The fall season is always the toughest to get prepared for,” he said.

“But it's one day at a time. I have a great athletic secretary in Joann (Lesnansky). We're going to get through things one day at a time. Eventually, I will get caught up on how Gateway does things. Each place is different, but I've met a lot of great people already, and I am very impressed with the students. There are a lot of great athletes, but it seems like they are even better kids,” Rovesti said.

Rovesti lettered in football, wrestling and baseball at Gateway, and he was a starting offensive guard and linebacker on the Gators' first WPIAL championship football team in 1969.

He was voted to the All-West Penn Conference team and was voted the Dapper Dan High School Athlete of the Year in 1970.

Rovesti wrestled at heavyweight, and compiled a 14-2-1 record as a senior. One of his two losses that season came to the eventual state champion in overtime.

He captained the baseball team and was a starting infielder for three years.

Rovesti was offered a baseball scholarship, but he accepted a football scholarship to play for Lou Holtz at the College of William & Mary.

He earned several all-conference honors and was a preseason All-American in 1973.

Rovesti began his coaching career in 1974, and he served as a football assistant at Plum from 1978 to 1983. The 1983 Plum team won the Quad-A football championship with a 10-6 victory over New Castle.

Rovesti served as the head football coach at Norwin from 1984 to 1993, and he was voted the Quad-A East Conference Football Coach of the Year in 1987 and 1993.

Rovesti was considered a candidate for the Gateway football job, which also was left vacant with Smith's resignation. That job went to Donnie Militzer, a former high school and area college assistant.

“From what I've heard from the kids, everything is going well so far,” Rovesti said. “Donnie has a nice resume for a younger guy. I got my first and only (high school football) head coaching job when I was 32. I think he's prepared and should do well.”

Rovesti knows that there has been a lot of athletic success at Gateway.

“I want to help give everyone the opportunity to continue to be successful,” he said.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at

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