Clairton's Geletko finally lands his dream job
Matt Geletko isn't about to lie — he was extremely disappointed when he was passed over for the Serra Catholic boys basketball job two years ago when legendary coach Bob Rozanski retired after 32 years and more than 500 victories.
“I played there, my brother played there, I went to school there, and I was affiliated with that place for more than half of my life,” Geletko said. “Yes, it was disappointing, but I guess all things happen for a reason.”
Even though he wore the maroon and gold of Serra for years, Geletko always bled the black and orange of Clairton, and after 12 years as an assistant coach at Serra, Geletko is heading back home.
Geletko, a 1992 Serra graduate but a lifelong Clairton resident, was hired as the Bears' boys basketball coach last week.
“I think I have been ready for a while,” Geletko said. “I couldn't have said that a couple years back. The last three or four years I felt that I was ready to take over a program.”
Geletko was part of a Serra program that won six straight section titles, two WPIAL titles and a state championship.
The 38-year-old takes over for Von Pitts, who led the Bears to a 61-42 record and back-to-back Section 4-A titles in his five seasons. Pitts, the 2010-11 Daily News Boys Basketball Coach of the Year, was not retained after the school board decided to open the job in March.
Geletko, who was an assistant with the Clairton girls team last year, feels he has an advantage of not going into the job blind.
“It is not a situation where I am walking into and I don't know anybody,” said Geletko, who will have last year's girls coach, Remondo Williams, as his top assistant. “I was an assistant coach for a lot of years and paid my dues. I am nervous but more excited than anything else.”
Geletko promises to return the Bears to the old days of controlled chaos for 32 minutes.
“I remember back during my playing days, the minute you stepped off the bus, they were going to press you the entire game,” Geletko said. “With the kids that we have, that is my plan. Knowing what we have coming back, I feel like I can play 10 guys and pressure teams from start to finish.”
Clairton went 13-7 last year, including a second straight Section 4-A championship. Clairton went 12-12 the year before but advanced to the WPIAL semifinals and the state quarterfinals.
Rookie coach or not, Geletko knows that he is expected to win right away, mostly because of the talent the Bears return.
The Bears return their entire starting lineup from last year, led by point guard Bryon Clifford and a pair of Division I football players in Tyler Boyd and Titus Howard. Terrish Webb, Amani Ford, Vinny Moody and Robert Boatwright all were significant contributors last year.
“Expecting to win comes with the territory,” Geletko said. “When you are a head coach anywhere, you are expected to do well. Here, you are just expected to do well right away.”
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org