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High school notebook: Steele back as Steel Valley football coach

| Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, 9:54 p.m.

After resigning as Steel Valley's football coach following the season, Rod Steele has rescinded his letter of resignation and returned to coaching the Ironmen.

Steel Valley is 17-13 overall (15-9 in Century Conference) and has qualified for the WPIAL Class AA playoffs in all three of Steele's seasons as coach.

“It was kind of a depressing year, not just in football,” said Steele, whose father died unexpectedly and also lost his grandfather and an uncle in a seven-month span. “With the holidays coming up, I wanted to be there for my mother. I needed to take some time off, more so than resign. It wasn't a clear-headed decision. I should have taken a leave of absence. Once the kids reached out to me, that's why I came back.”

Steel Valley school board member Mike Terrick, who is vice chairman of the school district's three-person athletic operations committee, confirmed that the board hadn't met since Steele resigned and therefore hadn't voted to accept his resignation.

“He had some reconsideration and had a lot of parents who pleaded with him and asked him to stay and help the team out. He's done a lot for our team,” Terrick said. “He's had some things going on personally, and I'm sure that had an impact. We hadn't had a school board meeting yet. Since it had never been accepted, there was no opening.

“Technically, he withdrew his resignation and he's still the coach.”

Terrick said Steel Valley had “prematurely posted the position” as open to applicants, “but that's all for naught at this point. Anyone who was interested in this position, we appreciate their interest but that's no longer open.”

East Allegheny opening

Monday night, the East Allegheny school board accepted the resignation of football coach Jason Ruscitto, who is leaving for personal reasons according to athletic director Tim Cortazzo. Ruscitto was 1-8 in one season.

Other teams without a football coach include Bishop Canevin, Canon-McMillan, Chartiers Valley, Deer Lakes, Imani Christian, McKeesport, Pine-Richland and Plum.

Sticking with hoops

Montour senior Devin Wilson has decided to play basketball in college, rather than continue his football career. The standout point guard who is averaging 17 points for the Spartans, had 65 catches for nearly 1,500 yards and 19 TDs.

“It took me awhile to figure it out,” Wilson said. “When I actually did, it was kind of a good feeling but also kind of bad because I knew I had to let one go.”

Wilson received a basketball scholarship offer Monday from Western Michigan, joining a list that already included Robert Morris, Akron, Hofstra, Rider and St. Bonaventure, he said. He'll visit George Mason this weekend.

Basketball milestones

Saturday was a special night for Greensburg Salem senior Jayne Oberdorf. The 5-foot-4 guard who averages almost 19 points per game hit five 3-pointers and scored 27 points to lead her team to a win over Jeannette at the Coaches vs. Cancer Backyard Brawlz at Seton Hill University. The season-high scoring effort also put her over 1,000 career points.

“She missed 15 games her sophomore year with a broken wrist, so it's quite an accomplishment,” coach Janine Vertacnik said of the Marist softball recruit.

Oberdorf has hit 47 shots from behind the arc and is shooting nearly 50 percent from 3-point range.

• Naje Gibson, a junior at Seton-La Salle, surpassed the 1,000-point plateau Saturday in a win over Hollidaysburg at the Gateway Hoops Classic. Gibson is averaging nearly 14 points.

• The 44 points scored by Greensburg Central Catholic's Brian Graytok on Friday in a win over Serra Catholic tied the school record for points in a game held by Jeff Mroz (2001).

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