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Sports

Apollo-Ridge hires boys basketball coach

| Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009

Apollo-Ridge coach Matt Gourley has had the opportunity to follow his boys basketball players up the competitive ladder.

Four seasons ago, Gourley started as eighth-grade coach. The last two years, he served as junior varsity coach.

This winter, Gourley will reach the final rung as the Vikings' varsity head coach, and his original group of players are the upcoming seniors.

Apollo-Ridge School Board hired Gourley by an 8-0 vote (one member was absent) and gave him a one-year contract for $5,946 on Monday night.

Familiarity with his players will be a bonus, Gourley said.

“It gives us an edge starting out,” said Gourley, 40. “It's a little more of a comfort level for them. We know each other pretty well.”

The key returning players for Apollo-Ridge will include a pair of seniors — shooting guard Mike Poydence and point guard Alan Johnson.

Gourley replaces Greg Fox, who was the head coach at Apollo-Ridge for 13 seasons and guided the Vikings to the WPIAL playoffs in 2005.

Fox, who stepped down to spend more time with his family, endorsed Gourley as his replacement. The two were teammates at Apollo-Ridge in the 1980s, with Gourley graduating in ‘87 and Fox in ‘89.

“I'm excited for Matt,” Fox said. “He's been in the program for four years, and he understands the system. He knows the kids, and the kids know him. I think it's a good fit for him, the kids and the school district.”

Gourley takes over a team that has a combined record of 21-47 in the past three seasons.

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