Football season to proceed around construction projects
With the high school football season less than two weeks away, construction at or around some stadiums may force some inconveniences for fans and teams.
Construction on stadiums continue at Greater Latrobe, Belle Vernon Area and Thomas Jefferson, while renovations at schools proceed at Mt. Pleasant Area, Hempfield Area and Norwin.
Despite ongoing construction at Memorial Stadium in Latrobe, the Derry Area at Latrobe game is still scheduled for Aug. 31. New seats are expected to be in place for the game. However, the locker room area for the teams will not be ready.
The officials and the Latrobe players will use the swimming pool locker rooms. A tent will be used for visiting teams. Portable bathrooms also will be installed for use.
Belle Vernon's James Weir Stadium is also in the midst of major renovations with new turf and stands.
'We're projecting to have the stadium turf completed by Sept. 5,' Belle Vernon athletic director James Bush said. 'It's going to be close. We probably won't have the stands on the visitors side done until late September.'
Belle Vernon opens the season Sept. 1 against Thomas Jefferson. That game will be played at Ringgold Stadium because of work at Thomas Jefferson. The Jaguars will play home games at Ringgold until their stadium is ready.
Ongoing work at Norwin, Mt. Pleasant and Hempfield will serve as an inconvenience to fans. Because of the construction, fans may have to walk a little further than usual to the stadium.
There are a couple of changes that Hempfield fans should be aware of heading into the season.
The student section will be moved to the press box side of the field directly across from the Hempfield band. They will sit in the section the visiting band used to occupy. The visiting band will move to the stands closest to the high school.
Rob DeMayo, 39, of Greensburg was hired as girls' basketball coach at Derry Area this summer. He coached the middle school boys basketball team at Derry the past three years.
DeMayo was a 1987 graduate of Montclair (N.J.) State College and attended Brearley Regional High School in Kenilworth, N.J. DeMayo owns Nicky's ice cream stand in Derry Township.
Less than two weeks before the opening of the season, the Burrell football team is dealing with a coaching staff upheaval.
The Burrell school board approved one new assistant coach at its scheduled meeting Aug. 21 - former Burrell and Plum head coach Al Mauro - but most of the meeting was consumed by the controversial departure of volunteer assistant John Tomiczek.
The board decided not to approve Tomiczek a week ago, the reason being his name wasn't submitted by the June deadline for volunteer coaches. Burrell head coach Tom Henderson admitted he missed the deadline.
Two paid assistants, Mark Cosentino and Dan Solomon, left the team in support of Tomiczek on Monday, saying they would not return until Tomiczek did.
'We don't want them to leave, but that's what they believe, and we have to respect that,' Burrell senior running back Greg Dulnikowski said.
Tuesday's meeting drew a crowd of players, coaches, parents and former players who spoke on behalf of Tomiczek, but the board refused to take any action, so he is still not permitted to coach.
Burrell, expected to challenge for the Allegheny Conference title, opens the season at home Aug. 31 against Valley.
The members of the board have steadfastly refused to comment on personnel matters and referred questions after the meeting to the superintendent Dr. Amy Palermo. She confirmed Henderson had missed the deadline but refused any further comment.
There was a move to dismiss Tomiczek three years ago, but he was eventually retained. His approach to coaching had been questioned at the time.
Their departure left Burrell with only four coaches until Mauro was hired.