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Notebook: Coaching searches still ongoing

Bill Beckner Jr.
| Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Several area coaching vacancies are in the process of being filled.

Kittanning athletic director Todd Harvey said the school's athletic committee plans to interview candidates for its boys and girls basketball head coaching spots beginning this week.

"We've got the ball rolling," Harvey said. "We hope to have the coaches in place by our April board meeting later in the month."

The basketball spots opened last month when boys coach Doug Flanders and girls coach John Odrechowski resigned.

Meanwhile, Plum athletic director Bob Alpino has much more to deal with than the boys basketball job left vacant by the resignation of Ron Richards.

Alpino said there are several applicants for the boys basketball position and that the board hopes to have a replacement for Richards by the end of May "at the latest."

Plum also has head coaching openings for girls basketball, girls tennis and girls volleyball.

"With all of the weather-related cancellations and postponements, it has been very busy," Alpino said. "The coaching openings seem to go in cycles. There are seasons where all, or almost all, of the coaches return from the previous season and others like now when we have several openings."

Highlands is searching for a girls head basketball coach and boys head soccer coach.

Field renovations

The Kiski Area baseball team is enjoying its recently refurbished field.

Cavaliers coach Zach Jankowski said the boosters club helped raise about $20,000 to go toward batting cages, a bullpen, a new backstop, fence-capping, a concession stand and infield improvements.

Dugouts appear to be in the works, possibly by the start of the 2008 season.

A second field is being built for future ninth-grade and junior-high teams.

"It's a huge improvement," Jankowski said. "But we're still 15 years behind everyone else in our section."

National recognition

Two local baseball players were recently listed as players to watch in Street & Smith's magazine: Riverview pitcher Dave Kaye and Fox Chapel outfielder Chris Murphy.

Kaye, a hard-throwing righthander, has signed with Pitt, while Murphy, a power-hitting senior, is headed to Southern Illinois.

"And this is for the country," said Riverview coach Rich Griser, who is a part-time scout for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. "Mostly, you see California and Florida kids. I think its remarkable to have WPIAL players in there."

All-stars

A pair of area basketball players will be part of the first Millennium Prospects All-Star basketball game Saturday at South Park High School.

Leechburg guard Nick Matviko and Fox Chapel guard Ahmed Abu-Elmagd, who were opponents -- and MVPs for their respective teams -- in the 11th annual Cager Classic, were selected to play in the game.

Academic honors

Penn State New Kensington men's basketball player Jeremy Hurt, a Riverview graduate, was one of two students at the school to be named to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association's Academic All-America Team.

Hurt also earned PSNK's Scholar Athlete honors (3.0 grade-point average or higher), along with several other local high school graduates.

Also being named Scholar Athletes at PSNK were women's volleyball players Mende Hicks (Burrell), Heather Kisiel (Burrell) and Megan McAuley (Kittanning), women's basketball players Laney Pastoria (Freeport) and Hicks, men's basketball player Ben Hinton (Freeport), and co-ed golfers Adam Lasher (Kittanning), Chris Lovgren (Highlands) and Ryan Slanicka (Burrell).

All-America player

Washington & Jefferson senior guard Jon Koch, a Plum graduate, was named to the Great Lakes Region First Team by the National Basketball Coaches Association. Koch is one of 88 players across the nation eligible for NABC Division III All-America recognition. Koch averaged 17.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists this season and finished his career as the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,812 points.

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