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Posted Sunday, February 27, 2011 by Ed Dalton
Varsity Notes: Trinity football coach could return to job
Friday, February 25, 2011

If he and the Trinity school board can resolve some issues, Ed "In-again, Out-again, In-again" Dalton might be able to continue coaching a football program he turned around.

In the latest in one of the strangest WPIAL coaching stories in recent years, the Trinity board rehired Dalton as football coach last week, pending whether certain issues can be resolved.

"My optimistic side says both sides have good intentions," Dalton said. "We're going to try and do the best we can for the most important people, and that's the players and their families.

"I don't really know what the exact issues are yet. It just depends on whom you talk to. But I met with the superintendent [Paul Kasunich] Monday and he would like me to meet with six of the board members and talk things through."

Dalton has been Trinity's coach for 12 seasons and turned around a program that was one of the worst in the WPIAL. As for the twists and turns in this story, after the 2009-10 school year, the school board fired Dalton as athletic director. The board voted to keep Dalton as coach, and then brought him back as a seventh-grade history teacher for this school year.

After this past football season, the board voted to open Dalton's coaching position. Many community members and players backed Dalton and were outraged, and the board eventually rehired him.

But there is still the matter of a suit Dalton filed against the district after it removed him as athletic director.

"The board wants to negotiate some of these outside things that are pending, and I'm more than willing to do that," Dalton said.

Dalton has a 59-56 record at Trinity and has guided the Hillers to the WPIAL playoffs six consecutive years. Only a few other Class AAA teams have such a streak.

No, Dalton doesn't have any WPIAL or conference championships on his Trinity resume, and when he was released last month, the board said the decision was "performance based." But the Hillers were 28-80 with one playoff appearance in the 11 seasons before Dalton arrived.

"I want to come back," Dalton said. "We feel like we have a really good program right now. We just haven't beaten Thomas Jefferson [a perennial Class AAA powerhouse]. We're a playoff team continually, we have some really good classes coming up, I enjoy the kids and it's a great place to coach."

Memorable firsts

Another unbelievable "first" for Carlynton boys' basketball coach Kevin Trost.

In December, the first-year coach got his first win when Ryan Laepple banked in a shot from three-quarter court to give Carlynton a 79-78 victory against Avella. Avella had taken the lead on a basket with three seconds left.

Trost got his first playoff win Saturday in more dramatic fashion. This time, the game-winning shot was made from a little behind half court.

Carlynton's Jake Howard scored with 4.4 seconds left to give Carlynton a 54-53 lead, and Riverside immediately called timeout. When play resumed, a foul call on Carlynton in the backcourt gave Riverside's Zac Rorick two free throws with 2.0 seconds left. Rorick made both free throws to give Riverside a one-point lead.

Out of timeouts, Howard inbounded the ball to Shane Conley, who took one dribble before launching the long shot from beyond mid-court.

Swish. Carlynton won, 57-55.

Dapper Dans to 500

Talk about coincidences. Avonworth girls' basketball coach Bob Schulz won his 500th career game (he has coached the boys and girls teams at the school) on the final weekend of the regular season. Monessen coach Joe Salvino went into Thursday night's playoff game against Ellwood City seeking his 500th win.

Twenty-one years ago, Schulz and Salvino were co-coaches for the West Penn All Stars in the preliminary game of the Dapper Dan Roundball Classic at the Civic Arena.

Jeannette's Cox offered

Jeannette football player Demetrious Cox might not be as well-known as some others in the WPIAL, but add Cox to the list of juniors in the area with a Division I scholarship offer. Cox was recently offered a scholarship by Penn State, while Notre Dame and others are starting to show interest. Cox is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound quarterback/defensive back who is being recruited as a defensive back.

Sign of the times?

The Philadelphia Public League basketball semifinals were played earlier this week and for the first time, no neighborhood school was involved. All four participants were charter schools. They were Math, Civics & Sciences, Philadelphia Electrical & Technology, Imhotep and Constitution & Math.

The Philadelphia Public League has 68 schools and 18 of them are charter schools. The first charter school came into the league in 2001.

Imani for football?

Imani Christian (located in the East Hills section of the city) will be in the WPIAL for boys' and girls' basketball in the 2012-13 season. But the school hopes to someday have a football team in the WPIAL.

Harvey Smith is Imani Chrisitian's athletic director and said the school might try to play an independent football schedule this fall and possibly join the WPIAL in the near future. Smith is the brother of Gateway football coach Terry Smith, was an assistant under Terry and also the head coach at Kiski Area for one year.

"We're going to see how much interest there is within the school, but yes we would like to have a football program in the WPIAL," Smith said.

Imani Christian has kindergarten through 12th grade and has a little less than 300 students enrolled.

Rouse-ing performance

Penn Hills' Richard Rouse won the long jump championship last Saturday at the Tri-State Track Coaches Association Indoor Championships with a leap of 23 feet, 9 inches. According to Track & Field News, it is the fifth-longest indoor jump in the country this season for high schoolers.

Check this out

• Schenley athletic director Ken Saybel said recently that former Schenley basketball star DeJuan Blair came to every Schenley football game last season before he left for training camp with the NBA's San Antonio Spurs. Saybel said Blair still seems to have a special place in his heart for his alma mater.

• A Florida high school baseball game last week attracted 110 major-league scouts, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The scouts were there to watch two shortstops -- Montverde's Francisco Lindor and Arlington Country Day's Javier Baez -- who are projected to be first-round picks in June's Major League Baseball draft.

• Fort Bend Travis High School in Richmond, Texas, suspended three basketball players for a playoff game after they got in a fight on the court during a recent contest. But get this: The players weren't fighting the other team. They were fighting themselves.

Brothers Andrew and Aaron Harrison, and Anthony Odunski -- three of the team's top players -- sat out Monday night's district playoff game, but Fort Bend Travis (30-5) still defeated Clear Lake, 66-62.

For more on high school sports, go to "Varsity Blog" at www.post-gazette.com/varsityblog.

First published on February 25, 2011 at 12:00 am

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