Alle-Kiski Valley high school notebook: Highlands hires Jeff Campbell as baseball coach

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Thursday, January 11, 2018 | 5:59 PM


Jeff Campbell's full-time job kept him from pursuing the Highlands baseball coaching position in the past, but he can add it to his resume now.

Campbell, a 1977 Highlands graduate, will take over as the Golden Rams' coach this spring after spending the past six seasons as an assistant. He replaces Brett Burger, who left after one season to take the baseball coach position at Springdale.

“I'm excited about it,” said Campbell, who is a contract analyst in Crafton. “I enjoy working with the kids, and I love the sport of baseball. I just want to bring the kids my knowledge and to show them my support and maybe help turn this program around.”

The Golden Rams have struggled in recent years, last making the WPIAL playoffs in 2003 and posting a 36-129 record since 2007. They finished 1-16 last season, including 1-13 in Section 1-4A.

But the 58-year-old Campbell was an assistant under Jeff Weissert, who resigned after the 2016 season, and Burger, believes Highlands has the ingredients for a revitalization.

“I think with what I've got coming on staff and with some of the core returning players we have, I think we can begin the process,” he said. “Looking at what I have coming down below, there's some potential. We've started winter voluntary workouts, (and) I have a lot of young players that are showing interest and have promise.”

Campbell's son, also named Jeff, played baseball at Highlands and later at Pitt-Johnstown and could join his father's staff as a part-time assistant. The younger Jeff Campbell lives near Cleveland, Ohio.

Hart of the matter

Imani Christian junior Rahmon Hart Jr., who formerly played at Plum, will attend the Feb. 18 Under Armour All-America Football Camp at Spire Institute in Cleveland. He also attended the camp last year.

The Under Armour camps, held on 10 dates from February-May in locations around the country, feature instruction from former NFL players and coaches. Attendees have the option to complete NFL combine-style tests, and selected players are chosen for the UA All-America Game & Future 50 in Orlando, Fla.

Hart, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound wide receiver/defensive end, caught 63 passes for 978 yards and 11 touchdowns for WPIAL Class A runner-up Imani Christian last season after transferring from Plum. He added 53 tackles, seven sacks and three forced fumbles on defense.

Rated a three-star recruit by 247Sports, Hart holds offers from Buffalo, Temple, Toledo, Howard and Robert Morris.

Spartan signing

St. Joseph senior Serena Edgar made her college softball decision, signing earlier this month with Muskingum.

A shortstop and two-time Valley News Dispatch All-Star, Edgar batted .560 with eight doubles, two triples, a homer and 17 RBIs as a junior. She scored 30 runs and was 26 for 26 on stolen bases for the Spartans, who won the first WPIAL playoff game in program history. Edgar plays travel softball with the Pittsburgh Spirit.

Scholarship winners

Prior to the finals of the 65th annual Westmoreland County Coaches Association wrestling championship Saturday at Norwin, the association awarded scholarships to seven 2017 graduates of county schools, including two from the Alle-Kiski Valley.

Valley's Brooke Doran received the $1,500 Nicholas M. Pecoraro Jr. Memorial Scholarship. Doran attends Point Park. She participated in track and soccer in high school, was ranked No. 1 in her class and had a grade point average of 4.135.

Kiski Area's Paige Horwatt was one of five winners of a $1,200 scholarship. Horwatt played tennis at Kiski Area and had a 100.680 QPA and ranked 11th in her class. She attends Seton Hill.

Staff writer Paul Schofield contributed. Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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