Blackhawk basketball coach Steve Lodovico took job ‘for a year,’ resigns 18 seasons later after building WPIAL powerhouse
Monday, April 3, 2023 | 11:17 AM
Eighteen years ago, Steve Lodovico applied to be Blackhawk’s boys basketball coach, hoping to replace his legendary mentor John Miller, who was retiring.
Instead, the school offered Lodovico the girls program.
“I really wanted the boys job at that point, so I turned it down,” he said. “I didn’t want to coach girls. But I went home and talked about it with my family. They said, ‘Just do it for a year.’
“Here I am 18 years later.”
Lodovico said he’s fortunate he reconsidered. But after winning four WPIAL titles, two state championships and more than 300 games, his successful tenure as Blackhawk’s girls coach is ending. Lodovico resigned Monday to spend more time with his family.
Blackhawk went 25-5 this winter and was both the WPIAL and PIAA Class 4A runner-up. His exit comes a little more than a week after a 53-45 loss to Lansdale Catholic in the state finals.
“As a coach living in another district, you sacrifice a lot of time away from family,” Lodovico said. “I have an amazing wife and three wonderful kids that I want to be there for, and my time will now be invested with them. They have allowed me to pursue my passion in coaching. I now want to be there for them as they go along their journey.”
Lodovico, 45, said he’s taking a “breather” from coaching. He and wife Becky have a daughter, Maya, 13, and two sons, Jase, 10, and Vinny, 6. They live in the Seneca Valley district.
He met with his Blackhawk players Monday morning to break the news.
“I’ve coached so many great girls and amazing individuals,” he said. “They’re more than just players. It’s the relationships you build through the years. Today, the number of former players who reached out to say how much they enjoyed playing in our program, that’s what I’ll miss.”
As a player, Lodovico was a starter on the Blackhawk boys teams that won state titles in 1995 and ’96 under Miller. He played college basketball at LaRoche and afterward decided to coach.
At 27, Blackhawk gave him his first head coaching job in 2005. He led the Cougars to consecutive state championships in 2014 and ’15, and won WPIAL titles in 2011, ’14, ’15 and ’22.
His career record is 348-128
“The girls game was different, but once I got going I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I had other opportunities to move and coach boys, but just never really had any interest. I was happy where I was and what we built at Blackhawk.”
Lodovico said basketball concepts don’t change regardless of gender, but his approach to coaching did evolve over the years. The Cougars went 45-56 in his first four seasons, but they’re 303-72 in the 14 years since.
“At the beginning, I kind of coached them the way I was coached by John Miller, but you have to be able to adjust,” he said. “There are a lot of feelings with girls. You have to be able to break them down, but also be able to build them back up. I learned as I went that you have to approach it differently.”
Since 2011, he had nine seasons with at least 20 wins.
This year’s 25-win season didn’t end with a WPIAL or PIAA banner, but Lodovico kept the team moving forward despite a key late-season injury. Mercyhurst recruit Quinn Borroni was lost to a torn Achilles tendon in a scrimmage just before the postseason.
Still the Cougars reached the WPIAL finals, stretched their season to the state finals and had a second-half lead in Hershey.
“When you lose arguably your best player, I think a lot of people counted us out,” Lodovico said. “It was really enjoyable to see how these girls rallied around that and how far we made it. I don’t think many people thought we would be sitting in Hershey, playing in the state championship game and, honestly, almost win that thing.”
— Steve Lodovico (@coachlodovico) April 3, 2023
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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