George Guido: Raptors coach could join company of New Kensington’s Buddy Jeannette

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019 | 6:28 PM


If the Toronto Raptors defeat the Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals, it puts Raptors coach Nick Nurse into an elite group.

Nurse would be the ninth coach in NBA history to win a title in his first coaching season.

In 1948, New Kensington native Buddy Jeannette won the league title with the Baltimore Bullets. Jeannette was a player-coach with the Bullets, and the league was known as the Basketball Association of America.

Jeannette played for Ken High’s WPIAL title team in 1934 and was on the ’32 WPIAL runner-up team as a sophomore. Jeannette was part of the Alle-Kiski Valley Sports Hall of Fame’s initial induction class in 1970 and the National Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., in 1994.

Harold Edward Jeannette died March 11, 1998, in Nashua, N.H. Other NBA coaches who won in their initial head-coaching seasons are Edward Gottleib (1947 Philadelphia Warriors), John Kundla (‘49 Minneapolis Lakers), George Senesky (‘56 Philadelphia Warriors), Paul Westhead (‘80 Los Angeles Lakers), Pat Riley (‘82 Lakers), Steve Kerr (2015 Warriors) and Tyrone Lue (‘16 Cleveland Cavaliers).

Of course, this hinges on whether Nurse calls any more momentum-halting timeouts like he did Monday night.

Pipe to somewhere

For a time in the late 1960s, Pittsburgh had the “Bridge to Nowhere” when money ran out on Fort Duquesne Bridge construction.

For many years, Valley had its pipe to nowhere, located on the first-base side of the baseball diamond. Waters cascading over the hillside gathered and some was channeled into a pipe parallel to the surface. But the pipe went nowhere, and the stormwater would be moved to another location, causing swampy conditions.

Muzzy Colosimo, New Kensington-Arnold School District building and grounds supervisor (along with several other hats he wears for the district), said the pipe now is part of a drainage system taking water away from the area. There’s a good chance there will be less postponements of Valley home baseball games in the future.

The property was conveyed to the then-New Kensington School District by ALCOA in 1951. The aluminum giant’s research plant was on top of the hill above the fields until it moved to Upper Burrell in the mid-1960s.

Some people don’t realize the football stadium was built in 1947, 10 years before the high school was built, also on former ALCOA property.

Old stadium, new name

Venerable Pullman Park in Butler has a new name.

The naming rights for Butler’s ballpark was purchased by the estate of Michelle Krill, memorializing a local resident and athlete.

The facility will be known as Michelle Krill Field at Historic Pullman Park. A ceremony commemorating the name change was held Thursday following the New Castle-Beaver PIAA playoff game. Krill, a 2001 Moniteau graduate, was diagnosed with liver cancer and died last June at age 35.

Pullman Park was built in 1934 by Butler Athletic Club. The field housed a New York Yankees farm club for many years.

Joe DiMaggio, Whitey Ford and Josh Gibson are a few of a number of great players who played at Pullman Park.

WPIAL and PIAA playoffs have been held there for years.

Leechburg’s Mickey Morandini pitched 12 innings in a WPIAL playoff victory over Ford City on May 31, 1983. That was in the days before innings and pitch limitations were instituted.

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