George Guido: Times have changed for high school coaches

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Saturday, June 25, 2022 | 6:58 PM


With the recent bombshell resignations of successful, local high school coaches, it’s apparent that outside responsibilities are derailing careers on the sidelines.

Deer Lakes boys basketball coach Terence Parham, winner of 86 games in just seven seasons, resigned last week because of his expanded duties with Amazon.

Several weeks earlier, Dom Girardi of Highlands stepped down as head football coach, due to his family communications business expanding.

Both coaches were excellent people to work with, and here’s hoping they find their way back into the coaching ranks at a later date.

Times have certainly changed.

Before 1979, a coach had to be a faculty member at that particular school and rarely had business responsibilities outside the educational system.

Coaches today rightfully say coaching their sport is a year-round responsibility. Years ago, one person would do just about everything at a school, year-round.

At one time, Don Earley was the football coach, basketball coach and athletic director at Washington Township High School.

When Burrell High School opened its doors in 1964, athletic director Bob Haser was also the interim coach for football, basketball and every other sport until permanent coaches could be found.

Baker dies

The person who scored, arguably, the biggest touchdown in Arnold High School football history died recently.

Bill Baker, who scored against Springdale on Nov. 13, 1964, to vault the Lions into their only WPIAL championship game, was the victim of a motorcycle accident in Indiana County.

He was 75.

Arnold (then 9-0) needed a victory in the regular-season finale against the Dynamos to earn a slot in the WPIAL final. A loss or tie would have ended the season for Arnold under the Gardner Point System.

The buildup to the game was unbelievable. Springdale didn’t want to give up a home game at Veterans Memorial Field where only 3,000 seats were available.

The Allegheny Valley School District resisted overtures to move the game to a bigger facility such as Ken High Memorial Stadium. Arnold offered to host the game at Leslie Memorial Stadium, but that would have given the Lions seven home games.

Arnold fans really were incensed Springdale provided just 140 reserved-seat tickets — 40 comps and 84 for parents of the 42 players — leaving just 16 tickets for the fan base.

Fans stood in line more than two hours before kickoff. The game was so big that Cheswick Westinghouse, now known as Curtiss-Wright, let its workers out early so they could make it.

On the third play of the game, Chuck Johnson stood up the Springdale ball carrier and Baker, speedy for a defensive lineman, grabbed the ball and raced 36 yards for a touchdown. Tony Silvestrin kicked the extra point, and Arnold held on for an eventual 7-6 victory.

Montour won the title game a week later 19-7.

Arrangements were handled by the Ross Walker Funeral Home, New Kensington.

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