New coach Dan DeRose wants to win North Allegheny’s first WPIAL boys basketball title

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020 | 10:28 PM


North Allegheny has never won a WPIAL boys basketball title.

If Dan DeRose doesn’t fix that in his time there, the Tigers’ new coach admits he’d be disappointed. The NA school board officially hired the former Penn Hills coach Wednesday night, giving the team a leader who won a WPIAL title just two years ago.

DeRose called NA’s quest for a title motivation.

“I kind of like that type of challenge,” he said. “Just like at Penn Hills, when they didn’t make the playoffs for seven years in a row. That was a challenge to get them back and bring some excitement to the town. I want to do the same here at North Allegheny.”

At Penn Hills, his teams averaged 20 wins a season and reached the WPIAL playoffs all five years he was there. He also led the South Park boys to the WPIAL playoffs in 2015 during his one season with the Eagles.

His career record in the WPIAL is 116-33.

Athletic director Bob Bozzuto said the school’s students and community would like to see a boys basketball banner hanging in the gym, but the focus should be on the process and not the outcome. Bozzuto sees DeRose as a coach who can lift NA’s basketball program, from the varsity to middle school and down to the elementary teams.

“Hopefully people understand that this is a statement,” Bozzuto said. “That we’re going to take it up a notch and we’re going to go after it. I think he’s the right person.”

DeRose replaces Keith Noftz, who resigned in March after four seasons. The Tigers went 46-44 under Noftz with three WPIAL playoff appearances but never advanced past the first round.

Leaving Penn Hills was difficult, DeRose said, but he already lives in the North Allegheny district, which gave the job added appeal.

“I’m only two miles away from the school,” DeRose said. “It’s easier back and forth, rather than driving 45 minutes to Penn Hills.”

DeRose previously worked for NA as a middle school basketball coach in 2012-14. Bozzuto said he recommended DeRose for the Penn Hills job five years ago.

“We always talk about athletics being an extension of the classroom,” said Bozzuto, adding that NA athletes combined have a 3.85 gpa. “Dan exhibits those qualities. He brings great intensity. He brings outstanding preparation. And he’s a winner. He’s won everywhere he’s been.”

North Allegheny has come close to winning a WPIAL title three times. The Tigers were runners-up in 1995, ’99 and 2015.

A Beaver Falls native, DeRose coached college basketball for more than a decade including a successful six-year run at the Community College of Beaver County from 2003-09. He went 139-45 at CCBC and won a conference title each year.

He also had stints as head coach at Penn State McKeesport (2000-01) and Chowan University (2010-12), an NCAA Division II school in North Carolina.

At Penn Hills, he twice led the Indians to the WPIAL quarterfinals, twice to the semifinals and once to the championship. Penn Hills defeated Pine-Richland in the 2018 WPIAL Class 6A finals at Petersen Events Center.

Penn Hills has since dropped to Class 5A. The move to North Allegheny takes DeRose back to Class 6A and to one of the state’s largest schools.

If he doesn’t celebrate a championship, he’ll be disappointed.

“Not just because it’s North Allegheny,” he said. “That would just be me in general wherever I go. I’m a competitor and will do everything I can to see that through. If I fall short, I fall short.

“But, no, I won’t be happy.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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