Sto-Rox hires Aliquippa’s Dwight Hines, all-time scorer Kerry Connolly as basketball coaches

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Friday, August 21, 2020 | 1:01 AM


After decades in red and black, Dwight Hines is embracing green energy at Sto-Rox.

The former coach and star athlete at Aliquippa was hired Thursday night as the Sto-Rox boys basketball coach. Hines didn’t choose to leave his alma mater this summer, but said his new job already reminds him of home.

“It’s like a home away from home,” he said. “I feel like they have the same type of community that I come from. The energy is always up.”

Hines went 63-39 in four seasons as Aliquippa’s coach and the team qualified for the WPIAL playoffs all four years. The Quips reached the WPIAL semifinals three times, but the school board opened his job to applicants.

Two months later, he’s back in the gym.

“It made me hungry,” Hines said, “but it also made me humble and made me grow. You have to move on from those things. I figured it made me better as a person to understand that I’m not just an Aliquippa coach. I can coach anywhere. It gives you the opportunity to spread your wings and fly a little bit.”

Hines was one of two basketball coaches hired Thursday. Assistant coach Kerry Connolly, a former star player at Sto-Rox, was promoted to lead the girls team.

The school board opened all coaching positions except football in June, giving first-year athletic director LaRoi Johnson a chance to reshape the department how he wanted.

“It’s great to be trusted to be able to do something like this,” Johnson said. “You’re only as good as the people around you and I completely understand that.”

Her Sto-Rox roots made Connolly an enticing candidate.

Connolly graduated as the all-time leading scorer in Sto-Rox girls basketball history with 1,154 points. As a senior in 2009, she led the Vikings to a 28-2 record and the WPIAL Class AA title. She later played college basketball at Edinboro and spent last season as a Vikings assistant.

“Just watching her over the last year, she’s a really great coach,” Johnson said. “I love the toughness that she’s going to bring to the position.”

The Sto-Rox girls went 6-16 last season under coach Nolan Larry.

A winning reputation made Hines’ resume stand out.

He was a multi-sport athlete for the Quips in the early 2000s and played college basketball at Pitt Johnstown. Before becoming Aliquippa’s head coach in 2016, he spent six seasons as a Quips assistant at a time when Aliquippa won two WPIAL titles, a PIAA title and a PIAA runner-up trophy.

“He’s a coach who’s ready to shine on his own, outside of Aliquippa,” Johnson said. “He wants to make his mark. I love a guy with a chip on his shoulder.”

Hines takes over a Sto-Rox program that went 20-7 last season and reached the WPIAL Class 2A finals under coach Ryan Hughes.

“They have very good athletes,” Hines said. “They have good size. They have good personnel. I believe the structure can be critiqued a little bit, but we can learn from each other and better ourselves.”

Hines planned to meet with his new team Monday.

“I’ll bring some hot dogs and hamburgers,” he said. “I want them to know we’re a family. We’re there for them. We’re not there for ourselves. I’m the commercial; they’re the show.”

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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