Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Coach Returns, Striving to Make Frazier a Winner

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Coach Returns, Striving to Make Frazier a Winner

Article excerpt

Larry Mikesell, a longtime Perryopolis resident and teacher at Frazier High School, is feeling as if he is back home.

Mikesell, who spent 28 years coaching Frazier boys' basketball in some capacity from 1970-98, is embarking on his second stint varsity head coach there.

"Now I am back, which is enjoyable," Mikesell said. "I didn't know what was going to happen. You never know. I thoroughly enjoyed coaching and had a chance to come back here, where I teach."

Mikesell spent the past six years coaching mostly golf at Belle Vernon Area. His contract as Frazier's head coach was not renewed following the 1997-98 season.

Mikesell posted a 24-20 record in his two seasons and took the Commodores to the playoffs in 1996-97.

Frazier, however, has qualified for the postseason only once since, in 2001.

"I just thought maybe I could change things," said Mikesell, who has taken over a team that went 2-22 last season and 5-19 the season before that.

"I never speak against any other coach. Just a couple of things were changed.

"The parents took over in the summer and the kids worked on things. With that, and a bit of maturity from the players, [the situation is] slowly improving."

Frazier improved enough that, in about 24 hours last weekend, it matched last season's victory total. The Commodores defeated Charleroi Area and Greater Works Academy to win the Serra tournament and start the season 2-0.

"I thought it was great for the kids, coming off a 12-game losing streak at the end of last year," Mikesell said. "The kids who are back have experience. But what good is experience when you are losing? So I was very happy with their quality of play.

"They are experienced in playing, but inexperienced in winning."

Despite losing their home opener to Carmichaels Area, 48-36, on Wednesday, the Commodores are hopeful of a productive season. …

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