Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New West Allegheny Coach Bears Well-Versed in Basketball Program

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New West Allegheny Coach Bears Well-Versed in Basketball Program

Article excerpt

Like anyone embarking on a new job after a promotion, Josh Bears felt some trepidation.

Hired as the West Allegheny boys' basketball coach in July, former assistant Bears admitted he was worried about how the players would accept the transition.

Turns out, Bears had no reason to be concerned.

"The kids made it so easy," he said. "They have been so committed, so dedicated to West Allegheny basketball. We miss 'coach K,' but we have not missed a beat. The players have worked every day. It's been an easy transition really."

Bears was an assistant for four years with the Indians under Dave Krakoff, who now is the head coach at Pine-Richland. The staff led West Allegheny to its first trip to the PIAA playoffs last season.

"[Bears] was well-liked as our assistant," player Donnie Pugliese said. "Once he came in as head coach, we all accepted him, so it was a pretty easy transition."

A transition that might not be as easy for the Indians is life without Zac Northen, who graduated last year after averaging 19.5 points per game and is playing at Geneva College. But the Indians were 4-1 going into last night's scheduled Section 2-AAA opener against Hopewell.

Senior swingman Mark Gillooly, who is 6 feet 4, and 6-foot junior guard Mike Roche are the only returning starters from last season's 17-11 squad. Pugliese, 6-1 senior guard Calvin Dantley and 6-3 junior forward Dorin Dickerson have joined the starting lineup.

There will be a few changes, Bears said.

"I am doing different things for personnel reasons," Bears said. "We have different types of athletes. Dorin Dickerson is a great athlete we had not had before. Mark Gillooly is a different scorer than Zac Zorthen was.

"The team dynamics cause us to tweak the system. Every team is a different group of players. That changes what you have to do in order to for the team to win."

So far, Bears has liked what he has seen. While many coaches downplay the non-section portion of their team's schedules, Bears embraced the first five games. …

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