Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Oh Baby, What a Debut for Coach

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Oh Baby, What a Debut for Coach

Article excerpt

Dave Pilarski had more than just wrestling on his mind in his debut as head coach of Penn Hills High School over the weekend.

Penn Hills was entered in the 14-team Eastern Area Invitational at Gateway High School, but Pilarski was more concerned with his pregnant wife.

"She is due Wednesday, but the doctor told her it could happen any day," said Pilarski, prior to the start of the tournament. "So my mind is not completely on wrestling."

Pilarski had his cell phone on all weekend, waiting for a call from his wife, but the call didn't come.

"My assistant, Pete DeVito, and his wife had a baby three weeks ago," said Pilarski, who has been a ninth-grade math teacher at Linton Middle School. "So he knows just what I'm going through."

A new child is also the reason that Dave Miller stepped down as head coach.

"Dave's wife just went back to work after having their second kid, so he retired to spend more time with the family," said Pilarski. "I'm not sure if he's retired for good, but he will be out for a while."

Pilarski was the head junior high coach last year after helping the year before as a volunteer coach.

"Dave told me of his plans to retire and was grooming me to be the head coach," said Pilarski. "He's been in twice to talk to the kids. He has an open invitation to come in and roll around with the kids any time he wants."

Pilarski is hoping to revive a program that has been under .500 in Section 4-AAA five of the past six years.

"We need to build up the elementary program," said Pilarski. "The kids have to get started in first or second grade. It's really tough to become successful at the varsity level when you start in seventh grade or later. The younger they start, the more advanced they are when they get to the varsity level."

Penn Hills finished 11th in the tournament.

Out for football

Mike Downing also made his head-coaching debut at the Eastern Area Invitational as Central Catholic's new coach, but a significant part of his team was not in attendance.

"We have eight kids who play on the football team," said Downing, referring to the fact that the Vikings football team will be playing for a PIAA title Saturday. …

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