Gateway board puts Smith, staff in limbo

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Football coach Terry Smith has won 65 games in seven seasons at Gateway, has been to a WPIAL title game three times and has produced a number of Division I college players.

But one thing Smith doesn't have is job security for this upcoming season.

The Gateway school board has tabled the hiring of Smith and his coaching staff three different times, the most recent a week ago, possibly because of budgetary concerns. He and his staff are on yearly contracts, and the uncertainty about Smith is becoming a hot topic in his district because the start of preseason practices is only two months away.

"I'm concerned," he said. "Our entire coaching staff is uncertain at this point about what's going to happen, and I don't understand where this is coming from on the board."

The next school board meeting is Wednesday, but Smith said the board has not given him a firm reason why his contract has not been approved for the coming year.

The vote was tabled in April, May and last week.

"We're coming off two of our most successful years in our history," said Smith. "We had a 23-3 record the past two years with two trips to Heinz Field [for the WPIAL championship]. Two straight years, we've had four Division I college players."

School board president Dave Magill said he hopes the matter will be resolved at the next meeting. Magill said one of the reasons for the delay in Smith's hiring was that board member James Rosipal has requested job descriptions of Smith's seven paid assistant coaches.

"We're having some budget problems," Magill said. "We have to start watching where all the money is going. ... Unfortunately, some of the board members aren't sports people and they don't understand why we need so many coaches."

When asked if any of the board members would like to make a coaching change, Magill hesitated and said: "I don't know. I know I don't. Since Terry took over, he's put Gateway into stardom. ... I'm sure some of the board members would rather spend money somewhere else."

Big 33 tomorrow

The annual Big 33 all-star football game between Pennsylvania and Ohio will be at 7 p.m. tomorrow in Hershey. The game will be televised on the NFL Network.

The Pennsylvania team has only seven WPIAL players, one of the smallest contingents from the district in the history of the game.

The East-West all-star game in Altoona starts at 6 p.m. today and will be televised on PCN.

Football coach hirings

• Baldwin hired Jim Wehner as its new football coach Wednesday night. Wehner was Yough's coach the past four seasons and also coached Avonworth for four years.

• Carmichaels has hired John Menhart as its new football coach. But he's really the old coach. Menhart coached Carmichaels from 1989-2002 before resigning. Mike Bosnic took over in 2003 but recently left to become Washington's coach.

Benusa signs

Riverview outfielder Gus Benusa has passed up a college baseball career and signed with the San Francisco Giants. Benusa, who had signed with Duquesne University, was drafted in the eighth round by the Giants last week.


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