The tale of two Smiths was one of the bigger stories on the WPIAL football coaching front the past few weeks.
It's a tale of coming and going.
George Smith has come back to coaching high school football at McKeesport. He was hired as the Tigers' coach last week. Smith coached McKeesport for 28 seasons before resigning after the 2009 season and has 198 career wins.
While George Smith returns, Terry Smith walks away from WPIAL coaching. He has accepted a job as receivers coach at Temple University.
George Smith has said one of the main reasons he wanted to come back to coach his alma mater was because he didn't like where the football program was headed.
Meanwhile, Terry Smith left his alma mater in the midst of a battle with the Gateway school board and Smith had some interesting comments this week on a few different subjects.
Smith also was Gateway's athletic director, but last summer the school board made his AD position part-time and slashed his salary in half. The board also passed a resolution where a person could not be a school administrator and have a supplemental contract. That meant Smith had to decide between coaching and his AD job by the end of June.
"I grew up in Monroeville, played at Gateway, coached at Gateway and have fond memories of Gateway. I love the people of Gateway," Terry Smith said. "I don't have any bad feelings. I understand politics and how it works. The older you get, the less personal you let things become.
"They pushed me out of the nest, and now my wings are open, and I realize there is a bigger world and far greater opportunities ahead for me."
Smith said he has always wanted to be a college coach. He will move to the Philadelphia area while his wife, Alison, and 14-year-old daughter, Haley, will continue to live in the Pittsburgh area for a year.
"I never applied to Temple. They came to me," Smith said. "This is something I always wanted to do, but I didn't know if I would ever get the opportunity to do it."
In 11 seasons at Gateway, Smith had a 101-30 record, qualified for the WPIAL playoffs all 11 years and advanced to the WPIAL title game four times, but lost every time. He sent 23 players to NCAA Division I-A colleges and 17 more to Division I-AA colleges.
Smith knows his critics like to point out that he had a number of players transfer into Gateway during his tenure. Some of the players had to go before the WPIAL for hearings on whether the transfers were for athletic intent.
Smith had an answer for his critics.
"When you run a program that is first class and you put kids first, people will move to your district to have a better opportunity for their kid," Smith said. "People move into Woodland Hills all the time. People move to North Allegheny. Why? Because they are great programs that are run by great people.
"If guys are going to point the finger at me, then they should point it everywhere. Every program that has won a championship has had kids move in. Gateway hired a private investigator to check into every single player on our roster and they found nothing. So whatever people want to think, they can think."
Orange for Maria
Pine-Richland's school colors are green and white. But next Friday, the Rams' boys basketball team will add a touch of orange to their style.
Orange has been the color of a fundraising campaign for Maria Ciarocca, a Pine-Richland junior who is battling leukemia. The Rams basketball team plans to wear orange shoelaces and orange socks for their game against Shaler next Friday. Students attending the game and also the cheerleaders will be wearing orange.
Pine-Richland plans to donate some proceeds from the game to Ciarocca, who played soccer for Pine-Richland.
Two for 20s
The Allderdice girls basketball team has one of the best scoring combinations in Western Pennsylvania over the past three decades.
That might sound like a strong statement, but statistics say it's not an exaggeration. Sierra Fordham, a 5-foot-5 junior guard, is averaging 21.9 points a game, and Sydnee Abernathy, a 5-6 senior guard, is averaging 21.4.
Over the past 28 seasons, only four teams in the WPIAL or City League have had two players average 20 points a game or more for the entire regular season.
The last time it happened was 20 years ago when Monessen's Gina Naccarato averaged 24.0 and Angie Scirotto 20.2. Naccarato is now Monessen's coach.
Since 1985, the other three teams with two 20-point scorers in the regular season were Aliquippa (twice) and Ellwood City. Aliquippa's Carrie Bordas and Mona Gaffney did it twice. In the 1988-89 season, Bordas averaged 26.7 and Gaffney 20.3. In 1989-90, Bordas averaged 26.2 and Gaffney 21.0.
The other 20-point duo was Ellwood City's Anne Malkowiak (26.7) and Doneen Aloi (20.1) in the 1987-88 season.
George Yokitis, coach of the Vincentian Royals boys basketball team, refers to his team's style of play as "organized chaos." The Royals play a full-court, trapping style on defense and like to play at a fast pace on offense.
According to the statistics, no team in the WPIAL can match Vincentian's "chaos."
Tuesday night against North Catholic, Vincentian broke the 90-point mark for the third time this season and won, 91-82. Vincentian leads the WPIAL in scoring at 82.7 points a game. The style has been successful, too, as Vincentian has a 16-1 record.
Granted, Vincentian usually plays its home games on a small floor and that helps the point total. But the Royals have put up some big point totals in road games, also.
They also defeated North Catholic on a larger floor, using Marshall Middle School in the North Allegheny district as a home court for that game.
Another for 2,000
A few weeks ago, Hopewell's Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored her 2,000th career point and was the first WPIAL player to reach the milestone since 2007. But the 2,000-point club could have another member by the end of the season.
Jeannette's Ciara Gregory has 1,893 career points. She still has four regular-season games left, plus the playoffs.
Check this out
• Mitch Galiyas, Montour's longtime athletic director, said he will retire at the end of the school year.
Mike White: firstname.lastname@example.org