Kiski School is preparing to turn on the lights for the first time on a Friday night and is ready to christen new stadium turf and a refurbished press box.
Carroll "Beano" Cook was best known as a college football analyst and historian for years on ESPN and ABC television. He was also the sports information director at the University of Pittsburgh from the mid-1950s until the mid-'60s.
But before that Cook was a member of the Class of 1949 at Kiski School, a small, all-male prep school in Saltsburg, Indiana County. His name -- and generosity -- will live on at Kiski School forever.
Kiski School has lights at its field for the first time -- and it has the new artificial turf surface, refurbished press box and new track. One of the main reasons for those athletic enhancements is Cook, who died last October, but left Kiski School $500,000.
"I was never in on the money meetings, but I know the school is very thankful for what Beano has done and I know it was significant what he gave," said Chris Spahn, athletic director at Kiski School. "That really kind of kicked things off."
Kiski School, which plays in the Interstate Prep School League, will play its first home night game in school history Oct. 11 against St. Michael's College School of Toronto. Kiski School's soccer and lacrosse teams also will play on the new turf. The entire complex will be called the Beano Cook Outdoor Athletic Center.
"I think our kids are excited because the prep school league usually plays Saturday afternoons," Spahn said. "I know we're kind of far out from the [Pittsburgh] area, but everyone else seems to have turf fields now, too. It's nice to get ours."
But Cook will be forever linked with Kiski and not just because of his monetary contribution. In ceremonies Oct. 18-19, Cook will be honored as one of the first inductees into the Kiski School Sports Hall of Fame. One of the other inductees is fellow 1949 classmate Bob Mathias, who won two gold medals in the decathlon at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics. Mathias won his first Olympic gold medal the year before he graduated from Kiski School.
As for Cook, Spahn said, "He always kept tabs on things here. He always seemed to have a soft spot with what happened here."
Sign of the times
University Prep quarterback Ron Brown has thrown for 1,337 yards in only three games (61 of 94 completions). His yardage total is the most so far this season in the WPIAL or City League.
The Post-Gazette began keeping passing statistics for the WPIAL and City League in 1979. The leading passer for the entire season 34 years ago was Freedom's Rich Edder. Get this: He threw for 1,242 yards. Edder averaged 138 yards passing in 1979. So far this season, Brown is averaging 445.7.
The other Ron Brown
Another Ron Brown is eligible to play in the WPIAL. This one is at Penn Hills.
The WPIAL ruled Monday that Brown is eligible. Penn Hills had been waiting for a decision on Brown's eligibility since he transferred a few weeks ago from Pickerington North in Ohio.
Penn Hills is the fifth school Brown has attended in the past three years, for various reasons. He is now living with his father in the Penn Hills district. Brown showed promise two years ago as a sophomore at Woodland Hills, but transferred last year to Imani Christian, where he gained more than 1,000 yards rushing.
He left Imani and was attending Reniassance Christian Academy, a new private school in the East Hills section of Pittsburgh. But he transferred to Pickerington North and was going to play there before leaving the team shortly before the season started.
WPIAL and the NFL
Aliquippa and Woodland Hills both have three players on NFL active rosters this season. According to a report from USA Football, that ties the two schools for 19th for the most players in the NFL.
Aliquippa's three NFL players are Darrelle Revis (Tampa Bay), Jon Baldwin (San Francisco) and Tommie Campbell (Tennessee), while Woodland Hills' three are Rob Gronkowski (New England), Ryan Mundy (New York Giants) and Darrin Walls (New York Jets).
Three years ago, Woodland Hills had six NFL players, the most of any high school in the country. But four of those six are no longer in the NFL -- Jason Taylor, Steve Breaston, Shawntae Spencer and Lousaka Polite.
Miami Norland (Fla.) and St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) are tied for first with six players and Pahokee (Fla.) is next with five. Fifteen high schools have four players in the NFL, and 11 of those schools are from either Texas, California and Florida.
Pennsylvania is eighth among states with the most NFL players and Pittsburgh is tied for fourth for the most players from one hometown. Pittsburgh has 11.
What did Foster mean?
Former Central Valley star receiver Robert Foster put an interesting message on his "Twitter" account Saturday, even though it didn't last long before it was removed.
Foster tweeted "I SHOULDA OF LISTENED TO MY MOM." (sic)
Read what you want into that. Foster is a freshman at the University of Alabama who is listed as third-team on the depth chart. When Foster decided on Alabama last year, he said his mother wanted him to go to Pitt.
West Shamokin is 3-0. Rochester is 1-2. The world of WPIAL football is upside down.
West Shamokin is off to its best start since the school started playing in the WPIAL in 2004. Only a year ago, the Wolves broke a 46-game losing streak, the longest in WPIAL history. This season they have an excellent shot at qualifying for the WPIAL playoffs.
Meanwhile, Rochester, a perennial Class A power, is struggling. The Rams are 1-2, losing two of their first three games for the first time since 1999, when they lost their first two before winning one.
They have given up 33 points at home twice in losses to Avonworth, 33-6, and Union, 33-0. That is the most points Rochester has allowed in a home game since giving up 34 to Riverview in 1997.