Peter J. Wagner is the new head football coach at Baldwin High School, and the decision is not without controversy as he has no head coaching experience.
Mr. Wagner, 29, is the school's dean of students, and served as an assistant coach for the varsity team for the past few years.
He replaces Jim Wehrer, who resigned as head coach last month.
Mr. Wehner, a physical education teacher, held the extra-curricular position for four years, during which time the football team compiled a losing record.
The motion to hire a new head coach began with the administration's recommendation of Greg Perry, the head coach at Seton-La Salle Catholic High School in Mt. Lebanon. The motion failed by a 5-4 vote.
The motion was then made for Mr. Wagner, which passed by a 6-3 vote, with President Nancy Sciulli DiNardo and board members Nancy Crowder and George Pry dissenting.
A resident who addressed the board, and who favored Mr. Perry, said the district may have exposed itself to a lawsuit for not adhering to its posted requirement of five years of head coaching experience at the high school level and above.
There were about 15 applicants for the position.
After the meeting, Ms. Sciulli DiNardo said she voted for the most qualified candidate.
"If the children of Baldwin-Whitehall are going to rise to be the best, we must provide them with the most qualified to get there," she said.
Superintendent Dr. Randal Lutz said he recommended Mr. Perry for his head coaching experience and winning record.
According to the Seton-La Salle website, Mr. Perry has served as head coach there since 2005. Before that, he was the team's offensive coordinator from 1994 to 2004.
During his tenure, the team won six section championships and two WPIAL Class AA championships.
Baldwin competes in the WPIAL Class AAAA conference.
Kevin J. Fischer, who voted for Mr. Wagner, called the position "an opportunity for a young man with a relationship and rapport with students.
"He might be a head coaching novice, but not to the sport. I believe he has the ability to get kids involved and wanting to win," he said.
Mr. Wagner's new position is effective July 1, and pays $11,476. The position is approved on an annual basis.
Margaret Smykla, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org