Chuck Crummie teaches math at Central Catholic High School, so he is good with numbers.
Crummie is about to hit a number that is rarely associated with boys basketball coaches in the WPIAL. Crummie, in his 34th season as Central Catholic's coach, needs only two wins to reach 600 for his career. His record is 598-290. Only nine other coaches from the WPIAL are known to have won 600 games. Crummie, 62, would be the only active coach in the league to have 600.
Crummie has come a long way since his days when he thought he might be a priest and attended high school at St. Fidelis in Butler, a school that prepared students for the seminary.
But Crummie eventually found his calling as a family man (he and his wife, Mary, have five children), a teacher and coach. Now he is about to enter the holy land of WPIAL coaches. The 600 club includes some legendary WPIAL coaches, including North Catholic's Don Graham (the WPIAL all-time leader with 801 wins), Farrell's Ed McCluskey, Blackhawk's John Miller and Wampum's L. Butler Hennon.
"Those are all people I knew of and respected, and I think most of them took this the same way I am," said Crummie, who also is Central Catholic's athletic director. "It's really a reflection of the players you are privileged to coach and how hard they play for you and the school.
"One of the big things is we don't have a school board at Central Catholic. How many coaches didn't get all that many wins because they were disposed of or fired. Maybe someone got on a school board who didn't like them.
"For me, it was just about being in the right place and being in a great institution. All those kids who have come through this school are really the main reason. And another part of it is having a family supportive of putting in a lot of hours not to make a whole lot of money. A lot of coaches quit or retire, maybe because of their family or wife."
Crummie, whose two sons, Devin and Sean, are his assistant coaches, has sent players to Division I colleges and some of his assistant coaches have become high school head coaches. One former assistant, Herb Sendek, became a Division I college coach. Sendek, who now is at Arizona State, was a volunteer assistant for one year in the early 1980s.
"He coached while he was still going to CMU," Crummie recalled. "I remember we took the varsity to Las Vegas for a tournament. Herbie stayed back and coached our JV and freshman teams. When we came back, the players said, 'Coach, don't leave us with him again. He killed us.'
"He stayed for one year, and the next thing you know the next year he gets a graduate assistant's job at Providence under Rick Pitino."
Ford City shut out Leechburg, 56-0, in a WPIAL girls game Monday night, but it wasn't the first shutout this season. Serra defeated Wilkinsburg, 28-0, in December. Wilkinsburg left after the first quarter because of a snowstorm, but the score stands as 28-0.
It's not known if there have been any other shutouts in WPIAL girls basketball. There was at least one in WPIAL boys basketball. In 1978, Wilkinsburg defeated Kiski Area, 8-0.
Ford City coach Al Davis could not be reached for comment . But Joel Ceraso, Leechburg's first-year coach, was a little upset because Ford City played some of its starters until the fourth quarter.
"I'm not really bitter. Just a little disappointed. But it is what it is. Some people are like that. But there is a life lesson to be learned here. It would be that sometimes nobody will cut you a break. Life is tough sometimes and no matter how hard it is going to be, people won't cut you a break."
This weekend, two events feature some top teams, top players and top matchups of teams in different classifications.
The Coaches vs. Cancer Clash of the Titans will be held Saturday at Geneva College in Beaver Falls. It will include five boys games and one girls game. One of the top games is Hampton vs. Central Valley at 3 p.m. Hampton is No. 2 in Class AAAA and Central Valley No. 2 in Class AAA.
Two other top games in the event are Lincoln Park vs. Kiski School (7:30 p.m.) and Beaver Falls vs. New Castle (9 p.m.).
Sunday, the Pittsburgh Classic is a six-game event at Montour High School, beginning at 11 a.m. The event features a battle of unbeatens -- Vincentian (15-0) vs. Obama (13-0) of the City League. Another interesting game is Lincoln Park vs. Hempfield at 5. It will be the third consecutive day Lincoln Park will play a game.
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* Nick Aloi, who averaged 15 points a game last season as a freshman at Ellwood City but is not playing this season because of a torn ACL, transferred to Lincon Park Tuesday.
* Beaver Falls guard Elijah Cottrill, a member of the Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 last year, is likely out for the season because of a knee injury. Cottrill injured his left knee in a Jan. 14 game against Aliquippa. It is the same knee on which he had surgery performed last summer.
* North Allegheny's Joe Mancini had 11 3-pointers Tuesday night against Shaler, which had some people wondering if he was anywhere near the WPIAL record. Well, the league record is believed to be 13, set by Ford City's Chris Zilla in 1995 and tied by Fort Cherry's Dan Davis in 2004.
For more on high school sports, go to "Varsity Blog" at www.post-gazette.com/varsityblog. Mike White: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1975 and Twitter @mwhiteburgh.
First Published January 24, 2014 12:00 AM