Gateway still doesn’t know who will coach its football team next season, but at least the Gators now know where they will be playing.
The WPIAL realigns its conferences every two years, and the league released its new conferences Wednesday for 2014. Gateway is dropping from Class AAAA to AAA and the Gators will play in the Greater Allegheny Conference against teams from the eastern and northern suburbs. It most certainly will be a new experience for Gateway, which has played in the WPIAL’s largest classification since the school opened in 1958.
Overall, 26 teams in the WPIAL change classifications or conferences for the fall. Most of the changes were in Class AA and A. Besides Gateway dropping, there was only one change in Class AAAA.
Among the notable changes are:
• The WPIAL created an extremely strong Eastern Conference in Class A. Jeannette and Greensburg Central Catholic dropped from Class AA, and the WPIAL put those two in the same conference with Clairton and Monessen.
• Plum moves from the Southeastern Conference to the Foothills in Class AAAA, which is much better for Plum in terms of travel.
• Sto-Rox, a Class A finalist the past three years, is in the Class AA Century Conference. Sto-Rox should be in Class A, but a school administration error in enrollment figures put Sto-Rox in Class AA.
• West Shamokin, which made the Class A playoffs for the first time in school history in 2013, moves up to Class AA and will be the Allegheny Conference.
• Summit Academy, which also made the playoffs in 2013 for the first time in school history, moves from the Allegheny Conference in Class AA to the Midwestern.
The new conferences were made by the WPIAL football committee and approved by the Board of Control. Executive director Tim O’Malley said the conferences were made mostly by geography. He said Class AA and A were the hardest to align.
As for Gateway, it will play in the same conference as Mars, Hampton, Knoch, Hollidaysburg, Franklin Regional, Greensburg Salem, Indiana and Yough. Gateway has never played most of those teams.
“We would’ve been happy no matter where they put us, but that [Greater Allegheny] is a great conference for us,” Gateway athletic director Randy Rovesti said. “We border Franklin Regional and have played them in the past. Plus, we know Mars, Hampton and Knoch are quality teams.”
Gateway is still looking for a coach after opening Donnie Militzer’s position after only one season. Rovesti said the school has conducted first interviews and should have a coach in the next few weeks.
Plum is happy with its move to the Foothills, mainly for travel reasons. In the Southeastern, Plum had to play some teams in the South Hills. Plum coach Matt Morgan said, because of traffic, it sometimes took two hours to get to games in the South Hills.
“We’re excited,” Morgan said. “The fact that we don’t have to fight through two tunnels [Squirrel Hill and Fort Pitt] to get to some games, is a lot more convenient.”
In other WPIAL news, the league has asked Greensburg Central Catholic boys basketball coach Greg Bisignani to appear at a hearing Monday to answer to charges that he made contact with an official after losing Saturday to McKeesport.
For more on high school sports, go to “Varsity Blog” at www.post-gazette.com/varsityblog. Mike White: email@example.com, 412-263-1975 and Twitter @mwhiteburgh.