By Matt Popchock
Monroeville mayor Greg Erosenko recently told 93.7 The Fan he plans to comment on the recent cutbacks made by the Gateway School District, including the controversial demotion of athletic director/head football coach Terry Smith, at the next city council meeting in August.
The Commonwealth has forced a number of public schools to make financial sacrifices, and Gateway, which will enter the academic year several million dollars in the red, recently furloughed 40 employees. The school board also briefly considered removing Smith altogether before public outcry essentially saved his coaching job for one more season; however, Smith was almost unanimously demoted to part-time AD earlier this month. Concurrently, in a unique move by the board, the AD was forbidden from holding supplemental employment (i.e.: head football coach) beyond the 2012 calendar year.
KDKA’s Christine D’Antonio filed this report July 11:
Some residents believe Erosenko, a friend of incumbent school board president Dave Magill, would stand to gain politically if Gateway and Smith eventually parted ways, and that Erosenko privately influenced the board’s decision. However, the mayor has categorically denied any involvement in the issue. He has also professed support for Smith and encouraged district residents to continue pressuring the board.
“Thank you near and far for your invaluable support, friendship, transparency and patience at the attempt to change the minds of Gateway’s school board. Your support is not in vain,” Smith said in a statement recently posted on the front of the football program’s website. “We will continue to challenge the board to do the right thing by restoring the full-time position. We will continue to press forward. Your support and dedication to this endeavor is most appreciated.”
Smith, as a football player, won a WPIAL Class AAAA co-championship and outright championship with the Gators before returning to coach his alma mater in 2002. He enters his 11th season on the sideline with a 92-28 record at Gateway and led the team to three straight WPIAL Class AAAA Finals 2007-09. In addition, the number of Gateway student-athletes receiving scholarships has improved considerably during his tenure as AD.
The meeting will be aired live on Channel 15 in the Monroeville area at a date and time to be confirmed.
Erosenko, a former Gateway School Board president, is up for re-election this fall.
OTHER WPIAL SPORTS NEWS:
We’re late to the party on this one, but in case you missed it, when the Miami Marlins sent struggling infielder (well, not struggling anymore) Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Dodgers sent a former WPIAL product back to the East Coast.
Erstwhile Plum pitcher Scott McGough, acquired by Miami in the multi-player deal, has been assigned to the Jupiter (FL) Hammerheads, the Class A-advanced affiliate of the Marlins. In 2012, while pitching for multiple minor league clubs, the 22-year-old righty has gone 3-5 with a 4.10 ERA in 47 1/3 innings with a WHIP of 1.51.
In 2008, as a senior at Plum, he started 2-0 and struck out 17 in his first 12 innings of work as the Mustangs’ closer en route to a WPIAL Class AAAA Final appearance. He was actually drafted by the Pirates shortly thereafter but opted to honor his scholarship to Oregon, where, again, he excelled as a reliever.
McGough, at the time, said he would be amenable to being re-drafted by the Bucs as soon as he finished college, but instead got snapped up by the Dodgers in the fifth round of last year’s MLB entry draft.
(Follow me on Twitter @mpopchock.)