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Armstrong High School sorting through prospective varsity coaches |

Armstrong High School sorting through prospective varsity coaches

With the school’s opening nine months away, Armstrong High School should have its first coaches in place by year’s end.

A committee installed to select varsity head coaches for the new school will begin to interview candidates for fall sports positions next week, and their target is to have hiring recommendations ready for the Armstrong School Board to act upon for its Dec. 8 meeting.

Because an athletic director has yet to be hired, the committee was formed to fill the role an AD usually would in the hiring process. Kittanning principal James Rummel leads the committee, which also includes Ford City principal Michael Cominos and both schools’ current ADs, Todd Harvey or Kittanning and Denny Stewart of Ford City.

“It’s a big committee, and while not everyone will be there for every sport, we want the same people meeting every candidate for each sport,” Rummel said.

“We’ll be meeting with applicants on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. We plan to have one interview, but we’ve left it open if we have to have second interviews the next week.”

The openings for football, boys and girls soccer, girls volleyball, boys and girls golf, boys and girls cross country and girls tennis were posted publicly, and applications were accepted through last Friday. Response was mixed from sport to sport, but Rummel was mostly pleased.

“We received anywhere from one to seven applications for each sport. It’s a good set of candidates, and I’m really happy with the pool. We even got multiple good candidates in some of the sports where we were worried about the interest in the job,” Rummel said.

Having a committee that represents the entire Armstrong High School community was important to the process, and the school board is happy with its makeup, said board president Joe Close. The new school eventually will have an athletic director, but filling that position is not an immediate priority.

“We’ve knocked around a few different ways we’re going to fill that (athletic director) seat,” Close said. “Whether one of the building’s administrators would handle that role, or if it would be too much work to have on top of their job is something we have to look at.”

Until an athletic director is chosen, the committee pick Armstrong’s head coaches for the 2015-16 school year, and those head coaches then would have input on filling out their staff with assistants.

As was the case for fall sports, the other seasons’ sports will have an open application period. Winter sports applications will be taken in February, and spring sports applications will be accepted in May.

“We don’t want to do it any earlier because we don’t want any lame-duck coaches at Kittanning or Ford City, but then we’re moving fast because there are things for these coaches to do and get started,” Rummel said.

Close said once the committee makes their recommendations, the board will move quickly to get Armstrong’s coaches started.

“We want to let the coaches get started and hit the ground running,” Close said.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.

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