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Conte garners PSAC coaching honor |

Conte garners PSAC coaching honor

| Sunday, May 27, 2001 12:00 a.m

For the second time in five years, Mike Conte has been selected as the PSAC-West Baseball Coach of the Year.

Originally from Brownsville and a former standout player at VMI and with the Oakland A’s, Conte guided California University’s baseball team to one of its finest seasons ever this past spring.

Cal U went 29-17 overall and won the school’s first PSAC-West title since 1985 with a 16-4 mark. Conte also received this coaching honor in 1997 when he coached the Vulcans to their first PSAC Final Four appearance since 1990.

Seven of Conte’s 2001 players received all-conference honors.

Highlighting the players’ honors was junior third baseman/pitcher Jason Foreman, who was named the PSAC-West’s Athlete of the Year. He was a first-team all-conference pick at third base and second-team pitching selection.

Foreman batted .351 (54 for 154) with 35 runs, 13 doubles, six home runs and 37 runs batted in. The Shaler High School graduate went 6-2 on the pitching mound with a 2.74 ERA, 41 strikeouts and 62.1 innings pitched.

The four other first-team, all-conference Cal U picks were: first baseman Jim Booth from Shaler (.304, 11 doubles, 5 HR), shortstop Brian Stoecklein from Seneca Valley (.423, 5 HR, 49 RBI), outfielder Bryan Hartung from Plum (.368, 8 HR, 49 RBI) and pitcher Brad Markovich from Baldwin (4-3, 4.26 ERA).

Second baseman Scott VanSickle from Albert Gallatin (.304, 9 doubles) and outfielder Ryan Balan from Ontario (.336, 37 RBI) were Cal U’s other second-team picks along with Foreman as a pitcher.

While California University of Pennsylvania’s baseball and softball teams won division titles and competed in postseason play, their sports information director was missing from the action.

David W. Smith, Cal U’s personable SID since the 1998 spring season, has missed the past five weeks due to severe back problems. Smith, a native of Washington and longtime resident of Hiller, was getting several tests done this past week. He longs to be back on the job.

‘I’ve missed more sick days this spring than I have since I started working at Cal U back in 1986,’ said Smith, who was previously the university’s student union operations manager and co-director of student publications. ‘It was a real bummer missing the end of the regular season and the playoffs but I cannot stand up for more than a couple minutes. The spring is also my favorite time of the year and I have a lot of work that I enjoy doing on my yard and garden. Instead, I am just lying here, looking out my window at the trees.’

Graduate assistant Jamie Barley, a Chartiers Valley High School graduate who earned her degree at Cal U’s May 12 commencement, is handling the day-to-day office duties while Smith recuperates.


Next Saturday, Jack Scarvel will receive the Michael Duda Award for Athletic Achievement (posthumous) from California University’s Alumni Association.

This award is given to a Cal U graduate that has distinguished him or herself in athletics or an athletic-related activity during their career.

As a teacher, administrator and coach, Scarvel was one of the more recognizable and respected athletic figures in the Mon Valley and across the state.

He was a defensive leader on Cal U’s 1958 team which was one of only two undefeated teams in that school’s football history.

For nearly 40 years, Scarvel worked in the Monessen school district, handling a variety of jobs, including teacher, football coach, guidance counselor, and athletic director. He began teaching at Monessen in 1962.

He was an assistant football coach for 20 years before becoming the head coach in 1983. During his 18 years as the Greyhounds’ head coach, Scarvel compiled a 127-58-4 career mark with 10 conference championships and 14 WPIAL playoff appearances. His 1995 team reached the WPIAL Class A finals and he guided the Greyhounds to 16 consecutive winning seasons and 17 non-losing seasons until his sudden death last October stunned the scholastic sports scene. Scarvel was 66 years old and later this summer will be inducted into both the Mid Mon Valley Sports Hall of Fame and Pennsylvania Coaches Hall of Fame.

Scarvel will be one of seven individuals honored at Cal U’s Alumni Awards Luncheon on Saturday as Cal U kicks off its Sesquicentennial celebration with Alumni Weekend.

For more information, contact Christopher Meehan, Cal U’s executive director of alumni relations, at (724) 938-4418.

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