By Mike White | Wednesday, Sept. 30, 8:55 p.m.
Pitt's newest football recruit plays for a legendary coach in Cleveland, Ohio.
Mark Myers of St. Ignatius High School made a verbal commitment to Pitt Tuesday night. He had been hoping for a scholarship offer from the Panthers, and when one came, Myers jumped at it. He also had offers from Toledo and Ball State.
Myers is coached by Chuck Kyle, possibly the most successful coach in the history of Ohio high school football. Kyle is in his 27th season at St. Ignatius and has won 10 state championships, the most of any coach in Ohio history since the state playoffs started in 1972. St. Ignatius plays in Division I, the largest classification in Ohio. Kyle's record is 262-57-1. Twice (1989 and 1993) his teams have finished the season ranked No. 1 in the country by USA Today. This year's team is 5-0 and also ranked nationally.
Kyle speaks highly of Myers, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior.
"I would certainly categorize him as having a very strong arm, and I don't think that's the only thing you evaluate a quarterback on," Kyle said. "He's a left-hander. You need to know that. He has great vision and he's a big, strong kid. He's a very good athlete. He's a three-sport guy here. After football, he'll go right into basketball. After basketball, he'll go right to track and field. He's a 110-meter high hurdler. That's an event that you need to be an athlete if you're going to do it. I'm also the track coach."
This is Myers' first season as a starter. Kyle believes more colleges would be interested in Myers if he started last year. Last year's quarterback was Andrew Holland, who helped St. Ignatius win a state title.
"Mark started four or five games as a sophomore," Kyle said. "It was a situation last year where we had a quarterback in Andrew Holland, who is now at Penn, and he went on to become the co-Division I Player of the Year in Ohio. Mark did the right thing. He was patient, he kept working on his fundamentals and he did all the things he needed to do.
"As this year began, fundamentally he was really solid. I think with the more experience he gets, the more reads he gets, the better he'll get. ... I would feel very comfortable in saying he has a big upside to him. I think there is plenty of room for him to still grow as a quarterback."
Myers had a big game earlier this season when St. Ignatius defeated Mentor, 47-7. Myers threw five touchdown passes.
"That's the best quarterback I've seen out of [St. Ignatius]," Mentor coach Steve Trivisonno told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Trivisonno has been Mentor's coach for 21 years.
"Did you see that arm," Trivisonno said. "That's the best arm I've ever seen, the best I've seen anybody throw the ball at this level."
Kyle said Myers has liked Pitt since the summer.
"He had a chance to go to Pitt's camp and he enjoyed it," Kyle said. "He felt he did well there and he enjoyed working with the coaches. That was the main thing. He was rather pleased they offered."
WPIAL directs school to suspend coach
Apollo-Ridge football coach John Simon served a one-game suspension last week after being ejected from the Sept. 18 game. Now, the WPIAL wants to add another one-game suspension.
The WPIAL has directed Apollo-Ridge to suspend Simon for tomorrow night’s game after he allegedly bumped an official in the game against Freeport two weeks ago.
In the game, the Apollo-Ridge coaching staff received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for violting the restricted coached area on the sideline. That penalty automatically goes to the head coach. Then Simon was hit was an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for coming onto the field to protest a no-call from an official. He also allegedly bumped an official.
Under PIAA rules, any coach or player ejected from a game is automatically ineligible for the next game.
Simon did not coach last Friday against Shady Side Academy. But after a hearing with Simon and game officials today, the WPIAL directed Apollo-Ridge to add another game suspension for bumping the official . The WPIAL also publicly censored Simon, put the Apollo-Ridge football team on probation the rest of the school year and directed the school to demand Simon attend a coaches education class. The probation means the football team can't do anything wrong the rest of the year, or will face stiff penalties.