Longtime girls' basketball coach retires

Written by Mike White on .

De Porucnik was coaching girls' basketball before the WPIAL had girls' basketball. But Porucznik has coached her last game.

Porucznik has retired as Mount Alvernia's coach. You could call her the matriarch of WPIAL girls' coaches. This season was her 48th at the helm. She started coaching at the all-girls' school in Millvale in the early 1960s, which means she pre-dated WPIAL girls' basketball. The league didn't sponsor girls' basketball until the early 1970s. Mount Alvernia was one of the few schools to have a girls' team in the 1960s.

Known to just about everyone as "Coach De," Porucznik never liked media attention much. She never knew her career record, never knew how many titles she won and would never reveal her age. But I figure she had to have at least 800 wins in her career.

Although Porucznik had the title of coach, she didn't seem to do much coaching in recent years. Her assistants did it. She was sort of the Joe Paterno of girls' basketball.

But Porucznik had some terrific teams at Mount Alvernia. Her program was dominant in the 1980s, winning five WPIAL titles in a six-year span. Overall, Porucznik won eight WPIAL championships. Her first was in 1980 and her last was in 2008.

Her 1983 is held in high esteem. It is one of only two from the WPIAL to go through an entire season undefeated. The other was Mt. Lebanon in 2008-09. The '83 Mount Alvernia team, which also won a PIAA title, had two future Division I college players - Karen Hall and Maureen "Mo" Conley.

Porucznik said Orie Gentile will be Mount Alvernia's new coach. Porucznik plans to stay as athletic director, at least for now, but Hall, the star guard on the '83 team, will be an assistant AD.

For your halftime entertainment

High school football at Heinz Field in August? Yep. Just not "real" high school football.

Tomorrow night, two high school teams will play a short 7 on 7 game at halftime of the Steelers-Lions preseason game at Heinz Field.

Gateway will play Manheim Central in the 7 on 7 game. They earned the right to play at Heinz by winning their divisions in the Pennsylvania Passing League. This is the first year of the league, sponsored by the U.S. Army Harrisburg Recruiting Battalion. The Pennsylvania Passing League consisted of 32 teams that competed in two, 16-team tournaments. Gateway won the West division in June, and Manheim Central the East division in July.

Gateway and Manheim Central will not wear pads.


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