This, that and the other thing in high school sports:
Dave Mislan resigned as boys basketball coach at Brentwood after this past season. But he wasn't out of a job for long.
This morning, South Fayette called Mislan and informed him that he is the school's new boys basketball coach. South Fayette did final interviews late into last night and Mislan had to go to bed not knowing if he had the position. He woke up to good news.
South Fayette is a good job. Rich Bonnaure built a strong program before walking away after 16 seasons. South Fayette also is a growing district and the school certainly has athletes, evidenced by its success in football.
Mislan was a logical choice for the position. He has head coaching experience and he lives in the South Fayette district. He has a son in eighth grade who plays basketball.
Mislan did a nice job at Brentwood, his alma mater. Sure, he had some not-so-successful seasons, but he often didn't have much talent to work with. In 11 seasons, he made the WPIAL playoffs six times. That's pretty decent for Brentwood's program. His record was 113-131, but should the record matter that much in this case? It wasn't like Mislan was blessed with great talent.
Under the new six classification system in the WPIAL next season, South Fayette will play in 4A. Look for Mislan and the Lions to have plenty of success in their section, which includes Belle Vernon, Elizabeth Forward, Keystone Oaks, McGuffey, South Park, Uniontown and Waynesburg. That isn't exactly a loaded section. South Fayette should do very well. There are only 23 teams in 4A and three sections. Section 2 is the loaded section with New Castle, Beaver Falls, Ambridge and Quaker Valley, among others.
Rise of Wolverine baseball
One of the biggest turnaround stories in WPIAL baseball this season has to be the Woodland Hills Wolverines. They haven't played many games (only eight), but they are certainly game for the playoffs.
Woodland Hills is 4-4 overall and 4-3 in Class AAAA Section 3. The Wolverines are in third place behind Shaler (6-1) and Fox Chapel (5-2). Three teams make the playoffs and Woodland Hills has a one-game lead over Kiski Area (3-4) and Central Catholic (3-4). Woodland Hills is sitting nice because it has defeated Central Catholic twice and Kiski Area once.
A record above .500 in section play is a big deal for Woodland Hills. The Wolverines were 2-8 and 1-9 in section play the past two seasons and have not finished above .500 in section or overall games since 2009, the last time they made the playoffs.
Since 2000, Woodland Hills has made the playoffs only three times and finished with a record above .500 three times - in 2000 (12-7), 2002 (11-8) and 2009 (13-6).
Fortson in Ohio HOF
Former Shaler basketball player Danny Fortson will be inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame May 21.
The Ohio HOF was started in 2004 to recognize individuals who made impacts on basketball in Ohio. Fortson played three years at the University of Cincinnati in the 1990s and was a first-team All-American in 1997. He went on to play 10 years in the NBA.
I'd say Fortson is the best player I've seen come out of the WPIAL in 25 years. DeJuan Blair came from the City League. Fortson was 6-7 and like a baby Moses Malone in the WPIAL. He transferred from Altoona to Shaler before his junior year but played only two games before he was ruled ineligible by the WPIAL and PIAA for transferring for athletic intent. He had a monster senior year at Shaler, though.
How good was Fortson? Well, remember this: He was a McDonald's All-American. That should tell enough. (Pictured is Dan Fortson and close Shaler friend, Justin Stright, holding up a framed Sports Illustrated cover of Fortson from his Cincinnati days. This was taken shortly before the 1997 NBA draft).
NFL draft and the WPIAL
Pitt receiver Tyler Boyd (Clairton graduate) will likely be the first former WPIAL player taken in this year's NFL draft. Boyd is projected to go in the first three rounds.
After Boyd, the next WPIAL player to be drafted will probably be West Virginia linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (Bethel Park graduate). Today's Post-Gazette has a story about Kwiatkoski and whether any other former WPIAL players fit into the NFL draft.
Check out the THEN and NOW photos of Kwiatkoski from his Bethel Park days to his West Virginia days. Just a little change, huh? He was a 190-some pound DB-WR-TB at Bethel Park. Now he's a 240-pound inside linebacker waiting for the draft.
(making a tackle on Central Catholic's Anthony Nixon)
(at West Virginia)