Ravenstahl retires as North Catholic's football coach

Written by Mike White on .

Bob Ravenstahl guided Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic to WPIAL and PIAA football titles only a year ago, but he has decided his coaching days are over.

Bob RavenstahlRavenstahl has retired after nine seasons, said North Catholic athletic director Mike Burrell. Ravenstahl, father of former Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, had a 74-30 record in nine years, including a 36-4 mark the past three seasons. His teams last year and this year had a 27-game winning streak, seventh-longest in WPIAL history.

Ravenstahl graduated from North Catholic in 1972, but did not play football at the school. He was an assistant for a while before taking over as head coach in 2006.

It will be interesting to see who North Catholic hires to take over for Ravenstahl. Is there someone on Ravenstahl's staff? Or will North Catholic look elsewhere? With a new school now built in Cranberry and with enrollment growing, the job might attract some interesting candidates.


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A few extra quotes on Narduzzi

Written by Sam Werner on .

In case you missed it today, I wrote about what Michigan State players had to say about their soon-to-be-former defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi. Overall, they had nothing but good things to say about him and, mostly, focused on his intensity both in practice and on game day. Here are a couple of extra quotes from Michigan State safety Kurtis Drummond on Narduzzi...

On what traits stand out most about Narduzzi: "His passion and the way he cares about people. His love for the game. He truly cares about you as an individual. He wants to see you succeed, not only on the field but off the field. It's not just strictly business for him. He wants to know how you're doing, know about your personal life. He actually will hold a normal conversation with you. He's a great person."

On how Narduzzi's intensity affects the team: "You need a guy like that. He's a guy that's always going to keep you uplifted, let you know when you're doing bad, but also let you know when you're doing good, too. He's not going to sugar-coat things. He's a great guy."

On Narduzzi's press-quarters defensive system: "It benefits us just because it allows us to be aggressive. We're not sitting back, just being passive, letting things happen. We're trying to go out there and make plays, make things happen ourselves. It's a fun defensive to play in. It allows you to make a lot of plays, it allows you to have fun, allows you to fly to the ball."

On Narduzzi's ability to build a defense over time: "You just see his consistency. The way he coaches, he never changes. You see him being optimistic about things, his confidence. It trickles down to the team. When you see a guy at the head so confident and really understanding what's going on and wanting to see you succeed with passion, it trickles down throughout the team."


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Empty Netter Assists - 12-31-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-The Penguins are sort of, kind of, maybe getting a little bit healthy. Brian Dumoulin and Dominik Uher were assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

-“We Nova Scotians stick together and those are a couple good guys to have on my side.”  - Zach Sill on playing with Sidney Crosby and for Mike Johnston. All three are natives of Nova Scotia.

-The Penguins had a request to change the time for Saturday's home game against the Canadiens denied. The Penguins wanted to avoid a conflict with Saturday's Steelers' playoff game against the Ravens.

-Beau Bennett speaks:

-Mike Johnston speaks:

-Paul Martin speaks:

-Christian Ehrhoff speaks:

-Sidney Crosby speaks:

-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins defenseman Reid McNeill is dealing with an illness.

-Former Penguins forward Janne Pesonen has joined Skellefteåof Sweden's SHL.

-Happy 60th birthday to former Penguins forward Terry Ruskowski. A free agent signing prior to the 1985-86 season, Ruskowski spent two seasons with the Penguins. In 1985-86, Ruskowski played in 73 games and scored 63 points. He followed that up in 1986-87 by appearing in 78 contests and contributing 51 points. During the 1987 offseason, he joined the Minnesota North Stars as a free agent. In 143 regular season games with the Penguns, Ruskowski scored 114 points, 73rd-most in franchise history.

-Happy 37th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Dan Focht. Acquired at the 2003 trade deadline along with Ramzi Abid and Guillaume Lefebvre in exchange for Jan Hrdina and Francois Leroux, Focht spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. He finished 2002-03 by appearing in 12 games for the Penguins and recorded three assists. In 2003-04, Focht appeared in 52 games and scored five points. Following the 2004-05 lockout, Focht joined the Panthers as a free agent.

-Happy 66th birthday to former Penguins forward Rene Robert. Claimed from the Sabres during the 1971 offseason in an intra-league draft, Robert's Penguins' career amounted to 49 games and 18 points in 1971-72. Late in the 1971-72 season, Robert was traded to the Sabres in exchange for Eddie Shack. Robert became an all-star with the Sabres as part of the famed "French Connection line with Rick Martin and Gilbert Perreault.

-Happy 67rd birthday to former Penguins forward Nelson Debenedet. Acquired in the 1974 offseason in a trade which sent Hank Nowak and a draft pick to the Red Wings, DeBenedet's Penguins' career amounted to 31 games and nine points during the 1974-75 season. He was released in the 1975 offseason. Debenedet is one of three native Italians who have played in the NHL.

-Happy 59th birthday to former Penguins forward Gary McAdam (right). Acquired midway through the 1978-79 season in a trad which sent Dave Schultz to the Sabres, McAdam spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. He finished 1978-79 by appearing in 28 games and scoring 14 points for the Penguins. In the 1979 postseason, he played in seven games and scored three points. He followed that up in 1979-80 by playing in 78 games and scoring 41 points. That spring's postseason saw him appear in five games and score three points. After 34 games and 12 points in 1980-81, McAdam was traded to the Red Wings in exchange for Errol Thompson. In 140 regular season games with the Penguins, McAdam scored 67 points. In 12 postseason games, he contributed six points.

-Happy 59th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Lex Hudson. A 12th-round pick in 1978-79, Hudson's entire Penguins and NHL career amounted to two games and no points in 1978-79. He was released in 1979.

-Happy 22nd birthday to former Penguins forward Dominik Uher. A fifth-round pick in 2011, Uher made his NHL debut this season and has played in two games with no points.

-After the Jump: Nick Bjugstad gets paid.

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Narduzzi updates staff search (plus other notes)

Written by Sam Werner on .

FORT WORTH, Texas — I caught up with Pat Narduzzi briefly at Michigan State's Cotton Bowl media availability today, and he said that while his focus over the past few days has been primarily on the Spartans' defensive gameplan for Baylor, he has spent his spare time getting ready to step into the Pitt head coaching role full-time.

In terms of the coaching staff, Narduzzi has had some phone calls with various candidates, but said he wants to meet with the current Pitt staff before he gets too far into the process. That won't happen until after Pitt's bowl game Jan. 2, since Narduzzi wants to be respectful of this team and their process leading up to the game.

"I don't think that's fair to do to the kids," Narduzzi said. "It comes down to the kids, because if the coaches kind of know their fate, then maybe they coach like they know their fate. I want to keep everybody locked in and have an opportunity to talk to people."

Rest assured, though. He has been calling every committed Pitt recruit, as well as a few new targets. Since it's a dead period, though, he can only call each prospect once a week, which sort of limits just how much he can dive into recruiting. I will say, though, just based on my conversation with him, that recruiting is really something that Narduzzi is excited about. Granted, he seems excited about most things, but it's clear he understands how important it is and really does seem to enjoy the recruiting process.

Here are a few other notes from today...

- Pitt safety Ray Vinopal had some fun during the team's press conference today when he said that Narduzzi's "going to do a great job, even though he's a Ursuline guy." Cardinal Mooney and Ursuline High School are two big rivals in Youngstown, Ohio. Vinopal went to Cardinal Mooney, and Narduzzi went to Ursuline. Vinopal said Narduzzi even took a playful shot at Cardinal Mooney when he met Vinopal for the first time Friday night. When someone noted that Narduzzi had a big win over Cardinal Mooney his senior year of high school, Vinopal shot back "yeah, one time" and noted that he was 3-1 against Ursuline in his high school career.
"We all know who owns the series," he said.
Despite the rivalry, there is a bond amongst the Youngstown football community that Vinopal and Narduzzi share.
"It's old-school, tough, disciplined, accountable, smart football," Vinopal said. "People back home take it real seriously. It's important to them and whatever they're doing, they pride themselves on it."

- Defensive coordinator Matt House said he's not worrying about his job status right now. That's something that'll come after the bowl game's over.
"Just like the kids, I'm a competitor, too," House said. "And I want to go out winning our last game. It's a hell of a lot different finishing 7-6 than 6-7. The only thing we're worrying about is [the bowl game] January 2nd."

- House also had an interesting comment when he said Pitt could play a decent amount of dime defense against Houston Friday. A true dime package with six defensive backs (assuming Terrish Webb and Ryan Lewis don't play, apparently both are questionable) would be Lafayette Pitts, Avonte Maddox at cornerback, Patrick Amara and Ray Vinopal at nickel and Reggie Mitchell and Jevonte Pitts as the extra DBs. When I noted to House that that alignment would involve just about all of Pitt's healthy defensive backs, he responded "You never know, we might pull something out." So I don't know if House has something up his sleeve in (most likely) his final game at Pitt, or if he was just joking with me. We'll find out.

- Quarterback Chad Voytik gave us his initial impressions of Narduzzi today: "I think he's going to be an intense coach. I've heard from other guys who know guys that have played under him [and they've said] he's going to push you and bring intensity. I think he showed that a little bit in our meeting."

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Yearbook Awkwardness: Ben vs. Flacco

Written by Dan Gigler on .

The gem below, which surfaced in the comments section of a Gawker thread today about celebrities-in-your-high-school-yearbook, depicts a 10th grade Prince Valium -- err, Joe Flacco -- looking every bit as excitable as he is today (quite literally as the photo on the right was taken by PG reporter Audrey Snyder at a Ravens press conference this afternoon):

flacco then now 

To be fair, underclassman Big Ben doesn't exactly scream 'field general' but jeeze, at least he can smile. 

ben HS

His senior picture is less geeky. Then again, maybe not

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