A familiar face will be pacing the sidelines on football Friday nights for Bentworth High School.
Ron Skiles, who has made two previous coaching stops with the Bearcats and led them to their last playoff appearance in 2005, was hired at Tuesday night’s school board meeting for Round 3.
And he is just as excited as he was the first time he took the position.
“The program has always been close to my heart,” said Skiles, who is 70. “Bentworth gave me my first job, and I will never forget that. I want to give something back because I care about the school.”
Skiles was selected out of three candidates to replace Bob Niziol, who resigned so that he could help take care of his family’s newborn baby.
“He likes to coach. It didn’t take any persuasion,” said Bentworth athletic director George Linck. “He’s always had an interest in our program and other programs in the Mon Valley. A lot of people know him, and he’s well-liked.”
Skiles was a quarterback and running back before graduating from Bentworth in 1962. He served as assistant coach under Don Dinardo from 1973-76 and took over the program in 1981. He amassed a 53-26 record in eight seasons, highlighted by the Bearcats 10-0 team in 1984 that won the Tri-County South Conference.
Skiles came back for Round 2 in 2004 and stayed for four seasons, compiling a 13-26-1 record before resigning. He led the Bearcats to a wild 35-34 win over Mapletown in the Class A playoffs in 2005. The Bearcats were eliminated the following week by Duquesne, 48-7.
The Bearcats went 1-8 last season and 3-15 over the past two seasons. Skiles says the goal is to return to respectability and the playoffs.
“I want the program to be successful,” Skiles said. “I think we have the ingredients to show that when it comes to football. I expect to be competitive in Year 1, and challenge for a playoff spot in Year 2.”
Skiles was an assistant coach at Charleroi for two seasons (1998-99) and at Belle Vernon for three (2007-10).
Skiles splits his time, living in Belle Vernon and spending winters in Florida.
“That won’t be a problem,” said Skiles. “We’ve worked that all out. I’ll fly home next week and meet with the team.”
In between coaching stints, Skiles carved out a successful golf career. He was one of the top amateurs before spending time on the PGA and Champions tours. His best finish was an 11th-place effort at a Seniors tournament in Chicago in 1999.