Dan Haywood stood at the edge of the track at Peters Township High School following the Bentworth girls soccer team’s first-round WPIAL Class A playoff loss to Avonworth Oct. 20.
As each girl gathered their gear and prepared to leave, Haywood thanked each player before grabbing water bottles and soccer balls. After 27 years as girls varsity soccer coach, which included back-to-back state championship appearances at Charleroi, Haywood’s coaching stay had come to an end.
The longtime coach retired in late December and it did not take long for Bentworth athletic director George Linck to find Haywood’s replacement. In early February, Linck hired 27-year-old Tyler Hamstra, who worked as the Bearcats’ boys assistant coach for seven years. He is a 2006 graduate of Bentworth and played two seasons at Pitt-Greensburg.
“Tyler has been our boys’ assistant for quite a while,” Linck said. “He is well known within the community. He just has a good rapport with the kids. We’re hoping he’s going to be able to build some numbers and continue what Dan built.”
Roster numbers have been a constant issue for Bentworth’s girls program since its inception in 2006. Haywood took over just two weeks before the inaugural season and was forced to resurrect the youth leagues. Finding players might have been an issue, but winning was not. Haywood led the Bearcats to the WPIAL Class A playoffs the past four seasons and following that defeat to Avonworth, the longtime head coach expressed his concerns over next year’s team with only 10 underclassmen returning.
“Dan has put a lot of time in,” Linck said. “You get tired a little bit, and I don’t know what the exact reasoning was, but he has done as much as he really could. I think he probably thought it was time to pass it on to somebody else.”
When Hamstra took over as head coach, he immediately visited the middle school to find players and had a team meeting for high school athletes last week. His current roster sits at 17 – the same as last season. Despite having to scour Bentworth’s other athletic programs for potential talent, Hamstra is excited for the opportunity.
“I think we have a very good core of soccer players coming back,” Hamstra said. “That was the first step – to get a handful of athletes to surround them. The meeting looked really good. I’m very excited about the kids I have found.”
Being an assistant with the track program has helped. Hamstra has a familiarity with the kids and has already been hard at work asking girls to give soccer a try this fall. When Hamstra gathered his players last week, he joked about the nearly 40-year age difference between himself and Haywood.
“There are going to be a lot of things I can relate to them with, and I think that’s important,” Hamstra said. “I think athletes have changed. They really need someone to lead them and know what an athlete goes through every day.”
McMichael’s contract renewed: Two months after the Ringgold school board announced it would accept applications for its athletic director position, the group approved a new one-year contract for current AD, Ron McMichael. The board approved a one-year salary last week of $56,650 with the option for a second year, if he receives satisfactory evaluation at the end of the 2014-15 term.
McMichael, who is in his fourth year as the athletic director at Ringgold, is again tasked with finding a football coach after Matt Humbert left for Belle Vernon.
“It’s nice to know you are going to continue,” McMichael said. “You go through the process, and it has certainly had its ups and downs over the last couple of months, but I want to be here. It’s a place I want to be and where I want to work hard for the student athletes.”
Wash-Greene County All-Star Game
The Washington-Greene County All-Star Game, sponsored by the Rotary Club, will be played Friday at Washington High School.
In the girls game, which begins at 6:30 p.m., the red team will be coached by McGuffey’s Amanda Burchett and will include three Highlanders players: Samantha Chadwick, Cassie Weiss and Abby Pattison.
Joining them are India March and Andrea Sharp of Wash High; Kira Doaks and Allesha Thomas of Avella; and Trinity’s Brittney Ross.
The White Team will be coached by West Greene’s Jordan Watson and includes two Pioneer players: Madison and Alyssa Raber.
Joining them will be Chartiers-Houston’s Deja Wormsley and Addy Knetzer, Avella’s Kenna Drazich and Laura Craig; and Kerrilyn Wilkins of Waynesburg.
In the boys game, which immediately follows, the Red Team will be coached by Charleroi’s Bill Wiltz, who has three Cougars on his roster: Matt Indorante, Dakota Moorer and Ryan Konek.
The rest of the roster includes Avella’s Brandon Miller and Bill McKee; Waynesburg’s Wesley Bristor; Wash High’s Quorteze Levy and Dupree Jenkins, Carmichaels’ Brandon Lawless and Cory Fuller; and Ben Carlisle of West Greene.
The White Team, coached by Chartiers-Houston’s Eugene Briggs, features three Buccaneers: Miles Williamson, Kodie Hanley and Ben Shade. Also on the team are Eric Atwood and Derek Riggleman of Mapletown; Avery King of Trinity; Demetri Clements of California; Fort Cherry’s Nick Zando and Matt Heslin; Carmichaels’ Ty Aeschbacher; and Dayshore Majors of Ringgold.