Nick Milchovich visited Ringgold High School for a non-conference game in August 2008 as the head coach of Peters Township and he received a warm reception as his father-in-law, Dr. Dimitri Petro, has been the longtime team physician for the Rams.
Milchovich and Petro will be reunited on the sidelines this fall, but this time, the father-in-law will be overseeing the health of Milchovich’s players. The 41-year-old former head coach at Peters Township, Charleroi and California was officially named head coach of Ringgold’s football program Thursday night.
Milchovich, who has a career record of 37-47 and led his teams to the WPIAL playoffs three times in nine seasons, separated himself from more than 30 applicants who vied to take over for Matt Humbert.
Expectations will be lofty for Milchovich this fall with the Rams returning quarterback Nico Law, who completed 93 of 180 passes for 1,494 yards and 14 touchdowns last year. He also rushed 116 times for 1,110 yards and 15 touchdowns.
“There are high expectations going into this season, but every situation in coaching is unique when you take over,” Milchovich said. “This is a different situation with a different set of kids. It’s a good situation. There are definitely expectations that we are going to try to meet and exceed.”
Milchovich was not retained after four seasons at Peters Township, where he still works as a math teacher. While Milchovich was disappointed to not lead the Indians past the first round of the playoffs, an unexpected addition to his family made the free time invaluable. The Milchovichs’ second child was born in 2011.
For the past three years, Milchovich has undertaken a different coaching job. When the Ringgold position was opened, he had to ask his wife before applying for the job.
“I have to ask my wife for permission to do anything,” Milchovich joked. “Having my job opened at Peters was a blessing in disguise. I’ve been doing my most-important coaching job for the past three years and that’s helping with my son and my daughter. It got to the point where I started to get the itch again and looking around at various opportunities. Ringgold is very close to my house, it’s a neighboring school district and it was an ideal situation.”
When Humbert unexpectedly left to take the head coaching job at rival Belle Vernon, Ringgold athletic director Ron McMichael knew he would have many candidates to choose from. He just didn’t expect such an overwhelming response from coaches trying to lead Joe Montana’s alma mater. After narrowing the search to three finalists following Monday’s initial interviews, Milchovich stood out as an ideal fit and was contacted Thursday morning with the job offer.
“He’s been successful,” McMichael said. “He’s changed programs. He’s taken programs that have not been traditionally successful and taken them to the next level. That’s certainly was very good.”
Milchovich, who lives in Venetia and is a graduate of Charleroi High School, will spend the next few days assembling a coaching staff, watching video of the Rams’ games from last season and plans to gather his team today to introduce himself. As he hopes to keep Ringgold’s streak of four-straight WPIAL playoff appearances alive, he joked with Dr. Petro, who is the district’s longest tenured employee at 50 years, that he is the Rams’ 17th football coach during that time.
“It’s exciting, especially from what I see and read about the kids we have coming back,” Milchovich said. “They have some talent coming back. In my other travels, that wasn’t always the case. I was always starting from ground zero. I have a lot of respect for Matt Humbert and the job he’s done. We’re looking to build on that.”