Quartet of WPIAL Coaches Named 2020-21 PIAA/NFHS Coach of the Year
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Pittsburgh, Pa. – Four Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) head coaches received recognition from the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) and National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) on Wednesday as they received the 2020-21 PIAA/NFHS Coach of the Year for their respective sports.
Central Valley’s Mark Lyons, Seneca Valley’s George Williams, North Hills’ Libby Gasior, and New Castle’s Bill Cook all earned the honors. A total of 23 coaches were recognized across their respective sports.
Lyons, the head coach of the Central Valley football team, led the Warriors to their first PIAA 3A championship in 2020. Central Valley went 12-0 on the season, capturing the WPIAL crown with a 35-0 victory over Elizabeth Forward, then claimed state glory with a 35-21 triumph over Wyomissing. He has been at Central Valley since the merger of Monaca and Center High Schools in 2010, leading the program to six conference titles, six WPIAL Championship appearances with four wins, and three PIAA Championship berths. In 2020, the Warriors outscored opponents by a 601-118 margin.
Williams, the head coach of the Seneca Valley boys’ soccer team, guided the Raiders to their first PIAA 4A championship in 2020. Seneca Valley won its final 14 contests, finishing 17-1-1 overall while claiming Section, WPIAL, and PIAA gold. The Raiders came back to defeat Peters Township in overtime of the WPIAL 4A Championship, 4-3, and won the PIAA crown with a 2-1 double-overtime victory over Neshaminy. Williams’ team has made 13 consecutive WPIAL playoffs, won seven of the last eight section titles, and claimed two of the last three WPIAL crowns. The 2020 Raiders broke school records for goals (74), assists (84), overall record, and highest national ranking (No. 11).
Gasior, the head coach of the North Hills softball team, led the Indians to their first WPIAL championship since 2000 in 2021. North Hills claimed the WPIAL 5A crown as the No. 8 seed in the tournament, with Gasior – a member of the 2000 championship squad as a player – guiding the team to wins over Trinity, top-seeded Penn Trafford, and Chartiers Valley before a 12-2 five-inning win over Armstrong in the title tilt. North Hills posted an 18-6 overall record and ultimately advanced to the PIAA 5A semifinals before its season came to an end.
Cook, the head coach of the New Castle baseball team, guided the Hurricanes to their first WPIAL and PIAA 4A championship in 2021. Falling to 9-9 after back-to-back losses, New Castle won their final nine contests to collect WPIAL and PIAA gold. Cook’s squad topped Indiana, West Mifflin, and Blackhawk to advance to the WPIAL 4A championship game, then blanked Montour, 5-0, to win the WPIAL crown. The Hurricanes experienced no drop-off at the PIAA level, topping Harbor Creek, Eastern York, and Montour again, before defeating Wyoming Area, 7-3, to win the state title.
The WPIAL – which represents PIAA District VII – was one of four PIAA districts who produced multiple Coach of the Year recipients, joining District I (5), District IV (7), and District X (2).