One year after having court named after him, longtime Pa. coach fired after 653 victories

(Greensburg) Tribune-Review (TNS)
  • (Pittsburgh) Central Catholic has fired its longtime boys' basketball coach.
  • Chuck Crummie was fired after 38 seasons at 653 career victories.
  • Last February, the school had named its basketball court after Crummie.

Chuck Crummie no longer coaches on Chuck Crummie Court.

The longtime (Pittsburgh) Central Catholic boys' basketball coach said he was fired on Monday, an unexpected exit for one of the WPIAL’s winningest coaches after more than four decades at the school.

Last February, Central Catholic named its basketball court after Crummie, who was head coach for 38 seasons and won 653 games. But in a brief meeting Monday afternoon, Crummie said, school administrators told him they wanted to take the basketball program in a different direction.

“I figured we were going to have some discourse and discussion,” said Crummie, who met with assistant principal Andrew Macurak and first-year athletic director Rick Capretta. “Are you going to retire? Do you want to do another year? What’s your plan? Unfortunately, before I even sat down, Andy said: ‘I’m just going to rip the Band-Aid off. We’re going in a different direction and you are out as coach.’”

Crummie retired from Central Catholic last year as athletic director and math teacher.

“I was really disappointed,” he said. “I don’t like to use the word hurt, but after being there 45 years? And the last part of the scenario is that the principal wasn’t there. He was out of town.

“I always prided myself as A.D., as a teacher and as a coach there, that we typically did things with a lot of class at Central Catholic. This was one of the most classless things I’ve seen in a long time.”

In a statement, Principal Tony Baginski said: “As of February 25, 2019, Mr. Chuck Crummie will no longer serve as Central Catholic’s head basketball coach. Per our policy, Central Catholic does not comment on personnel matters.

“I am grateful for Chuck Crummie’s many years of service at Central Catholic. As a teacher, athletic director, and head basketball coach, he had a positive impact on the lives of many of our students.”

Central Catholic won a WPIAL title in 2008 and was runner-up in 2012 and 1987. However, Crummie said it was mentioned during Monday’s meeting that the basketball program had only one playoff win since 2012.

The Vikings went 5-17 overall this season, 2-8 in Section 1-6A, and missed the playoffs for the fourth time in six years.

Crummie’s sons, Devin and Sean, were assistant coaches on his bench and remain educators at the high school.

“One of the things that I always cherished about Central Catholic was it wasn’t all about winning,” Crummie said. “Kids have got to go to class, they’ve got to be disciplined, you’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that, you’ve got to wear a tie. It was about the product that came out of Central Catholic and not just wins and losses. Since when did we turn into that?”