New Castle News

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March 1, 2013

WPIAL Championship Game: We’ve got questions, and Blundo, Lafko have the answers

(Continued)

NEW CASTLE — JOE LAFKO

AGE: 47

EDUCATION: 1984 graduate of Frazier High School in Fayette County, starring in basketball and baseball. He remains the all-time leading basketball scorer there with 1,763 points. Went on to star in basketball at Westminster College, graduating in 1988 with a major in social studies and a minor in secondary education. He scored 1,239 points for the Titans.

MARRIED: Wife is Shannon Lafko

HOW DID YOU MEET YOUR WIFE?: “At Westminster College. It was actually a Sigma Nu fraternity house gathering.”

IS YOUR WIFE A FORMER ATHLETE? “She never played any sports. She owns a bakery, Perfect Pastry, in Allison Park.”

CHILDREN: Joey (15) and Jenna (13).

ARE YOUR KIDS FOLLOWING IN YOUR ATHLETIC FOOTSTEPS?: “Joey is a sophomore guard for Hampton and will be in the starting lineup Saturday against New Castle. Jenna’s also a basketball player. We have her in the Hampton basketball program, as well as AAU teams. I’m just happy for Joey. I’m happy for the success the team has had and him being able to be part of that team’s success.

 “I have to take the blame. They were both introduced to basketball at an early age. Both have traveled with me to practices and to summer league games from the time they were in diapers. Sometimes it wasn’t their choice, but they both have been around a gymnasium and basketball games since the time they were born.”

OCCUPATION: “When I’m not coaching, I’m a ninth- and 10th-grade social studies teacher. This is my 17th year at Hampton, and I’ve been a teacher for 23 years.

“Currently, we are studying world history, in the years between World War I and World War II. We just had a lesson on Gandhi and nonviolent civil disobedience.”

WHAT MADE YOU GET INTO COACHING?: “My father was a good influence. He was an assistant basketball coach for 23 years at Frazier High School then took over as head basketball coach the last 15 years. Like my kids, I was exposed to basketball at a very young age.”

HOBBIES: “My favorite hobby is trout fishing. I enjoy the spring-stocked trout season. Before basketball season, I fish for steelhead in the Erie tributaries. This started ever since I ended my basketball playing career. Playing three sports in high school (football, basketball and baseball) and playing college basketball and baseball, it didn’t provide me a lot of down time. When I ended my playing days, I really took a liking to the trout fishing with my brother, Matt.”

FAVORITE FOOD: Pizza. “I love to find the traditional pizza shops. In the Hampton area, my favorite is Milano’s Pizza. They have one down the street from the Palumbo Center. I really like to support the local and private businesses. There are too many to name.”

ON WHETHER HE’LL GO TO MILANO’S BEFORE THE GAME SATURDAY: “I don’t think so. I’ll be too busy and won’t have the time to do that.”

ROLE MODEL: “One of the guys who has made a substantial impact on my life is (former Westminster basketball coach) Ron Galbreath, in both the professions I have chosen, teaching as well as coaching. I’m very fortunate to play four years at Westminster for him. I can’t say enough about him as a man and as a person.”

PET PEEVE: “Students who do not come prepared for class. That’s a long-term pet peeve, having been involved in education for 22 years.

“My new one is students who try to use their cell phones during the school day for activities not involved in the educational process. Students are permitted to carry cell phones at Hampton, but for academic purposes only. It’s a big challenge because of social media.”

KIDS HE HAD TO REPRIMAND FOR USING THEIR PHONES TO GO ON FACEBOOK DURING CLASS YESTERDAY: Two

WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO WIN SATURDAY: “We have to make more baskets and defend against their ability to score. We need to limit their second and third opportunities to score by rebounding. We have to make some shots ourselves and make good decisions against their pressure.”

 

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