New Castle News

July 24, 2012

High School Baseball: Union coach steps down

Ron Poniewasz Jr.
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The search is on for a new baseball coach at Union High.

Gene DiGennaro, who coached the Scotties for eight seasons, has resigned. He cited personal and family reasons.

“It was a tough decision,” DiGennaro said. “I really enjoy teaching the game of baseball. But more importantly, I enjoy teaching the game of life through baseball.

“I really enjoy coaching. It was a process of a couple of months and I thought it was time to leave.”

DiGennaro, a son of Gene and Marlene DiGennaro, compiled an 83-69 record during his tenure. The Scotties reached the WPIAL playoffs five times, posting a 6-7 mark.

DiGennaro is a 1995 New Castle graduate. He played one year of college ball at Pitt before transferring to Slippery Rock, graduating in 2001. He is a physical education teacher at Union.

Union won the WPIAL Section 3-A title in 2005, DiGennaro’s first season at the helm. The Scotties finished 20-3 that season, including 14-0 in the section. They lost in the WPIAL semifinals to Carmichaels, but topped California in the consolation game to reach the state playoffs.

“It was a good eight years and I thought we built a consistently strong program,” DiGennaro said. “It was all about dedication and determination, because it’s all about the kids. They put forth the effort.

“The coaching staff and I stressed the importance of being an outstanding individual and they all bought into that.”

Union’s deepest trip in the postseason after 2005 under DiGennaro’s direction came in 2008. The Scotties lost in the WPIAL consolation round to Serra Catholic.

Union was ousted in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs this year by Vincentian Academy.

“Gene is an excellent baseball man. He knows the game of baseball,” Union athletic director Bob Natale said. “I hope for someone’s sake he gets back into baseball because he belongs there.”

Natale said the school would like to find a new baseball coach by the time school starts up in the fall.

DiGennaro and his wife Michelle have a daughter Mikayla, who is age 2. The couple are expecting another daughter in October.

“Right now, am I done coaching? Yes. But in the future? No,” DiGennaro said. “I really enjoy coaching and working with kids.

“Baseball has treated me well. If there is an opportunity down the line and it’s convenient, I won’t rule it out. I just enjoy the game too much. I will always support Union.”