Mohawk High hires Moncrief as girls basketball head coach

Ron Moncrief

The Mohawk High girls basketball program hired a coach with quite a championship pedigree.

Ron Moncrief was tabbed as Mike O’Lare’s successor for the girls basketball program. Moncrief is a former Vincentian Academy and Nazareth Prep girls basketball head coach.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to coach at a school like Mohawk,” Moncrief said. “The program has a rich tradition. We will have the opportunity with the players we have to keep the tradition going.”

O’Lare stepped down last month to take over as the Mohawk boys head coach. O’Lare directed Mohawk’s girls to a second consecutive WPIAL championship this season.

“I was shocked to see it was open due to Coach O’Lare’s success,” Moncrief said. “He’s been there and established the program.

“When it was open, I decided to put my name in the mix and see what happens; it’s one of the better jobs around.”

The Lady Warriors will welcome back just one starter — Jordan Radzyminski, the team’s only senior next year.

Moncrief, who is 40 and a 1999 graduate of Arkansas City High School, in Arkansas City, Kansas, coached 14 seasons at Vincentian Academy before the school closed in 2020. He guided the Lady Royals to seven WPIAL championships along with two PIAA crowns. Moncrief won over 300 games in that span.

“We will try to continue to bring that same passion from the past,” Moncrief said. “With the girls we have at Mohawk, it’s a great match.

“With my experience as a coach and the girls’ dedication and drive on the court and off the court, it’s the perfect match.”

In the 2020-2021 campaign, Moncrief was the head coach at Nazareth Prep. The Lady Saints aren’t a member of the WPIAL and played just three games, posting a 2-1 mark.

Moncrief’s seven titles ranks him fifth all-time in girls basketball championships behind North Catholic’s Don Barth (11), North Catholic’s Molly Rottmann (9), Penn Hills’ Bill Lind (8) and Mount Alvernia’s De Porucznik (8).

In addition to coaching at Vincentian Academy, Moncrief was the school’s athletic director before it closed. He served in the same capacity at St. Joseph, and he will continue in that role at St. Joseph.

“That’s something I’ve been doing for a while now, balancing AD and coach,” Moncrief said. 

Moncrief has already introduced himself to his new team.

“I have met the team already and my first duty as coach is to earn their trust,” Moncrief said. “We’re working toward the same goal and that’s being successful on the court and off the court.”

Coaching at a public school will be a new challenge for Moncrief and his staff.

“I’m very excited at the opportunity to coach at a public school,” he said. “It allows you to coach with them at a younger age and build a relationship at a younger age.

“With any job you have, the pressure is to continue to win. The section is tough that Mohawk is in. That will be the biggest challenge. You have to develop your kids.”

O’Lare coached the Lady Warriors for 15 seasons before taking over as Mohawk’s boys coach.

Mohawk’s school board opened the boys position that was held by Nick Marmo after Marmo posted a 21-111 record in six years. 

A health and physical education at Mohawk, O’Lare guided the girls program to WPIAL Class 3A championships each of the past two seasons. The Lady Warriors also advanced to the PIAA championship game this year for the first time in program history, falling to Philadelphia West Catholic, 67-56.

O’Lare was 229-127 and his teams reached the WPIAL playoffs 13 times.

rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com

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Sports Writer

Ron Poniewasz Jr. is a sports writer at the New Castle News. Email him at rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com.

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