Greater Latrobe found a familiar, highly-regarded former standout for its girls’ tennis program, and, at the same time, said goodbye to a successful program coach.
The district, during Tuesday’s regular meeting, accepted the resignation of girls’ softball coach Rick Kozusko, and also hired former state champion Chad Kissell as its new girls’ head tennis coach, retroactive to July 1 at a salary of $2,835.
“When the name came in, I don’t think you can have a better name in this tennis community that resonates with tennis...and not just tennis, but successful tennis,” Greater Latrobe athletic director Mark Mears said. “I think any time you can tie your local community to this type of thing, where the community already knows that they are the tennis gurus, I think that brings validity.”
At Greater Latrobe, Kissell captured a state championship as a senior and finished fourth as a junior. He was a WPIAL champion as a senior, runner-up during his junior season and a four-time section champion.
Kissell, a 2015 graduate, was the first athlete in school history to earn 12 letters, including four in golf and tennis, three in basketball and one in diving. Older sisters Michaela, Joelle and Stacia were also synonymous with success at GL.
Kissell starred at Indiana-based Valparaiso University, earning multiple All-League honors. He was the Horizon League Freshman of the Year, First-Team All-Horizon League twice and All-Summit League Team. He’s top-10 in Valpo history in career singles’ and doubles’ wins.
Mears added that Kissell plans to be an assistant with the Greater Latrobe boys’ team.
“You’re bringing in a big-time Division I player with a background of a family of Division I players,” Mears said. “I don’t know that we could’ve found a better tennis coach. He’s young and his career can lead him anywhere, but for now, we have him at Latrobe.”
Mears touched on Kozusko’s success with the girls’ softball program.
“I think Rick did a great job with that program, if you look at the success and their playoff appearances and the numbers and how he guided them,” Mears said. “Rick is a guy who is a down-to-earth, old-school, blue-collar coach. He runs his team correctly and truly ran a year-round program.”
Kozusko went 38-21 in three seasons at Greater Latrobe. Last season, his team finished 12-7 and fell in the first round of the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs against Hampton.
In 2018, the Lady Wildcats were second to Hempfield Area in the section and WPIAL. Greater Latrobe qualified for the state playoffs, defeating Central Dauphin in the first round before falling to Nazareth Area in the quarterfinals.
In 2017, Greater Latrobe also finished second to Hempfield Area in the section and the WPIAL. The Lady Wildcats qualified for the state playoffs and lost to eventual state runner-up Chambersburg in the first round.
“I have nothing but great things to say about Rick and what he did for girls softball,” Mears said.
Mears added that the girls’ softball position is advertised.
“We have great facilities and a great program, historically,” Mears said. “We have a young team returning, so it’s not like the well is dry.
“I would guess we will get a lot of applicants from around the area. There’s a lot of softball talent in the WPIAL and especially Westmoreland County, so I’m curious to see who all does apply.”
Also on Tuesday the board approved:
Chad Krawcyzk as the junior varsity golf coach at $1,445.85; Allan Tustin as a volunteer football coach and Tom Kennedy as a volunteer soccer assistant.