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July 9, 2012

Gateway’s Looming Self-Destruct

Filed under: Football,The 'Burgh — Chas @ 8:20 am

I didn’t grow up in Western Pennsylvania. The WPIAL doesn’t hold any special meaning for me, other than being a vital part of Pitt recruiting. So I don’t stay up on all the intrigue and battles over transfers within the league. I would have no idea who coaches which teams if someone asked. But from the very beginning of this blog, there has been one exception. One coach and one program that even I kept some glimmer of awareness. Gateway and Terry Smith.

Smith and Gateway were very successful on the field. More importantly to this site, he would regularly turn out not just Division 1 recruits, but highly sought D-1 recruits. And while Smith was a former Penn State wide receiver, he was always looking out for his own players interests. Not trying to steer them to PSU or away from Pitt.

So to see tweet  late yesterday night that Smith could be fired from Gateway was a stunner.


It is a month or so before practices begin for high school football. The idea that Gateway would wait until now to make a move is unbelievable.

As at most schools, there are budget issues at Gateway that seem to be the primary issue.

The Gateway School District has been struggling with declining enrollment, rising employee costs and loss of state revenue.

In all, 15 elementary school classrooms and 27 teaching positions will be eliminated. The district will also adopt a pay-to-play sports program for the middle and high schools.

The athletic director’s position was also reduced to part-time. That decision that will likely mean Terry Smith, who is also the school’s football coach, will leave the district.

Terry Smith is the school’s athletic director. Last year he made around $95,000 in the position plus an additional $10,000 as the football coach. His salary would be roughly halved as a part-time AD. There aren’t many quad-A schools with only a part-time AD.

While Smith hasn’t said anything publicly about the situation, there have already been charges of racism in the decisionmaking. That always keeps things calm.

No one is sure what the outcome will be. At this late  date, Smith would be unlikely to find a new job for the upcoming year. So maybe he finishes this final season. At the very least, because of the kids. That is if the school board decides to keep him at all after Wednesday. There is a question that his presence might be considered too much of a lightening rod for for the school. But that would also have them scrambling to find a coach (and even a part-time AD) for the coming year.

After the season, there is no doubt he would be highly sought by other schools in the WPIAL. Or even as a college assistant. He’s no doubt had the opportunities.

One way or another, it looks like there is a major shift happening in the WPIAL.

$95,000 a year for an Athletic Director?! Outrageous. Its no wonder these high schools are falling short on their budgets. The priorities are so out of whack.

Comment by JCE 07.09.12 @ 8:56 am

The AD pay seems a bit high, but then look at what he gets for coaching football — and packing a 10,000 seat stadium. It seems obvious that there is a bit of extra compensation on the AD salary for the low football salary.

Yes, there is a good case that the schools have a bad set of priorities, but for Terry Smith, the salary is about right. He could easily get that kind of money as a D-1A assistant. And he would be in demand given his ability to coach, ties to the WPIAL and how well he has gotten players to transfer to Gateway.

Comment by Chas 07.09.12 @ 9:10 am

I agree.

Comment by wbb 07.09.12 @ 9:09 am

I am neither a Terry Smith supporter or detractor but the fact is I think the position should be a full-time position without a doubt. I think it is a shame that they voted against a resolution to put $57,000 into the budget to keep the position as such. Whether or not that position is filled by Terry Smith, some other black person, a white person, an Asian or homeless person has no bearing.

The fact that they are trying to make this a race issue is absurd! There were close to 40 people who lost their jobs, the majority of which were white! They are pointing to the fact that Terry & one other person are the only 2 black administrators and are the only 2 being let go is why it is racist. How many of the other 38 people losing their jobs are also black though? At least a few I am sure.

This is a personal vendetta between the Terry Smith supporters against the School Board. For every story I have heard of how good he was for the kids and their scholarships I have heard one for how bad he was for other kids in other sports outside of football.

Comment by Tony 07.09.12 @ 9:18 am


NOTHING involving a black person and a white person in this country can happen without someone crying racism.

If the black dude gets screwed, black people will say it was racist. If the white dude gets screwed, some white people will cry reverse racism.

It’s ridiculous.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's My Dad 07.09.12 @ 9:49 am

Chas– I understand his value as a football coach. My perspective is that football is an EXTRAcurricular activity. There is no state law requiring a school to have a football program. So when so much tax payer money is thrown at it by these schools in the form of coaching salaries and state of the art stadiums– especially at the possible expense of other curriculum like art, music, or FCS I find it maddening and bordering on fiscal irresponsibility. I think Gateway has taken the correct step here. If its not the correct step for Terry Smith he should “take his talents to South Beach…”

Comment by JCE 07.09.12 @ 9:55 am

Actually, I am quite sure that $10,000 per year is one of the more elaborate salaries in the WPIAL .. and I’ll guarantee that $95k is very high. I am friends with an AD at a very affluent school in the southern suburbs, and while I don’t know his exact salary, I know it isn’t cloe to $95k.

Comment by wbb 07.09.12 @ 9:58 am

what is the number of commits pitt can give out this year.

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.09.12 @ 10:00 am

Schools need to get their priorities straight. No AD or coach is worth that kind of money given the lack of state funds today in this economy. If a coach wants to make that kind of money, join the college ranks.

Comment by TX Panther 07.09.12 @ 10:04 am

Anyone who plays the race card should immediately lose all credibility and have their freedom of speech right revoked for a 1 year period, only being allowed to say “I’m a tumor, I’m a tumor.” during that time.

Comment by Hurriquake 07.09.12 @ 10:07 am

Race card $95k who gives a fuck we are off target this is a pitt site not a site to solve the budgets and as far as race pitt men and ladys are just that pitt lovers not white or black
let us get back on to all things pitt and off this quicksand.

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.09.12 @ 10:24 am

Did Terry Smith steer recruits Pitt’s way? Was he balanced in his approach despite being a former Nitter?

Comment by TX Panther 07.09.12 @ 10:34 am

@FRANKCAN, man, I think you want to hit the field running!!! Gotta give you credit, you’re definitely all about the team, all the time!!!

Don’t worry, camp isn’t that far off now.

I don’t like to wish summer away for everyone, but other than a vacation at the sure, I’m not that big on summer. Especially when it’s over 90 degrees, or 100 lately.

No, I don’t like January or February either, but, sticky hot ain’t my bag either!!!

It’s coming Frank!!

Comment by Dan 07.09.12 @ 10:45 am

His stepson attended pitt and returned punts

Comment by wbb 07.09.12 @ 10:46 am

Vacation at the “sure”!!! Ha ha, I’m a moron!!
Shore, obviously.

Comment by Dan 07.09.12 @ 10:52 am

TX Panther, not only did Smith’s stepson choose Pitt, he also turned down an offer from PSU according to Pantherlair

link to

Comment by wbb 07.09.12 @ 11:06 am

Dan you are the man .
It is just that politics and race are not for this site to go there is to walk in quicksand
how mutch the AD at pitt makes is fair game.
or should we have a tail gate site .
but not race or politics.

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.09.12 @ 11:25 am

Dan or Wbb we have given out 13 commitments do you know how many more we can give is it 10 more or less than that would like the info thanks.

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.09.12 @ 11:34 am

PFT reporting Dion Lewis was arrested for pulling a fire alarm at a hotel. I imagine he’s going to get hammered in the press for this one.

Comment by Greg in New Orleans 07.09.12 @ 11:50 am

Some info for you all over the last 8 years from 2004 to 2011 i checked the number of nfl draft picks in round one and two from PITT and penn state pitt had 4 first round picks and penn state 4 but pitt had 4 second round picks and penn state just 2 so in the last 8 years pitt has had more high nfl draft picks then penn state.

that could be used as a recruiting tool.

first round for pitt larry fitzgerald
darrelle revis
jonathan bldwin
jeff otah

second round kris wilson
lesean mccoy
jabaal sheard
shawntae spencer

who from penn state is irrelvent .

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.09.12 @ 12:47 pm

is this the place I come to ask what is appropriate with respect to teasing my PSU alum friends?

Everytime they post a PSU related pic, they often caption it “we are.” and I want to complete that with obvious jokes begging to be made. where’s the line? “Pedophiles”, “Enablers”, or just leave it be? I really feel urge to taunt them as the ysomehow persist to be an obnoxiously proud fanbase despite everything.

Comment by PantherP 07.09.12 @ 1:20 pm

PantherP… be merciless my friend…

Comment by Big Bill 07.09.12 @ 1:36 pm

PantherP pedophil u would be nice give them hell.

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.09.12 @ 1:41 pm

@PantherP, Ped State seems to be popular.

Comment by Dan 07.09.12 @ 3:21 pm

I think some background information related to the school funding is in order. During the Ed $pendell Administration, certain school districts in Pennsylvania – and to be fair, this went on in other states – were the recipients of extra funding due to the “stimulus” bill signed by the President. Governor $pendell frequently wanted tax increases in part to give the school districts more money. These proposals always went nowhere.

After Tom Corbett was elected, his Education Department warned the PA school districts that the stimulus money would not be replaced and that more money was not coming. Gateway is in Monroeville. Monroeville has been rather hard hit by the recession. There are a LOT of empty commercial buildings in Monroeville. Six years ago, Monroeville was doing fine. Not to mention, the new hospital, UPMC East, is not eligible to be taxed, as UPMC is a tax exempt organization (yeah, right).

However, it seems most of the other large Pittsburgh area school districts have not been as hard hit.

Comment by Penguins Fan 07.09.12 @ 4:24 pm

We Are, State Penn….

I would photoshop some nice bright orange uniforms or some blue pin stripes with a seven digit number instead of the basic one or two on a jersey. Just some suggestions.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 07.09.12 @ 6:48 pm

dhuffdaddy very good ha ha

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.09.12 @ 7:04 pm

The Gateway situation is absurd. The NAACP was at the schoolboard meeting. I can not believe this had any racial tones at all. The proper solution to the AD position is to combine it with an assistant principal job, my understanding is that the coach does not have the credentials to fill that type slot.
It was also never mentioned that the field had just replaced at a significant cost. Perhaps a delay in that or a repair could have left enough in the budget to retain a full time AD.
There were cuts made that impacted educational issues severly that night as well, Gateway once was a Blue Ribbon District and has fallen from that position, we should care more about that than the impact on athletic dept. cuts.

Comment by Jimbo 07.09.12 @ 8:11 pm

Parents base home purchases based on school districts for their children to have more/better opportunities. So a kid transferring for a better opportunity to get an athletic scholarship is wrong?

Not in my world.

Believe it or not, some parents view drama, voice, etc… lime some parents view sports. Anyone stopping them from transferring? Nyet!

Lots of kids move to my school district to live with their aunts. So what. A kid is supposed to stay poor.

I wasn’t born and raised here either, but the view I have of the WPIAL governing body is as follows. Male, stale and pale.

Comment by SFPitt 07.09.12 @ 8:26 pm

Ten years ago PA legislators wanted to give themselves a huge pension increase, to take effect ten years hence (now). They gave this to all state employees, including teachers, as cover. Local school districts do not have the money for this, and will have a hard time raising taxes in this economy. Hence the cutbacks in what many perceive to be non-essential costs.

Comment by 66Goat 07.09.12 @ 10:23 pm

I know for some reason you all dont want to talk abought it football or basketball but i do.
i went over the whole team and adding in last years recruits i can say we need DT and LB the most not OL men.

we have only 4 DT on the team if you count the one
that commited this year the one who went to prep school then it is 5 no depth at all.

LB not counting SR we have 8 that is with the 2 we signed last year this year we have signed none.

OL men not counting SR we have 12 and will have for two years counting the commits that have not signed yet we have 14.

Comment by FRANKCAN 07.09.12 @ 10:25 pm

What is your problem, FRANK? What is wrong with some dialogue about this post’s subject matter — which is the Gateway school district, its Athletic Director/Football Coach, and the issues related to such. Seems to me you are the one further out of line here, demanding that the conversation be steered back to what you want to talk about, even though it is technically off topic to this post. The thing is, plenty of people would be willing to talk to you about it even without the extra jabs thrown in.

People here give you a lot of leeway with your absolutely horrendous typing, grammer, and complete lack of punctuation. I myself tend to skim past your comments the majority of the time because they make my eyes cross. But I still recognize your right to post them. You should do the same. You see something you don’t want to read……skim on by…..

Comment by JCE 07.10.12 @ 12:21 am

The fact is people use racism because it’s one of two options. The other is a personal vendetta. The District is not starving for money, it has been sitting on 6 million dollars in an emergency fund collecting interest fro the past few year. The will not touch that for $57,000. To my knowledge, he was not asked to take a pay cut. Part time for Quad A Sports. Only Central Catholic has a Part Time AD and they only have men’s sports. Him not being able to Coach this year has nothing to do with the budget, it’s not like another coach (Ruane from PT) will not be hired once the vote is done. Those outside of Monroeville, don’t know all that’s going on. The board assumed he’d run when they attempted to force him out with a part time position, however he stayed. Now they are saying, if he stay AD, he can’t coach, why? He has been successful at both, doing both full time. Why would he not be capable while being an AD part time? Someone give me one rational reason why, he can’t do both as he has been doing. If he was doing something not appropriate, he would have been fired, for the focus of a modern day witch hunt. Deny racism of not, it something more then money.

Comment by ernaburn 07.11.12 @ 8:07 am

Ruane is a former assistant under Coach Smith, now coaching at Penn Trafford. Mark my words, he will be the new Coach and AD in the near future. I said it first.

Comment by ernaburn 07.11.12 @ 8:11 am

Plum averages 2.5 wins a season and we only have two full time AD’s for the HS. If Gateway fires Terry Smith, I hope Plum calls him immediately and begs him to drive ten mins North.

Comment by jaygeekray 07.11.12 @ 10:28 am

ernaburn, you appear to be wrong on a few counts. You claim the district is not starving for money but Chas lists in his article above that it is cutting 42 positions, including 27 full time teachers.

2nd, you mention Smith was not asked to take a pay cut, but one the Pgh papers (I believ the Trib) writes today that they are cutting the AD salary from $95,000 to $43,000.

From what I know about ADs, and I know 2 active ones and one ex, I will guarantee you the average AD salary is much closer to $43k than $95k .. a no-brainer.

Lastly, I lived in the South Hills for many years … and while I don’t think racism plays a part in this incident, I WILL GUARANTEE YOU THAT IT STILL EXISTS … in fact there was 2 WPIAL basketball incidents just last year (one including a U Cincy recruit.)

Comment by wbb 07.11.12 @ 3:34 pm

I would like to know what the AD”S make at Fox Chapel, Mount Lebonon, Upper Saint Clair, North Allegheny, Penn Hills, Woodland Hills and any other Quad A powerhouse (top 25 in the country) that continually places kids in the NCAA D-1 football programs? Then we could see if Gateway has an “overblown” budget for this position.

Comment by mike 07.11.12 @ 7:57 pm

wbb; that is not a pay cut, it a jod cut… he went from full time, to part time. A pay cut is full time at a lower salary and full benifits.

If they were starving for money, they would not have agreed to pay over $500,000 to repave parking lots in March and $230,000 for new locker rooms in May for the middle school. If your getting rid of teachers and making classrooms sizes biggers, not not wait for cosmetics.

The fact is that it’s a personal issue. Don’t Guarantee me about the salary, Show me.. I’m not talking about single A, I’m talking about Quad A. Show me one Quad A school with a Part Time AD. Central does not cound because they don’t have womens sports.

If not personal, when he took on the part time position, attempt to remove him from being a coach one month before the pads are on?

Comment by ernaburn 07.12.12 @ 7:48 am

The average salary for an AD in W. PA is about 57k. T Smith’s coaching salary combined with the AD salary totaled over $113,000. How can anyone argue for that much of a salary for a coach and AD position.

And Chas, Gateway doesn’t have big crowds at their home games anymore because half of the players are from the city of Pgh. and have no connection with the local community.

Comment by move_on 07.12.12 @ 7:26 pm

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