The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

January 28, 2014

Local sports in brief 1/29/2014

By JON KOHAN
sports@tribdem.com

JOHNSTOWN — NFL

Steelers sign assistant coach

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Steelers have hired former Minnesota Vikings assistant James Saxon as the team’srunning backs coach.

Saxon replaces Kirby Wilson, who left the Steelers to take the same position in Minnesota earlier this week.

Saxon will try to help revitalize a running attack that ranked 27th in yards and 29th in yards per carry in 2013. Saxon is the second offensive assistant brought in by the Steelers in the last two weeks.

Pittsburgh hired former Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak to coach the offensive line earlier this month.

Saxon’s previous coaching stops include Miami, Kansas City and Buffalo. He played eight seasons in the NFL from 1988-95, running for 533 yards and five touchdowns.



WRESTLING

Pitt-Johnstown holds onto 4th

Coach Pat Pecora's Pitt-Johnstown wrestlers, 9-1 overall and winners of seven straight dual meets, remained fourth in the most recent NCAA Division II Super Region I rankings released Tuesday.

Seven Mountain Cats are individually ranked, including All-Americans Dave Fogle (125 pounds) and Travis McKillop (184), the top-ranked wrestlers in their weight classes.

 Luke Palamides (133), two-time national qualifier Gary Lantz (165), Zac Bennett (197), and 2013 national qualifier Josh Duplin (285) are all ranked fourth, while Sam Hanau (141) is ranked fifth.



AUTO RACING

Gleason helps finish 10th

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Johnstown’s Kevin Gleason and co-driver Corey Fergus of Ohio, driving a BMW 328, finished eighth out of 39 entries in the Sport Touring (ST) class Friday in the season opener for IMSA's Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series at Daytona International Speedway.

Gleason, 26, qualified ninth with a time of 2:05.839 for an average speed of 101.844 miles per hour around the 3.56-mile road course. He drove the first half of a caution-filled race, kept the car in the top 10 and turned it over to his teammate unscathed.

The series now travels to Sebring International Raceway March 13-14 in Florida.



COLLEGE

PSU coach attends speech

STATE COLLEGE – The new football coach for Penn State attended the president’s State of the Union address in Washington.

James Franklin heard the speech on Tuesday as the guest of Republican Rep. Glenn Thompson.

Thompson’s northern Pennsylvania district includes the university campus in State College. Thompson is also a Penn State alum who says he wants to welcome the new coach to the area.

Franklin was named to lead the Nittany Lions on Jan. 11. He previously coached at Vanderbilt.

In a statement, Franklin says he appreciates the invitation and looks forward to hearing the president’s vision for this year and beyond.