The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


November 15, 2012

Retiring UPJ coach honored

JOHNSTOWN — Linda Renzi concluded her tenure at Pitt-Johnstown by earning West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) Coach of the Year honors in  women’s volleyball on Wednesday.

In her ninth season as UPJ’s head coach, Renzi led a team picked by the coaches to finish ninth in the conference to a

10-4 WVIAC mark and berth in the postseason tournament.

Renzi confirmed Wednesday she will step down as the women’s volleyball coach at UPJ as the program ends its stay in the WVIAC in preparation for a move to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) next academic year.

“She’s coached her team well. She has a few established players in the lineup but really her team had success with a lot of younger kids in there too,” said Brent Hager, WVIAC associate commissioner after Wednesday’s award winners were named in volleyball. “It was pretty decisive with her being picked as coach of the year.”

The conference’s coaches voted on the honor.

“I started with this conference and I really wanted to finish it in this conference,” Renzi said. “This made for such a surprise and a great ending.”

UPJ went 18-8 overall this season and advanced to the WVIAC Tournament before falling in the first round. UPJ junior Beth Kendera, a 6-foot-1 middle blocker from Conemaugh Valley, earned second-team all-WVIAC honors, and Lady Cats sophomore outside hitter Kelsey Shanabrook was an honorable mention pick.

Windber graduate Corrine Gahagen, a 6-1 sophomore middle blocker at Seton Hill University, was a first-team all-WVIAC selection.

Renzi will leave UPJ with a 136-119 career record.

“UPJ has always been consistent and thrived under Linda’s coaching.” Hagen said.

This is the first time UPJ has had a WVIAC coach of the year in volleyball. UPJ’s Bob Rukavina was WVIAC men’s basketball coach of the year in 2007-08.

“It’s an outstanding honor,” Renzi said. “Without a doubt I was greatly surprised in receiving this honor. It’s one of the great experiences that I’ve had.”

Renzi has had plenty of positive experiences. In 30 years at Richland High School, her girls volleyball teams won seven state championships and finished as state runner-up five times. The Rams won 25 District 6 crowns and 28 league or conference titles. Her Richland boys volleyball squads won seven district titles. Renzi also had success as Richland’s girls basketball coach.

The Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame inducted Renzi in 1995. Seven years later, the Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame inducted her.

She joined former UPJ women’s volleyball coach Clyde Horner as an assistant in 2002 and moved into the interim head coach position in 2004 before officially taking the job in 2005.

“The coaches at UPJ are wonderful to work with,” Renzi said. “The coaches all work so well together, and a lot of that comes from Pat Pecora being the athletic director.

“I’m so proud of the volleyball teams at Pitt-Johnstown as athletes and as the top academic team on campus,” Renzi added. “(UPJ President) Dr. Jem Spectar has shown great interest and leadership in making Pitt-Johnstown sports a priority, and academics and athletics.”


Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Hawks already building toward next season

    Jason Spence used up his cell phone’s battery on a trip from Johnstown to his parents’ home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Once the Johnstown Tomahawks coach got to his destination, Spence had to get creative to secure cell service across the border.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0416 Penguins rally to wear out Jackets

    Brandon Sutter scored on a wrist shot from the left circle 8:18 into the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins rally for a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
    Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen scored power-play goals 45 seconds apart in the second period, erasing Pittsburgh’s two-goal deficit.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shelley and McElligot Series serves as reunion for former Chiefs personnel

    Not so long ago, Bob McElligott, like most Western Pennsylvania hockey fans, would savor a long Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run.
    The Somerset native followed the Pens’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malkin nearing return

    The Columbus Blue Jackets are the closest NHL team to the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least geographically. The two franchises are separated by 185 miles of highway.

    April 15, 2014

  • Reds swing way past Pirates

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole's winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
    First, the NL Central rivals completed a game that was suspended in the sixth inning because of rain the previous night.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pitt ends its spring practices

    No tailgating.
    No trip to a local high school.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pirates Game 1 0415 Pirates edge out Reds in suspended game

    After all those home runs and an overnight delay, it was settled by a single.
    Andrew McCutchen doubled and came around on Russell Martin’s single in the seventh inning on Tuesday, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates an 8-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the completion of a game that spanned two days and 10 home runs.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • track_B1 WestPAC relays go to Windber boys, Berlin girls

    Rain showers and dropping temperatures put a damper on Monday’s WestPAC Relays at Berlin Brothersvalley High School.
    For the Berlin girls and the boys from Windber, however, discomfort was not much of a factor.
    The Mountaineers won their third straight relay title while the Ramblers reclaimed the title from defending champ Shade.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos