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Gordon joins Pitt strength staff

WHEELING – DeVaughn Gordon is coming home, almost.

The former Wheeling Central grid standout is a rising star in the world of strength and conditioning on the collegiate level. His most recent ascent in the profession has brought him much closer to his roots.

Gordon became a member of the University of Pittsburgh strength and conditioning staff in January.

“I received a phone call from Mike Stacchiotti (new Pitt head strength and conditioning coach) and asked if I was interested in joining him as an assistant on his staff,” Gordon said. “He already knew my answer, so I replied, ‘When do you want me there?’ I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to get to work with great leaders such as head coach Pat Narduzzi and Mike Stacchiotti. We also have a great group of individuals on the staff (Austin Stephan, Tyrone Smith and Brandon Martuccio) who make it enjoyable to work with and go to war with every day.”

He joins the Panthers after a one-year stay at Mississippi State where he was an assistant football strength and conditioning coach. He assisted the Bulldogs with the design and implementation of football strength and conditioning.

“I love it. There is never a day that it feels like a day of work,” Gordon said. “I’m working exclusively with the football team, and right now we have just around 90 players. When the incoming freshman arrive in the summer we will get up to around 110 or so.

“No one is with the players more than the strength and conditioning staff,” he added. “During the off-season we have a certain amount of mandatory training weeks up until spring ball begins. During those weeks we are allotted 8 hours of training per week.”

Gordon is charged with making his players better physical specimens. But he also understands the big picture, bidding to develop the entire person.

“It’s easy to say that my responsibility as assistant strength coach is to help athletes become bigger, faster and stronger and to ultimately become a better football player,” Gordon noted. “But it goes way beyond sets and reps. With this game comes wins, losses and failure.

“And for 18-22-year-old young men to spend countless hours pouring every ounce of blood, sweat and tears preparing for the opportunity to play only 12 guaranteed games on Saturdays in the fall is a lot to handle,” he added. “It is our job to help prepare them for the physical, mental and emotional rigors of the college football season.”

His stay at Mississippi State was truncated after the head football coach, Joe Moorhead, was terminated.

“That is the nature of the beast. When the head coach of the program is let go, most times the staff is not retained. It’s nothing personal, just business, and I wish the football program nothing but the best moving forward,” Gordon offered. “I really enjoyed my time at Mississippi State. It was a great opportunity for me.”

Prior his stint in Starkville, Gordon was assistant strength and conditioning coach at East Carolina University for two years. He assisted with the design and implementation of strength programs for football and was also responsible for the design and implementation of strength programs for softball and track.

“When I chose this career path, I didn’t ask to gain any recognition whatsoever. To me, I am just doing what I’m supposed to do in life,” Gordon offered. “I am the type of person who finds the most joy in celebrating the success of others.

“In the summer of 2018, I watched my “Day 1” best friend, DeMarr Moulton, graduate from UNC School of Law after first earning his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University. That means more to me than any logo that I am wearing on my shirt,” he continued. “I am not one who is looking for recognition. I am very humble.”

Gordon cut his teeth in the profession at North Carolina Central in 2016. He assisted the head strength and conditioning coach with football, helping the team win the MEAC championship. Gordon was responsible for designing and implementing strength programs for men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, track, tennis and golf.

“I am totally committed to Pitt and the athletes I work with. My goal is to be consistent every day and give them all I’ve got,” Gordon said. “I am as passionate about them as individuals as I am about them as athletes. I want to see them succeed on the football field but also in the game of life.”

Gordon received his degree in exercise physiology from West Liberty University in 2014. He and his fiance, Jazmine Scurlock of Rochester, Pa., are planning to be married this summer.

Gordon, now age 29, starred for Mike Young’s Maroon Knights. The talented running back helped Central pocket three state championships while earning first-team all-state and all-OVAC accolades.

He was also a basketball and track standout at the East Wheeling school. He went on to play football at West Liberty. It is on the hilltop that Gordon realized his life’s calling.

“About a year before I graduated at West Liberty University, I realized what I wanted to do – that was to be a collegiate strength and conditioning coach. I didn?t know where this career would take me, nor did I care,” Gordon noted. “I?m just extremely grateful to have been been able to work with great programs, athletes and coaches during this journey.?

Safe to say, Gordon is living his dream.

BUBBA’S BITS

JOANNA BERNABEI-McNamee has added another nugget to her impressive coaching resume. The Weirton Madonna athletic legend has been named the ACC Coach-of-the-Year. She guided Boston College to a 20-11 overall record and 11-7 ACC mark. Her Eagles ended the regular season tied for fourth in the conference after being predicted to finish 13th. Bernabei-McNamee is the first BC women’s head coach to earn ACC Coach of the Year accolades in 21 years. BC captured its ACC tourney opener followed by a win over Duke Friday night in the quarterfinals.

KUDOS GO out to Kim North. The veteran sports scribe did a masterful job of covering last weekend’s West Virginia State Wrestling Tournament. The mat Hall of Famer will do the same at this week’s Ohio mat event.

ALONG THOSE same lines, kudos to Wheeling sports scribe Kyle Lutz for his extensive and quality coverage of the Mountain East Conference Basketball Tournament.

WVU OFFENSIVE tackle Colton McKivitz performed quite well at last week’s NFL Combine in Indianapolis. He reportedly raised his draft stock significantly. The Union Local grad turned in the following performance:

40 yard dash: 5.35 seconds; 20 yard shuffle: 5.0 seconds; bench press (225 pounds): 20 reps; vertical: 26 inches; broad jump: 106 inches; 3 cone drill: 7.87 seconds. McKivitz will also work out March 25 at the WVU Pro Day in Morgantown.

FORMER WHEELING Park standout Brittany Prager is the new head softball coach at the St. John Central Academy in Bellaire.

IT IS time for the Tom Brady free agent soap opera to end. That saga dominates sports coverage day-in and day-out. When the dust settles, I say he is still a Patriot.

MITCH HANNAHS is in his seventh year as head baseball coach at Indiana State University. The Skyvue High legend has his Sycamores off to a 6-6 start this season. Hannahs is in the Indiana State Hall of Fame for his outstanding playing career at the school. He is also an OVAC Hall of Famer.

MARK PROSSER has enjoyed a successful season coaching the Western Carolina University men’s basketball team. The Wheeling Central grad has guided the Catamounts to an 18-11 mark heading into this weekend’s Southern Conference Tournament.

D.P. HARRIS had a landmark campaign in his initial season as head men’s basketball coach at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Fl. He led the Bobcats to a 22-6 record and a berth in the Sun Conference championship finals. The Wheeling Park grad came to St. Thomas after a hall of fame coaching career at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa.

I WAS surprised with Tony Filberto’s announcement that he was retiring as Weir High’s head football coach. The 70-year-old enjoyed successful stints at Weir and Oak Glen. He was one of the good guys in the profession. He will be missed.

WEIRTON MADONNA has named Dan Rovira as its new head football coach. The Bethany College grad has served as an assistant at Weir, Oak Glen, Toronto and Edison.

DANNY SANCOMB’S second season leading the Cal (Pa.) University men’s basketball team was a resounding success. The Vulcans went a sparkling 19-11, the most wins for the program since the 2007-08 campaign.

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