One of the most successful girls basketball coaches in WPIAL history has decided to step down.
Longtime Blackhawk coach Steve Lodovico met with his players Monday morning to inform them that he will no longer be the team’s coach, a stunning announcement that comes just over a week after the Cougars were in Hershey playing for a state championship. The Cougars went 25-5 and advanced to both the WPIAL and PIAA Class 4A championship games this past season and are expected to be very strong again next season.
“Ultimately, it’s because of my family,” Lodovico said. “I have three kids. We live in the Seneca Valley School District, which is about 45 minutes away. I have missed so much these last five or six years that I thought it was time to put more time into them.”
Lodovico, 45, is a 1996 Blackhawk graduate and former standout player there who spent nearly two decades as the school’s girls head coach. Lodovico was 348-128 in his 18 seasons, leading Blackhawk to 10 section titles, 4 WPIAL titles and 2 PIAA titles. The Cougars won back-to-back PIAA titles in 2014 and 2015.
“It was emotional,” Lodovico said about informing his players of the news. “When you do something for that long …. It’s a great family. They’re like my kids. I had a hard time getting through it. The Blackhawk community has been so awesome. To coach where I grew up and where I played, to say a final goodbye as coach was difficult.”
Lodovico, who won two PIAA titles as a player under John Miller in 1995 and 1996, said that the possibility of stepping away was something he had been thinking about for a while, and that it led to some sleepless nights. But Lodovico said he felt clear-minded about things Sunday, and decided that resigning “was the right thing to do.”
That’s not to say Lodovico won’t consider coaching again one day.
“I’ll never close that door,” he said. “I love coaching so much. I don’t have any plans, but if an opportunity comes about that is best for me and my family, I would never close that door. But right now I’m excited to watch more of my kids.”
Lodovico and his wife, Becky, live in Evans City, and all three of their children are active in sports — Maya is 13, Jase 10 and Vinny 6.
Blackhawk didn’t win a WPIAL or PIAA championship this past season, but it was arguably one of Lodovico’s finest coaching performances yet. The Cougars advanced to both championship games despite losing star senior Quinn Borroni to a season-ending injury just before the start of the postseason. They fell to North Catholic in the WPIAL championship and to Lansdale Catholic in the PIAA championship.
What’s interesting about Lodovico’s decision is that Blackhawk figures to be a title contender again next season. The Cougars started four underclassmen, among them star junior Alena Fusetti and talented freshman Aubree Hupp.
“People might wonder why I’m not coming back to a team with so much talent, but it’s not about me adding anymore championships,” Lodovico said. “I feel like I’ve done enough individually. Whoever gets the job is getting the keys to a Ferrari.”