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Penncrest to hire former Marple Newtown baseball coach Smith

Last year, Steve Smith coached Marple Newtown to within a game of the PIAA Class 4A final.

In 2017, he’ll face his alma mater wearing a Penncrest jersey.

Penncrest announced Thursday that Smith was the candidate to fill its coaching vacancy, pending board approval, tabbing the longtime coach who had been let go in late August from Marple Newtown after six successful seasons.

Smith, a 1975 graduate of Marple, arrived at his alma mater in 2010 after two years coaching at Bishop Shanahan and over a decade at the Exton Legion program. He led the 2016 Tigers to 20 wins, a Central League title, a fifth-place finish in District One Class 4A and the semifinals of the state tournament, where they Tigers lost to Plum High School and its second-round MLB draft pick by the Minnesota Twins, Alex Kirilloff, 6-2.

But in late August, Smith was informed by Marple Newtown athletic director Chris Gicking that the head baseball coaching job would be reopened for applications. Smith was welcomed to reapply and was in the process of doing so when the Penncrest opening was presented.

Sources close to the Marple program indicate that Smith’s ouster was orchestrated by parental discontent behind the scenes. At Marple, Smith was the beneficiary of both the talent – 2016 Daily Times baseball player of the year Ricky Collings, All-Delco and Villanova commit Cameron Mathes and freshman All-Delco Alden Mathes – and expectations associated with the national championships won by the Broomall-Newtown Babe Ruth feeder program.

Smith’s hiring at Penncrest is subject to board approval next week.

The Lions’ head man job has been in recent tumult. Dan Sardella was the head coach for a year and a half before being placed on leave in the middle of the 2016 season and subsequently not having his contract renewed. Brian Saviski took over on an interim basis to see out Penncrest’s 7-11 season.

In June, longtime Haverford assistant Gerard Breslin earned board approval for the job, but he resigned three weeks ago for unspecified reasons.

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