Beggs beats out Guffrovich for boys basketball job at Nanticoke Area
Steve Bennett - Citizens Voice
The board room inside the Greater Nanticoke Area High School was filled to capacity, just like the gymnasiums Paul Guffrovich played in on his way to becoming one of the best basketball players to come out of the Wyoming Valley Conference.
Despite scoring 2,271 points during his high school career and playing at Wichita State University, Guffrovich did not have the credentials to be named the basketball coach at his alma mater.
The Nanticoke Area school board voted 8-0 Thursday night to hire assistant coach John Beggs to take over for Ken Bartuska after his position as head basketball coach was opened. Bartuska will remain the athletic director at the school. Board member Chet Beggs, a cousin of the newly appointed coach, was out of town and did not attend the meeting.
"Obviously, my whole goal when I came back here and started teaching in the district nine years ago was to eventually be a head coach," Beggs said. "I wasn't sure when it would happen or how it would happen. I'm proud to continue the tradition. I'm only the fifth head coach in the last 50 years. That's something I take very seriously."
Bartuska was an assistant coach for three years before becoming the head coach for the last 19. The Trojans won four district titles, three conference championships and finished second in the district twice during his tenure. Nanticoke Area finished the 2012-13 season 11-12.
"I think the program is in very good hands. John has been an assistant and friend of mine for a long time," said Bartuska, who will focus more of his time on administrative responsibilities. "Having somebody in the building who knows the kids and administrators will make the transition seamless and that is the most important thing."
Ken James, head of the athletic committee at Nanticoke Area, said the decision to pass on Guffrovich was a difficult one, but he's confident Beggs will help the program get back on track.
"It was a very tough decision. Paul has a great pedigree and a great name in Nanticoke," James said. "There was questions about the transition and how he would take over the program in the summer. We weren't sure that would be done smoothly. Assistants were a question. He had one name. He had a short list but really didn't have names."
Head coach: Ken Bartuska
Outlook: The Trojans must replace their top eight players from a year ago. That's not going to be easy because replacing them will be a group that totaled one varsity start and a combined 19 points last year.. They have been a streaky team in the exhibition season posting a pair of two-game winning streaks which were followed by two-game losing streaks. Mike Malshefski and Tyler Myers lead the team in scoring. Myers is the outside threat with a team-best 13 3-pointers.