Monday, March 7, 2022 | 5:04 p.m.
As Ray Bartha prepares his Apollo-Ridge women’s basketball team for Tuesday’s PIAA Class 2A first-round playoff game at District 10 champion West Middlesex, he’s also moving forward with his transition plans away of the position of athletic director of the school after 14 years at the helm.
The Apollo-Ridge School Board accepted and approved Bartha’s resignation as athletic director at its Feb. 28 school board meeting, and his last day will be March 31.
Also at last week’s meeting, the board recognized Bartha’s more than 50 years of service to the district as a teacher, coach and athletic director by naming the high school basketball court “Ray Bartha Court.”
“I think it’s just time for me to spend time doing what I want to do and not be locked into other commitments with the athletic department,” said Bartha, who will remain the coach- leader of the women’s basketball team.
“I won’t have to be in school all day and do the day-to-day things that a sports director has to do. I will only have basketball season.
Bartha, 75, said he thought a little about staying until the end of the school year and spring. But, he said, he had extended the move several times before officially doing so in the past two weeks.
“It was time to draw a line and say, ‘It’s over.’ I didn’t want to go in April, May and June. It’s time for me to leave. I’ve been here 52 years and done everything I could do here.
At the end of this month, as Bartha steps down as athletic director, John Skiba, director of school safety and Vikings head football coach, will take over the role on April 1.
Skiba was also approved as the new sporting director at the February 28 meeting.
“It’s a transition we’ve been considering for about a year,” Bartha said. “They knew I was going this year. It wasn’t like there was a big secret. My family wanted me to go a few years ago, and I didn’t.
Skiba will remain head coach of the football team and director of school safety and student services.
Bartha was hired as athletic director at Apollo-Ridge in July 2008, four years after retiring as a special education and social studies teacher.
Two years into her AD tenure, Bartha stepped down as women’s basketball coach after 35 years with 536 wins, 11 sectional titles, 23 playoff seasons and the WPIAL Class 2A title in 1991 under her belt. .
He returned to the bench last year and guided Apollo-Ridge through a shortened 8-5 overall record and 5-2 mark in section play.
Apollo-Ridge is currently 16-6 overall. The Vikings helped secure a spot in the PIAA Tournament with a 40-39 victory at Fort Cherry in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs on Feb. 21.
They haven’t played since falling to WPIAL 2A runners-up Notre-Dame du Sacré-Coeur in the quarter-finals on February 24.
Bartha is the second Alle-Kiski Valley athletic director to step down before the end of the 2021-22 academic year.
Josh Shoop resigned from Plum in early February, citing family as the main reason for his decision. Brian Miller, most recently the athletic director of North Catholic, is currently in the process of becoming the Mustangs’ new head of athletic department.
“It was good to be the sporting director because I was able to take care of all the sports, all the athletes and bond closely with the coaches and other sporting directors because I could help them and they were helping to do this job the best I could,” Bartha said.
Key words: Apollo Ridge