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In the decades since he played IUP football, Dan Radakovich ’80 has enjoyed a career in college athletics that has taken him across the country and earned him three national championships, including one this year, at college football’s highest level.

Dan Radakovich

Dan Radakovich spoke during Clemson’s championship celebration in January at Memorial Stadium.

In his fourth full season as director of athletics at Clemson University, Radakovich had a front-row seat during the Tigers’ thrilling 35-31 win over Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship in January. That night, Radakovich’s side got the best of Alabama and coach Nick Saban. Some 13 years earlier, Radakovich and Saban were associates at Louisiana State University, celebrating the school’s 2003 national championship.

Since the Tigers’ January victory, Radakovich has been grateful for Clemson’s time in the spotlight.

“All of us within the department have seen an uptick in interest in our program, certainly highlighted by Coach [Dabo] Swinney and the players,” he said. “We’re very gratified for this increased attention, and we want to make sure we do our best to take advantage of the opportunity that’s placed in front of us.”

Radakovich has made the most of a number of opportunities since his IUP graduation. After earning an MBA from the University of Miami, he began his career in athletic administration there and was on the staff when the Hurricanes took the 1983 national championship. Since then, he has served in a variety of posts at Long Beach State, South Carolina, American University, LSU, and Georgia Tech.

Along the way, he built a wealth of experience handling program finances and facility improvements. He also is a member of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.

A sophomore letterman in 1977, Radakovich played tight end at IUP for three seasons before becoming a volunteer coach his senior year. Though he rarely makes his way back to campus, the Monaca native said IUP will always feel like a second home.

“When I think of IUP, it brings a smile to my face,” he said. “It was such a great four years of my life. Friends that I still have to this day—whether it’s the guys I played football with or the people in my fraternity—we have kept in contact over the years. It’s a wonderful place.”

Passing the Torch

Paul Tortorella, left, and Curt Cignetti, at right with quarterback Lenny Williams

Paul Tortorella, left, took over leadership of the IUP football program after Curt Cignetti, at right with quarterback Lenny Williams, stepped down in December. (Keith Boyer)

Former Crimson Hawks associate head coach Paul Tortorella will lead the IUP football program through the 2017 season. Tortorella was named acting head coach soon after  Curt Cignetti stepped down in late December to lead Division I Elon University in North Carolina. In his six seasons at IUP, Cignetti posted a 53-17 record and guided the Hawks to three NCAA Division II playoff appearances. He was the second fastest, behind his father, Frank Cignetti ’60, M’65 , to tally 50 wins as an IUP coach.

Tortorella spent 22 years as IUP’s defensive coordinator and safeties coach. Since his arrival, IUP’s defense has consistently ranked among the best in the nation. FootballScoop named Tortorella NCAA Division II Coordinator of the Year in 2012, a year IUP led the country in total and scoring defense and ranked third in rushing defense. Before coming to IUP, Tortorella was an assistant at the Division I level for nine seasons, including three at Akron and six at Maryland.

Alumni Notes

Rich Ingold

Rich Ingold, IUP quarterback from 1983 to 1985, was a 2003 inductee into the IUP Athletic Hall of Fame.

Former IUP quarterback and assistant coach Rich Ingold ’87 died February 15. In his three seasons at IUP, Ingold set numerous school passing and total offense records, some of which still stand today. Ingold went on to play in the Arena Football League and led the Detroit Drive to the 1988 league title. He started his coaching career as an assistant at IUP under Frank Cignetti and later coached at Duquesne University. He also found success as an arena football coach and was in the first class of inductees in the Arena Football 2 Hall of Fame. Ingold, who grew up in the Beechview section of Pittsburgh, was inducted into the IUP Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003. In his memory, the Crimson Hawks will wear stickers with his number, 2, on the backs of their helmets when they take the field next fall.

Ben McAdoo ’00 had a successful first season as an NFL head coach. Under his leadership, the New York Giants went 11-5, a five-game improvement over the previous season, and returned to the playoffs for the first time in five years. McAdoo oversaw a dramatic improvement in the Giants’ defense, which allowed the second-fewest points in the NFL last season. He has coached in the league in various capacities since 2004.

In November, former baseball standout  Aaron Albert  took the head coaching job at Beaver Area High School. Albert played only two years at IUP but holds top-five marks in both single-season and career batting average.

Former women’s lacrosse standout Stephanie Bianco ’12 has coached at three schools in three years. She’s in her first season as an assistant at NCAA Division I Central Connecticut State University. Last year, she was 30 miles down the road at Division I Quinnipiac, and in 2015, she coached at Division III SUNY New Paltz.

At 27,  Dom Lombardi ’12  already has six seasons of college coaching under his belt. Son of IUP men’s basketball coach Joe Lombardi , he recently finished his first season as director of player development for the Duquesne men’s basketball team. Before that, he spent two seasons as video coordinator for the University of South Florida and two seasons as assistant video coordinator at Kentucky under coach John Calipari. Lombardi played for three seasons under his father at IUP before becoming a volunteer coach his senior year.

A top-10 scorer and rebounder in the IUP record books, Sarah Pastorek ’13 is first-year director of girls’ basketball at the Virginia Basketball Academy, a year-round youth basketball program. She previously spent two seasons as an assistant at St. Francis University.

Hall of Famers

A former coach and retired math teacher at Norwin High School, Thomas Shirley ’64 was inducted into the Norwin Athletic Hall of Fame in October. He coached baseball, boys’ cross country, and junior high basketball and was a weight coordinator for the swim team. Shirley’s career included 34 seasons of coaching and 37 years of teaching. He has been a Norwin Athletic Hall of Fame committee member since the hall’s inception in 2009.

In November, former basketball standout Jack Benhart ’65  was inducted into the South Central chapter of the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame. Benhart is one of only three players in school history who rank in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding averages. A retired Shippensburg University professor, he has been part of the IUP Athletic Hall of Fame since 2002.

The voice of IUP football and basketball since 1969, radio broadcaster  Jack Benedict  will be inducted into the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in May. Since arriving in Indiana nearly five decades ago, he has called 510 IUP football games, and he is approaching 2,000 men’s and women’s basketball games.