No AAA program in PA cross country history has won more team titles than North Allegheny. The boys have 12, and the girls, three. Council Rock (9 boys - 3 girls) and Mount Lebanon (12 boys), have 12 each. So needless to say, tradition is a very strong part of the North Allegheny program. And the carekeeper of the program from 2002 until 2008 was Jim LeDonne.
LeDonne with 2008 #1 man, then sophomore Ryan Gil.
LeDonne had been instrumental in building the program with his work with the middle school program for 17 years. When he got the opportunity - after retiring, of course - to take over the varsity program, he didn't want any regrets. So he took on the challenge, and with the last team title in the rearview mirror from 1997, his 2008 squad was ranked #1 in PA until a not-so-great day on November 1, 2008, when they took 3rd by a point to first-time competitors LaSalle, and a repeating squad from North Penn. North Allegheny had been 3rd in 2007, as well.
But with hopes for a state title dashed... the guys picked themselves up off the ground, and under LeDonne's guidance, proceeded to qualify for the 2008 Nike Cross Nationals.
Don Rich sat down with Coach LeDonne just before the start of this season. There are four parts to the interview, giving you a glimpse into the tradition of winning that is North Allegheny.
North Allegheny teams revere pack running. This is 2008 Tri-State Coaches