Mike Scerbo knows he has big shoes to fill.

But he is undaunted with the task of stepping in for Win Palmer, who died last year after a lengthy career as Sewickley Academy’s director of athletics.

In the interim, Heather Border and Kelly Carioto have been serving as assistant athletic directors at Sewickley.

The academy announced March 4 the hiring of Scerbo as the school’s new director of athletics. Scerbo owns a proven track record in athletic leadership, coaching and a commitment to fostering a culture of excellence.

"We are delighted for Mike to join Sewickley Academy and our leadership team,” Ashley Birtwell, SA’s head of school, said in a news release. "I look forward to the next chapter of athletics here on campus with great enthusiasm and am confident Mike will have a tremendous impact.

"It is exciting for us that he knows firsthand the next step for those Panthers who want to continue participating in sports at the collegiate level.”

Scerbo has a wealth of experience to use to help elevate the Panthers’ athletic programs.

"I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to be a part of Sewickley Academy,” Scerbo said. "The academy’s rich tradition of preparing young people for success in life is well known. I have first-hand knowledge of this having coached many SA graduates at the college level in women’s lacrosse.

"During the interview process, I was able to spend time with Dr. Birtwell. Her vision and transformational leadership style will allow me to partner with many departments at the academy to grow and strengthen not only the athletic department but the entire institution. I look forward to having a positive impact on the growth of our student-athletes.”

Scerbo will leave his position as associate athletic director for sport and facilities operations at Duquesne. He worked at Duquesne for 18 years and brings with him a commitment to both athletic excellence and passion for the development of student-athletes.

"I spent the first 11 years (at Duquesne) as the head coach of women’s lacrosse,” Scerbo said, "and the last seven in administration with oversight of 12 of our varsity sports, facilities, operations, equipment and our PNC Leadership Academy.

"I know my experience in coaching and administration will allow me to facilitate the success of our coaches and student-athletes.”

Scerbo played three years of college lacrosse at Division I State University of New York at Stony Brook as an attackman, and ended his playing career at SUNY Oswego in 1995. Scerbo graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1995 — he also is a 2010 Duquesne graduate — and served as an assistant women’s lacrosse coach at his alma mater in 1996.

He attained the Duquesne coaching position in 2005 after a four-year stint as an assistant coach at Ohio State from 2002-05. Scerbo led the Red and Blue to several Atlantic 10 Conference championships.

At Ohio State, he helped guide the Buckeyes to a pair of NCAA tournament appearances (2002, 2003) and one American Lacrosse Conference title (2003).

Prior to his move to Columbus, Ohio, Scerbo was the head women’s lacrosse coach for five seasons at Limestone College in Gaffney, S.C.

He coached Limestone’s first team in 1997 and quickly developed the program into a national contender with numerous All-Americans and several Deep South District Team and North-South Senior All-Star Team members.

Scerbo was also an associate athletic director and an admissions representative at Limestone. In 2007, he was inducted into Limestone’s Hall of Fame.

Professionally, Scerbo has chaired the IWLCA Division II Coaches’ Poll Committee and was a member of the NCAA Division II Women’s Lacrosse Committee.

He earned the 2021-22 President’s Cup Award presented by the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association. The award is presented to a member of the lacrosse community who has displayed distinguished contributions to collegiate women’s lacrosse during the previous academic year.

Serving as the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Committee chair, Scerbo worked relentlessly to convince NCAA and ESPN representatives that broadcasting the Division I women’s quarterfinals on ESPNU and moving the championship to ESPN would be an important step forward in the growth of women’s lacrosse.

"This was not an easy feat by any means,” IWLCA executive director Elizabeth Robertshaw said at that time. "Mike worked with the IWLCA and numerous member coaches to find solutions to every question or roadblock that could be a potential dealbreaker for the increased TV exposure.

"His efforts in advocating for women’s lacrosse resulted in record-breaking viewership numbers and was an important step towards gender equity in championships moving forward.”

Scerbo said he was humbled and grateful to receive the distinguished award.

"To be honored by an organization I hold in high regard is truly a blessing,” he said. "Women’s lacrosse has always been special to me and has given me a great deal, both as a coach and administrator. I hope my past and future work will allow me to continue to give back to the sport, the coaches and most importantly the student-athletes.”

Scerbo left Ohio State to come to Pittsburgh to take over as the second-ever head coach of the Duquesne women’s lacrosse program.

"Coming to Pittsburgh was a wonderful blessing. My life changed on a personal level by moving here,” Scerbo said. "I met my wife who’s a Pittsburgher, and we got married, had two wonderful children, so to compare my time at Ohio State to now, I’ve had a number of wonderful things happen in my life.

"When I was at Ohio State, the mentality was sports and athletics first. Here, I’ve learned mostly through my (players) that you can be both successful on the field and in the classroom. Everybody understands that lacrosse can be a successful program, and that it fits the profile of the university.”

Scerbo and his wife Jessica live in Coraopolis.

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