That February, Peter Wagner Jr. was selected as the head coach of the Highlanders but not before somebody else was suggested for the position and then voted down by the B-W School Board and not until three board members voted against Wagner's hiring.
But now in late August, with the school year set to start in a matter of days, Wagner leads a squad of 57 purple-and-white boys into a WPIAL AAAA football season wearing T-shirts and practice jerseys that proclaim "We Are One," the same theme being used throughout the B-W School District in 2013-14.
It's a simple statement in a not-so-simple time for Baldwin-Whitehall, which is looked at under a microscope by parents and other district residents concerned about student performance both inside and outside of the classroom.
For better or for worse, high school football teams often carry the most visible banners for districts throughout the United States, especially in football-mad western Pennsylvania, upping the importance of "We Are One" for the 2013 Highlanders, who see this season as a chance to unite the district under a common goal.
"We're following behind that concept," said Wagner, a first-year head coach and Baldwin's former offensive coordinator, during practice on Wednesday. "We're working toward that 'one'-type goal.
"The goal here is competing for conference championships, and every day, we're raising the bar. They (the student-athletes) understand their expectations."
A conference championship would mark an almost-unprecedented season for Baldwin, which hasn't made the playoffs since 2009 and hasn't posted a winning season since 2003. The Highlanders were 3-6 overall last year and 2-6 in AAAA's ultra-competitive Southeastern Conference. The school's lone conference/section title came in 2000, when it was shared with Mt. Lebanon High School.
To make things even more daunting, Baldwin will be without 1,000-yard rusher Dorian Brown this year and his 12 touchdowns from 2012. Brown has graduated and is now playing at Ohio University.
But Wagner cites, in the above video, a number of players who could help to offset that loss, including returning starting quarterback Doug Altavilla, who threw for 843 yards and four touchdowns last year. Altavilla, with the team as a rare freshman two years ago, is now a junior.
Part-time quarterback, running back, receiver, defensive back and even punter Luke Smorey, a senior, is also back. Smorey led the Highlanders with 294 receiving yards a year ago, including a TD. He also returned an interception 100 yards for a TD, ran for 49 yards and passed for 102 more.
Senior running back Nick Barca should see the bulk of the team's carries, Wagner said. Playing behind Brown, Barca toted the ball 36 times for 198 yards and two TDs last year.
Senior linebacker Jake Elk will call the plays on the field for Baldwin's defense. Elk registered 20 tackles (16 solo) in 2012, including three for a loss. He also broke up a pass and recovered a fumble.
Elk will have to counter the loss of senior defensive back Jay Morrison, the team's hardest tackler in 2012. Morrison was injured badly during a game in October and still hasn't recovered enough to play again, Wagner said.
Watch the above video for more name-drops by Wagner.
Baldwin will open the 2013 season at home against Southeastern rival Peters Township High School on Friday, Aug. 30, at 7:30 p.m.
Here is the team's full remaining schedule:
Friday, Aug. 23: Baldwin @ Central Valley (scrimmage), 6 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 30: Baldwin vs. Peters Township*, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 6: Baldwin @ Plum*, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 13: Baldwin vs. Penn Hills*, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 20: Baldwin @ Mt. Lebanon*, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 27: Baldwin vs. Upper St. Clair*, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 4: Baldwin @ Woodland Hills*, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 11: Baldwin vs. Fox Chapel, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 18: Baldwin vs. Canon-McMillan*, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 25: Baldwin @ Bethel Park*, 7:30 p.m.
* = Southeastern opponent