Shaler football coach Gordon resigns
When Neil Gordon arrived at Shaler High School four years ago, the football coach thought his stay would last one season.
"I enjoyed the people and enjoyed the situation so much, I ended up staying three more years," he said.
But circumstances finally led Gordon, 63, who has a 183-88-3 career record, to submit his resignation Friday.
"I just thought it was a good time to leave there," said Gordon, who added that he wants to remain in coaching. "There was no problem whatsoever at Shaler."
The football landscape is changing for the Titans, with some assistants and 32 seniors leaving the program.
"I would be losing a few coaches, and the people in charge of the boosters (who) made us feel at home, they are all gone now," Gordon said. "The cupboard is certainly not bare there. There are some very talented underclassmen, but the majority of the people are the people I don't know that well."
Gordon, who lives in Wilkins Township, said he did not resign with an eye on another WPIAL opening. Several other Class AAAA jobs are available, including Mt. Lebanon, Penn Hills, Hempfield, Altoona and Kiski Area.
Gordon spent 31 years at Penn Hills, first as an assistant under former coach Andy Urbanic and then as athletic director and coach from 1987-2006, winning WPIAL and PIAA championships in 1995. He was ousted as coach in 2007, a year after leading Penn Hills to the WPIAL championship game.
He also coached the Penn Hills baseball team for four years and won a state title in 1978.
"I've seen a lot," he said. "I've been on the good end of a lot and a bad end of a lot."
He led Shaler to the WPIAL quarterfinals twice, but his most memorable games were against Penn Hills rivals McKeesport, Gateway and Woodland Hills. His battles against Woodland Hills coach George Novak, a good friend, are legendary. He remembers winning, 3-0, in 2006 when Mike Dell'Aquila booted a 27-yard field goal in heavy rain.
"We were like brothers," said Novak, who became coach the same year Gordon was hired at Penn Hills. "He was a disciplinarian and worked very hard for his kids. He got a lot of them into college. I have a lot of respect for him as a coach and as a person."
Asked whether he would take Gordon on his staff, Novak said, "I think anybody would take him on his staff. You never know."Additional Information:
By the numbers
Shaler's won-lost records during football coach Neil Gordon's four seasons:
Season -- Record -- Playoff result
2008 -- 8-3 -- Lost in WPIAL quarterfinals
2009 -- 9-2 -- Lost in WPIAL quarterfinals
2010 -- 5-4 -- Did not qualify
2011 -- 5-5 -- Lost in WPIAL first round
Total -- 27-14