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Freeport dismisses Burkart as basketball coach

Bill Burkart gave his parting thoughts on the season and left the Freeport girls basketball team's banquet with peace of mind.

Three days later, it all changed when the coach was called to Freeport High School for a meeting.

"They told me they wanted to go in a new direction," Burkart said. "What do you say to that• I guess it means I am fired."

Burkart will not be retained after guiding Freeport to the WPIAL playoffs three of the past five years. The position is open.

Burkart had a 39-67 record with the Yellowjackets.

Freeport wouldn't give a reason why Burkart was called in and, in his eyes, discouraged from reapplying.

"The girls basketball position is opened every year and advertised internally," Freeport athletic director Todd O'Shell said. "As is every other coaching position. However, we are soliciting candidates from outside for the girls basketball position this year.

"Mr. Burkart is still able to apply."

This past season, Freeport went 10-12 and lost to Steel Valley, 69-39, in the WPIAL Class AA preliminary round.

It also pulled off an upset over perennially strong Ford City in Section 1-AA.

"I think we have been moving forward," Burkart said. "Our elementary program was coming around. It was very well attended."

Burkart, who coached the Greensburg Central Catholic boys for 18 years before coming to Freeport, isn't ruling out a return to coaching.

"I was under the impression I would be coming back," Burkart said. "I have been around the block a long time.

"I wish the team well."

He is a teacher at Greensburg Central and commutes from Sarver.

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