Shaler boys varsity basketball coach retires
After a stellar run as Shaler's basketball coach, Paul Holzshu decided this season would be his last. Holzshu will remain as the athletic director at Shaler for one more year.
“I contemplated it very strongly after last year,” Holzshu said. “But graduating so many seniors — and we thought Geno (Thorpe) was leaving — I wanted to coach up the kids. It was easier when Geno decided to return.
“But I knew I would retire at the end of this season.”
Holzshu took over the program during a difficult time on an interim basis when friend and then-coach Howie Ruppert unexpectedly died in 2008.
“I got the job by default,” Holzshu said. “Jason Pirring had just come aboard and was not experienced. At the end of the year, the school board asked me if I would stay one more year. Then it got extended.”
During his tenure, Holzshu led the Titans to two section titles.
“We had a lot of success those two years,” Holzshu said. “There were a lot of enjoyable wins and state and national rankings.”
The decision was not made easily for Holzshu, who said he will miss the competition. He has been in competition as an athlete, coach and athletic director his entire life.
But he said what he will miss more than that is the people.
“The relationships with the coaches, players, media, officials … all those you come in contact with,” Holzshu said. “I will miss the teaching of strategy and cultivating young men to be better people and athletes.”
Holzshu will turn 65 next July and will finish out his career focusing solely on his athletic directing duties. He said that basketball has kept him so busy during the winter season he missed a lot in the other winter sports.
“I lost that opportunity to meet and see the other teams because of the time I invested in coaching,” he said. “That didn't permit me to follow the other teams. I wanted to be an honest-to-goodness athletic director for one more year.”
The search will be on for his replacement, and Holzshu is eager to see who will throw their hats in the ring.
“I just appreciate the support of the school and the community,” Holzshu said. “It has been a fun ride and a privilege to be a part of that.”
Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or email@example.com.