WM girls hoops coach resigns
By Dave Mackall
Published: Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013, 1:01 a.m.
Dan Thayer, uncomfortable in his latest gig, has resigned as girls basketball coach at West Mifflin — his alma mater — just months after being named to the post.
He was replaced by Scott Stephenson, the school's athletic director and a former men's basketball coach at CCAC-South.
Thayer, citing philosophical differences with the West Mifflin adminstration for his departure, was hired in May to succeed Rob Yeschenko after coaching the girls team at Brentwood for two seasons. Yeschenko resigned at West Mifflin following a two-year record of 20-23, which included a pair of WPIAL playoffs victories.
Stephenson said Thayer sent a letter of resignation to West Mifflin on Oct. 4.
“I had a certain level of expections. I wanted those expectations to be met,” Thayer said. “The school and I didn't seem to have the same philosophy on that.”
It is one of two recent coaching changes at West Mifflin.
Jeff Smith was elevated to baseball coach after serving as the school's junior varsity coach under Jeff Kuzma, whose contract was not renewed. Kuzma had coached the Titans since 2001, leading them to two WPIAL section championships and four WPIAL playoffs appearances.
Thayer began to have doubts about the West Mifflin job after watching the team play in a summer league in McKeesport.
He alluded mainly to instances of court conduct, calling them “embarrassing,” though he did not name any players.
“I've done this for 18 years, and there were just so many flagrant fouls,” Thayer said. “I was saying, ‘We can't have that.' Every time you turned around, there were more obstacles.”
Stephenson, who has no experience as a high school girls coach, spent two seasons as men's coach at CCAC-South, compiling a record of 15-24 from 2004-06 before being named AD at West Mifflin, where he previously served as as a boys middle school coach. He also has been a boys assistant coach at Steel Valley.
He said Thayer's abrupt departure surprised him.
“We all were sort of stunned by it,”
The PIAA's 2013 girls basketball season begins with the official start of practices Monday.
Stephenson said none of the latest applicants for the position left vacant by Thayer possessed head coaching experience, which prompted school officials to approach Stephenson about the job.
“With it being so late in the year, and with me having had some head coaching experience, they asked if I'd be interested,” Stephenson said. “I figured I'd give it a try.”
Stephenson inherits four returning starters from a 10-13 team in 2012-13 that was eliminated by Blackhawk in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs. Among them, point guard Ciara Patterson was named The Daily News Player of the Year by Trib Total Media.
West Mifflin has enjoyed just one winning record since posting four consecutive 20-win seasons, from 2004-08.
Thayer, a 1988 West Mifflin graduate, said he has no hard feelings.
“I don't blame them for any of this,” he said. “If we weren't going to do it a certain way, we weren't going to do it at all. I'm OK with not coaching for now. You want to do things the way you've been successful doing it.”
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Alvarez struggles as Pirates fall short against Brewers
- Orpik: Penguins must keep their cool
- Pirates trade for Mets first baseman Davis
- Penguins’ Bylsma wants Cup version of Letang
- Dems in Pa. governor’s race vow to close loophole, say firms skirt corporate tax
- Latrobe woman texts searchers in Linn Run State Park to tell them she’s OK
- Gorman: Can Mike Tyson save boxing?
- Rossi: Pens sticking to power-play plan
- City’s efforts bolstered to track illegal dumping
- Blue Jackets goalie Bobrovsky turns page, focuses on Game 2
- California University of Pennsylvania offers training for weather spotters