Burrell hires new boys basketball, wrestling coaches
By Bill West
Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 11:21 p.m.
Just after the conclusion of successful winter seasons, Burrell's boys basketball and wrestling teams began to search for coaching successors.
The names of the men who will fill those vacancies emerged at Tuesday night's school board meeting.
Shawn Bennis and Josh Shields received approval to lead boys basketball and wrestling, respectively. Both inherit teams that made WPIAL championship game appearances last season.
Bennis, a former coach at Highlands and Kiski Area, will take over a program that finished second in WPIAL Class AA. He replaces Rob Niederberger, who coached three seasons and stepped down because of travel demands.
“I just felt this was a good fit with me knowing a lot of younger kids and some of the older kids,” said Bennis, 43, who lives in the Burrell district and has a daughter, Maisy, in fourth grade and a son, Macky, in first.
Bennis went 28-41 in three seasons at Kiski Area. When a position opened at Highlands, he returned to his alma mater, which he led for three seasons and accumulated a record of 38-33. He then stepped down to spend more time with his family.
“Ultimately, they were the ones who said, ‘You need to get back into it, because honestly, you're driving us crazy,' ” Bennis said.
Shields' bond with Burrell runs deep.
“I'm really fortunate to get to serve as coach at Burrell. I didn't think (the opportunity) would come this quickly,” said Shields, 25, a 2006 Burrell graduate who won 147 bouts in his high school career and made the PIAA finals as a senior.
He wrestled at Mercyhurst, where he became a three-time All-American. He won a NCAA Division II title as a sophomore and placed second as a junior.
Last season, he became a Burrell assistant under Bud Sines, who in two seasons as coach led the Bucs to two more WPIAL Class AA team titles. Sines resigned to rejoin his wife, who accepted a job in the Atlanta area.
Burrell has won seven WPIAL team championships in a row under three different coaches.
“Pressure, it brings the best out of me,” Shields said. “I look forward to it.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.
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.
- Kovacevic: These Penguins an inside job
- Merchant Marine president addresses flagpole concerns at council meeting
- Council honors colleagues who bid farewell
- Penguins winger Neal refining game, attitude
- Short-handed Penguins get win over Rangers
- Some Steelers players see stretch run of season as opportunity
- Steelers notebook: Packers RB Lacy unfazed by Tomlin’s ‘easy decision’ comment
- Oakbridge, Newport students unite to fight for their education
- $140 gets Wexford man a million-dollar Picasso piece
- South Buffalo planning commission signs off on natural gas projects
- Connellsville wrestlers dominate Thomas Jefferson