Share This Page

Upper St. Clair's Render deflects credit

From his weekly routine to his admittedly stubborn coaching philosophy, Upper St. Clair football coach Jim Render said he hasn't changed much over the past three decades.

What has changed - almost with the frequency of each new opponent - is his career victory count.

Render notched his 327th win and moved into second place for career coaching victories in the state Friday with a 35-0 victory over Baldwin.

"This isn't a milestone for me, because you can't win at this level without great assistant coaches and players," Render said Saturday.

"It's not about me. I don't need another win for my resume. It's about each of our players making their niche in our tradition. That's why I've been very fortunate."

Wyoming Valley West coach George Curry remains No. 1 on the list with 409 victories.

"George is a friend of mine, and he had a great career at Berwick," Render said. "I don't aspire to, or anticipate, catching up to him."

Render (327-106-7) passed retired Central Bucks West coach Mike Pettine, who was 326-42-4 from 1968-1999.


Top Five
Coaches with the most career victories in the state:
Coach School Wins
*George Curry Wyoming Valley West 409
*Jim Render Upper St. Clair 327
Mike Pettine Central Bucks West 326
*Jack Henzes Dunmore 322
*Frank Pazzaglia Mid Valley 321
* indicates active coaches


Dunmore coach Jack Henzes, who ranks No. 4 on the list, trails Render by five wins at 322.

While there is no official national list, Summerville (S.C.) coach John McKissick is widely believed to be the all-time winningest high school football coach, with a 556-130-13 record in 55 seasons, ending in 2006.

USC (4-3, 1-3) trails in the Quad West playoff chase, and Render's latest victory didn't arrive without its share of adversity. Upper St. Clair suffered consecutive close defeats to Central Catholic, Canon-McMillan and Bethel Park that might have left some coaches second-guessing themselves.

"The last month, I was wondering if we'd every get another victory," Render said.

Central Catholic kicker Matt Oczypok hit a 48-yard game-winning field goal Sept. 19, and a week later, Canon-McMillan upset USC, 28-27, in overtime.

"We always have a target on our back," Render said.

It's been that way since USC won the state title in 1989. The target got bigger when USC won state in 2006 with a 16-0 record. USC also finished as the PIAA runner-up in 1992 and 1997 and finished second in the WPIAL five times from 1991 through 2003.

"It's an interesting challenge every week at the Quad-A level," Render said. "We just played some heavyweight opponents with great athletes."

Asked if there's a secret to winning so many games, Render paused for several seconds recently while seated in front of a row of lockers in the quiet USC field house.

"I don't know, every victory is special," he said. "Every victory has a lot of hard work behind it. I don't really count. I'm not into records. I'm into who's next and what can I help us do to win."

Steelers pro personnel coordinator Doug Whaley, who played linebacker and running back for Render from 1987-'89, has praise for his former coach.

"The cornerstone to his system is avoiding mistakes - and capitalizing on the other team's mistakes," Whaley said. "It's a proven winner."

Whaley said the emphasis is attention to detail.

"The basis of USC's system is to out-execute teams," Whaley said. "His teams try to do what they do to perfection, and he surrounds himself with assistants and players who believe in that philosophy."

Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley has studied Render's teams, mostly on video, while evaluating talent.

"Jim is a phenomenal coach and person," Bradley said. "He and his staff do an outstanding job. His teams don't make mistakes, they protect the football. They do all the sound, fundamental things that it takes to win consistently."

Said Render: "I have a good staff, guys who can really teach the game of football. We have over 200 years of coaching experience on our staff.

"And the Upper St. Clair kids are motivated kids. They're used to working hard, and that helps.

"I've coached a ton of great kids. We try to keep them grounded in the fundamentals, make them take care of the football. Play smart."

Render file

Jim Render, Upper St. Clair football coach

Upper St. Clair (1979-present)
Record: 272-75-3

Uniontown (1972-78)
Record: 43-25-2

Carrollton (Ohio) (1970-71)
Record: 12-6-2

Totals:38 years
Record: 327-106-7

Championships

PIAA - 1989, 2006

WPIAL - 1988, 1989, 1992, 1997, 2006

Conference - 20 titles - 1971, 1978, 1982 through '84, 1989 through '97, 2001 through '06.

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.