Gorman: Sewickley Academy's Palmer wins juggling act
Win Palmer celebrated his 58th birthday Thursday but already was looking forward to the next day.
That Sewickley Academy starts a two-week spring break Friday is perfect timing for Palmer, who will coach the Panthers (25-3) against Farrell (21-6) in the PIAA Class A boys basketball quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. at Slippery Rock.
It's one of the many hats Palmer wears at Sewickley, where he's also athletic director and coaches boys golf and softball, which started practice Monday.
“It is crazy this time of the year,” Palmer said of his schedule. “I'm running low on batteries, but I get to recharge.”
Palmer certainly lives up to his name. Sewickley Academy has three WPIAL Class A titles and a PIAA crown in basketball and six WPIAL Class AA titles and a PIAA crown in boys golf. The softball team won Section 5-A last year.
“It's fun to coach these sports each season and, fortunately, we've been incredibly successful,” Palmer said. “I'm a different style coach each season: In golf, your passion has to breathe beneath the surface. In softball, I never raise my voice. The boys basketball players come to the games and say, ‘That's not fair.' But my expectations are the same for each sport. I just go about it a different way.”
Basketball is his first love, and he has been a coach for 35 years. A victory over Farrell would allow Palmer to concentrate on it alone for once.
“Next week is my idea of a breather,” Palmer said. “If we could win, that would be fantastic because I could focus on one thing — which I haven't done all year.”
It's a rare juggling act, one Palmer has learned how to win.