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Mt. Pleasant coach reaches 600 victories

| Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010

Tom Traynor has reached a number of milestones during his 48 years as a basketball coach in Western Pennsylvania.

On Friday, he accomplished another.

Traynor earned his 600th career victory as a head coach thanks to Mt. Pleasant's 50-20 win over Derry in Section 3-AAA.

"Actually, it's probably more important that we won another section game than it is for me to get my 600th win," Traynor said.

After a somewhat lackluster first quarter, the Vikings (10-6, 6-2) took control and never looked back in their win over the Trojans (0-16, 0-9).

Luke D'Amico led Mt. Pleasant with 19 points, including six 3-pointers.

After the game, members of the Vikings presented Traynor with the game ball in honor of his accomplishment.

"It's good to get there," Traynor said. "I didn't know if I would ever reach this many wins."

Traynor began his coaching career in 1962 at Pitt-Johnstown, where he spent nine years. While at the school, he earned 116 victories.

"Each place I have coached, I have had a fantastic experience," Traynor said. "I enjoyed my time at UPJ, but I made the decision to leave there because I was never around my family because of travel and recruiting. I decided that if I still wanted to coach, I had to get into a situation where I would be closer to my family, so I decided on a high school job at Hempfield."

The majority of Traynor's success came at Hempfield, where he coached for 30 seasons from 1971-2001.

While there, Traynor racked up 393 victories and was named the Section 1-AAAA coach of the year 10 times. His Hempfield teams earned eight section titles and qualified for the WPIAL playoffs 12 times, making it to the WPIAL championship in 1989 and '91. Under Traynor's direction, the Spartans made it to the PIAA playoffs four times.

"When I was at Hempfield, I worked with fantastic people and great players, and I had a tremendous coaching staff around me the whole time," Traynor said.

In 2001, Traynor became the coach at Mt. Pleasant and has amassed 91 wins in nine years with the Vikings.

Traynor acknowledged that there are many people, especially his coaches, players and family members, that have played a part in helping him achieve 600 wins.

"There are so many people that have contributed ,and I thank the Mt. Pleasant School District for giving me the opportunity to reach the goal. And I've enjoyed my time here," Traynor said.

Traynor is enjoying his career as a coach and has no plans to give it up anytime soon.

"I feel wonderful," Traynor said. "I like to coach because it has kept me in touch with young people, and as long as they are willing to have me, I'm willing to coach. I enjoy the competition, and basketball is a fantastic sport."

Although reaching 600 wins is a great accomplishment, it has never been Traynor's focus. Instead, his attention has been on his team and how he can help to improve it.

"Every game we win is an accomplishment, and I want to see us go to the playoffs. And hopefully, we'll do well," Traynor said. "That's as much for the kids as it is for me."

Mt. Pleasant's next game is Tuesday on the road against Indiana.

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