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Teenage leg injury helped Hisiro kick open doors to opportunity

| Saturday, July 5, 2008

For many football players, serious injuries can end their careers.

For Tom Hisiro, a serious leg injury boosted his career - both athletically and professionally.

A North Charleroi resident, Hisiro was 15 and about to begin his junior year at Charleroi Area High School when he found himself in a body cast.

Hisiro wound up repeating his junior year because of the time lost from the injury.

"I was young for my class," Hisiro recalled. "That opened the flood gates with athletic opportunities for me."

A linebacker and tight end for the Cougars and legendary coach Rab Currie, Hisiro ended up making the all-state team. The Toast To Our Stars Club, of North Charleroi, named him the outstanding athlete of 1968.

Hisiro received a football scholarship to West Virginia University, eventually playing for Bobby Bowden.

After college, Hisiro moved on to Linganore High School, where, at 24, he became the youngest-ever head football coach in Maryland. He stayed there for five years.

He also earned a master's degree from Shippensburg University.

Hisiro moved back to Pennsylvania, coaching and teaching at Lake-Lehman High School in Luzerne County.

In 1981, Hisiro was named head coach at Canon-McMillan High School, eventually leading the Big Macs to the WPIAL playoffs.

During that four-year period, Hisiro coached four players who played in the Big 33 all-star football game.

After 10 years, Hisiro retired as football coach, and became athletic director and principal at Burgettstown High School.

He worked at Bucktail High School, near Lock Haven, for one year and Avonworth for six years before returning as principal at Charleroi Area in 1993.

Hisiro had the unusual opportunity to be principal while being inducted into the Charleroi Area High School football Hall of Fame.

After three years at Charleroi, Hisiro took a job at Bethel Park, where he worked for five years. He spent one year at Owen J. Roberts High School in Pottstown before finishing his administrative career with three years as Brownsville Area High School.

A teacher for eight years, Hisiro spent 33 years in public education, including 25 years as an administrator. He held such jobs as transportation coordinator, drug and alcohol counselor, guidance counselor and public relations director.

Hisiro's career has taken him from Bethel Park High School to Bethel College.

He is director of the graduate studies program in education at the private Tennessee liberal arts college that is affiliated with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

The college is located halfway between Nashville and Memphis.

Hisiro's wife, Pauline, is a professor in the nursing program at Bethel College.

He has four daughters. Ashley is a sophomore at Bethel College. Nicole, Haley and Brooke live in Florida.

The former football coach is still involved with sports, but in a slightly different way.

He is the public address announcer for the nationally ranked NAIA Wildcats.

In his spare time, Hisiro enjoys riding his Harley Davidson Fat Boy motorcycle.

Hisiro stays connected with Masons in the Mon Valley. He is a past master of Charleroi Lodge No. 615 and a past most wise master of the Scottish Rite Valley of Pittsburgh.

He became a 33rd degree Mason in Chicago at the Supreme Council two years ago.

Hisiro became the only member Charleroi's Blue Lodge to receive the York Cross of Honor. He presided over all four York Rite Bodies: Charleroi's Blue Lodge and McKean Commandery, Monessen's Chapter and Washington's Council.

He is chairman of the Instruction and Professional Development Commission for the Tennessee Education Association.

His brother, John, lives in Fallowfield Township with his wife, Carol.

John Hisiro teaches online courses for Bethel College.

"We have a good life," Hisiro said. "God's been good to us."

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