Jack Jolley's 20-plus year coaching career at Belle Vernon has come to a surprising, sudden and disappointing end.
"I was told that my position would be opened and that I could reapply," said Jolley, who has served as the Leopards head coach for 16 years, in a couple different stints. "I was shocked to hear the news, especially since we went further in the WPIAL team tournament than the program has ever gone before."
When faced with the option of re-applying for his job, Jolley turned in his resignation at the April school board meeting.
"Even if they had not had the votes to open my job, I could not have continued under the circumstances," Jolley said. "How can you coach under that kind of pressure? A coach has to run his own program and not look over his shoulder.
"I figured it was the best move for me and for the kids if I resign."
Belle Vernon had a 16-4 record last season, and a 12-8 mark the season before. The Leopards are expected to do even better this season.
"We took 13 kids to the section tournament and 11 qualified for the WPIAL tournament," said Jolley, who had hoped to coach a couple more years. "And we only had two seniors on that team. I was really looking forward to the upcoming season. I will really miss the kids. I wish them the best of luck with their new coach."
Tyler Nauman, a 2012 Pitt graduate, has been hired as Jolley's replacement.
-- By Ken Wunderley