Successful girls basketball coach officially done at West Mifflin

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The clash between West Mifflin Area schools Superintendent Patrick Risha and longtime girls' basketball coach Phil Shar ended tonight, when the school board voted, 5-4, to hire Mindy McClelland to replace Mr. Shar.

Board members Ned Mrvos, Albert Graham, Michael Jakubovic, Diane Olasz and Kathleen Bracco voted to hire Ms. McClelland, in essence voting against keeping Mr. Shar. Mr. Shar had reapplied for the position.

Members Michael Price, John Donis, Richard Fialkovich and Edward Schueler voted against hiring Ms. McClelland.

Mr. Shar had been the coach of the West Mifflin girls' program the last 19 seasons. In that time, he posted a 379-153 overall record. Mr. Shar also led the Titans to 11 section titles and his teams qualified for the WPIAL playoffs in 18 of his 19 seasons.

Included in that run have been five WPIAL championship game appearances, winning the Class AAA title in 2001.

But Mr. Shar had been at odds with Mr. Risha, calling Mr. Risha in an absentee superintendent and bringing to light the fact that Mr. Risha works from his Belle Vernon home, not the West Mifflin school district offices.

The school board meeting attracted an audience of more than 165 people, with some lining the walls in the back and sides of the room and spilling out into an adjacent hallway.


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