16-time WPIAL champion boys volleyball coach Dan Schall steps down at North Allegheny

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Saturday, July 9, 2022 | 10:01 AM


Walking away from a defending state champion can be a tough call for a coach, but North Allegheny’s Dan Schall found it “maybe a bit easier” after winning four in a row the way his Tigers just did.

“This season was storybook, very Disney-esque, so that was a pretty special way to step away,” said Schall, who resigned this summer as North Allegheny boys volleyball coach after 20 years with the program.

Schall leaves just weeks after the Tigers won their fourth consecutive PIAA Class 3A title, and he resigns as the most successful coach in WPIAL volleyball history.

“The timing was right,” said Schall, whose future plans include watching younger son Owen, a junior, play baseball for North Allegheny. “Being the sports are in the same season, I’ve missed quite a few of his games coming up through middle school and ninth grade and junior varsity. Sports are a really, really special connector. They’ve been special in my relationship with my older son Caleb, who I got to coach. I didn’t want to miss that aspect of Owen’s development.”

Caleb was a star senior this spring for a volleyball team that went 18-1 and won WPIAL and PIAA titles. The WPIAL boys trophy was the 16th for Schall and the state title was his fifth.

Schall said the best part of his two decades as coach were the relationships he built along the way.

“We just had tremendous unity among our players and families,” he said. “As soon as the kids start playing in our program, we know them. We really get to know them. We really get to know their families. Those bonds that form over time are truly exceptional and truly special.”

Schall first joined North Allegheny’s coaching staff as an assistant to Bob Miller and was promoted to head coach of both the boys and girls teams in 2003. He coached the girls for eight years and won a WPIAL title in 2008.

In 19 seasons as the boys coach, Schall’s teams went 365-37 and won 16 WPIAL titles. The Tigers won eight in a row from 2007-14. They’ve also won the past five in a row, interrupted only when the 2020 season was canceled in the early days of the covid pandemic.

“I wanted to do as good of a job as I could for as long I could,” Schall said. “I was following Bob Miller, who’s an absolute legend and coached for 35 years. My own dad (former Derry coach Rich Schall) coached for about 32 years. … I knew it wasn’t going to be a temporary thing. It’s a commitment and it’s been a great couple of decades.”

Schall knew for a little while that this season might be his last but kept that thought quiet. He said he didn’t want his retirement to be the focus of the season.

He is hopeful longtime assistant Dan Long will replace him as coach.

“I’m so excited for him. He’s really good,” Schall said. “A lot of our staff … plan to stay, so the infrastructure of our program is really strong. That makes the step-away a little bit easier.”

Schall comes from a volleyball family. He and two brothers all played college volleyball at Penn State. He said the sport will always be a part of his life, but he couldn’t predict whether he’ll someday coach again.

“If there’s anything I can do to support the next staff, I will do it,” he said. “Whether that’s teaching youth or teaching middle school levels, I just really want to support them in any way that I can. But I certainly want to be a baseball fan for awhile and support my son.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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