Burrell boys basketball coach Shawn Bennis resigns
By: Michael Love
Thursday, July 11, 2019 | 7:09 PM
In his six seasons as coach of the Burrell boys basketball team, Shawn Bennis appreciated the hard work his players put in preparing and game planning for every opponent.
“The players worked so hard to be ready to play, no matter the situation,” he said. “We were always competitive. No matter who we played, they knew it was going to be a tough battle against us.”
Bennis, citing professional and family responsibilities, as well as health concerns he continues to work through, resigned from his post with the Bucs on Thursday.
“I want to thank the administration, athletic director Drake D’Angelo and so many others for giving me the opportunity to coach this program,” said Bennis, who also had three-year stints as the boys head coach at Highlands and Kiski Area before his tenure with the Bucs.
“It was a pleasurable experience. I had zero complaints or concerns. It was a really tough decision (to step down), but in the end, it is what’s best for Burrell and what’s best for myself.”
Bennis, now a high school principal at Highlands, said it was tough balancing that demanding job with the necessary requirements to be an effective coach in another district.
“I was a high school principal and a head coach at the same time before, but that was in the same district (Highlands),” he said. “I’ve had some great assistants, but if I can’t be present for them as passionately as I am about the game I love, it’s not fair to them or myself.”
Bennis said with children who now are 14 and 16, it is important to spend some time with them as they become involved in more activities.
“Priorities are starting to shift, and I want to be present for them a little more,” Bennis said.
Bennis said he had a recent discussion with D’Angelo concerning his future with Burrell.
Burrell missed the WPIAL playoffs in Bennis’ first three seasons before the 2016-17 squad went 7-3 in Section 3-3A and qualified for the postseason. It fell to North Catholic in the first round.
The Bucs made it back to the playoffs in 2017-18 as they repeated a 7-3 mark in section play. They came up just short in a 32-27 first-round loss to Riverside.
This past winter, Burrell finished 5-14 overall and 4-8 in the section, and Bennis finished with a 48-83 overall record with the Bucs.
Bennis said he is confident the team will make strides in the upcoming campaign, and that assistant coaches Joe Discello and Brian Misho are leading the players through productive summer workouts.
“They’ve been keeping things going,” Bennis said.
Bennis said he reached out to several former and current players to share his decision, and he hopes to stop into an upcoming open gym to talk with them further.
He also said he’s grateful for the support and well wishes he’s received.
Bennis said he isn’t ruling out a possible return to coaching some time down the road.
“Coaching is in my blood, and it’s something I’m extremely passionate about,” Bennis said. “But, right now (coaching) just isn’t in the cards.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .