Burrell hires Shawn Liotta as football coach
By: Chris Harlan
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 | 9:04 PM
There are 160,000 miles on Shawn Liotta's six-year-old vehicle, but he and his trusty Chrysler won't make quite as many road trips anymore.
Not since Liotta, who spent the past two seasons at Albert Gallatin, was hired Tuesday night to coach Burrell. The school board voted unanimously to hire Liotta, who has lived in the district for more than a decade.
Rather than an 85-minute drive to Fayette County, he now will travel fewer than five.
“I'll have about 18 hours back in my life every week by not being in my car,” Liotta said. “That's one reason (I wanted the job), but the real reason is it's a great football program and a great school district. It's really an honor to be named the coach there because it's such a proud program. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to get them jump-started again.”
Liotta, 37, has coached for 19 years, mostly at the high school level, but also spent two years at Duquesne University and a nine-year stint in arena football.
Burrell will pay him $9,332.
“He had an outstanding resume,” board president Tricia Shank said. “His experience reaches from youth to collegiate to professional football.”
Prior to Albert Gallatin, Liotta was offensive coordinator at Clairton and McKeesport for two seasons apiece, was a Yough assistant for one year, was head coach at West Shamokin for four years and Line Mountain for one year. Before that he served three years as an assistant at Springdale, his alma mater.
Liotta has switched schools often but considers this a job where he can put down roots. He and his wife Allison have a daughter, Lily, who's a second-grader at Burrell. Liotta works as an addiction counselor.
“I'm not going anywhere,” Liotta said. “I'll be there as long as the district wants to keep me there. Hopefully, that's for a long, long time. I certainly want to build a program, a consistency here. I know they had that. Coach (Tom) Henderson was there a long time and really did a great job with the program. I'm hoping to build that kind of thing and bring the swagger back.”
Burrell owns four WPIAL titles, with the most recent in 1995. But the Bucs are 12-35 since their last winning season in 2012. Liotta replaces Dave Bellinotti, who went 8-21 in three seasons
Liotta favors a modern, no-huddle offense.
“It's going to be fast, believe me,” he said. “It's going to be up-tempo. A lot of kids get the ball in this kind of offense. We spread the ball around. And I've had good success with getting kids out that maybe weren't football guys before, but they see the kind of offense we run and they want to be part of it. It's like basketball on grass. Everybody wants to get out there and run around, catch the football and have some fun.”
Liotta proved he's not afraid of a rebuilding project when he took the Albert Gallatin job. His teams went 3-15 in two seasons but showed progress.
“I am proud of what we did out there,” Liotta said, “because I think we brought respect to that program. You can't always judge that kind of stuff in wins and losses. I think we've left it in a good position. … But I wasn't looking to leave there. This is like a dream-type opportunity for me.”