Coach with longtime connection to Penn-Trafford girls volleyball takes over program

Tuesday, February 13, 2024 | 11:01 AM

As a player and coach, Tracy McDonald has been around Penn-Trafford volleyball for the better part of 25 years.

She began coaching the Warriors right out of college.

“I already have a deep connection to this program and my players,” McDonald said. “I plan to continue to share my love and knowledge for the sport to as many girls as I can. It’s hard to believe I have been coaching for this long, but I believe my experience has really taught me how to connect to the players to help make them successful on and off the court.

“They know my expectations, and they will come into the next season ready to work.”

McDonald recently was named girls coach at her alma mater, a promotion from the assistant position she held under longtime leader Jim Schall, who resigned in the fall after more than two decades with the program.

McDonald began working with Schall, who will continue to coach the boys team, in 2003 as the girls junior varsity and middle school coach.

“I took some time off when I had my kids and continued back at Penn Middle in 2013, still coaching them,” she said. “I started coaching JV again in 2021.”

Schall has 282 career wins with the girls. He started the boys team in 2002.

A 1998 Penn-Trafford alum and a teacher in the district, McDonald played volleyball, basketball and softball in high school. Dave Ernette was her volleyball coach, with Schall taking the reins the year after she graduated.

After one season of volleyball at St. Francis (Pa.), McDonald played three years at IUP for coach Carmine Cortazzo, a Hempfield alum.

Schall has been a mentor to McDonald.

“I think the thing I learned the most from Jim is an understanding of what it takes to build and run a successful program,” she said. “Jim and his family have put countless hours into the Penn-Trafford volleyball program, getting so many people over the years interested and involved in the sport. I also really respect Jim for the amount of trust he instills into his staff.

“Most of the staff has been coaching here for 10-plus years, and that is a testament of how he treats people.”

Penn-Trafford finished 12-4 last season and won the Section 3-4A title.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at


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