Franklin Regional boys basketball continues offseason preparation while awaiting coaching hire

Thursday, July 29, 2021 | 10:03 AM

Losing a head coach at any time of the year can have a stifling effect on a high school basketball program.

But when a change is made during the summer, when teams are just beginning to get acquainted and starting to sharpen their skills and develop chemistry, it’s an instant setback.

Not at Franklin Regional.

When boys coach Steve Scorpion’s position was opened in June, ending his four-year tenure with the Panthers, the program did not miss a beat.

Scorpion, who had a near-death experience in the spring and is recovering from an opioid addiction, hopes to coach again in the near future. His impact was significant at Franklin Regional, his alma mater, where he went 53-34 and led the Panthers to the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs four straight years and the PIAA postseason twice. The Panthers reached the WPIAL championship in 2017-18.

A new coach is expected to be hired Monday.

“We had a lot of interesting interviews,” Franklin Regional athletic director Zach Kessler said. “Our program is in a good place.”

Longtime assistant Joe McGinn has been running the program since Scorpion’s departure.

While McGinn did not apply for the job, he hopes to stay on staff with the new coach to continue the momentum.

He said he wants to see Scorpion get better. He is continuing to teach the system the former coach had in place and maintain the infrastructure.

“It’s about the kids,” McGinn said. “We have a good group coming up. The gym time was already carved out. I just made sure everything ran smoothly. We went to the Pitt (team) camp.

“We have a lot of kids playing together who have never played together.”

McGinn said former Panthers player Aidan Fisch came to a workout and talked to the younger players.

Open gyms have been a regular thing with McGinn in charge. He has been an off-and-on assistant since 1996 and has served on the staffs of four head coaches: Dom Berardinelli, Doug Kelly, Brad Midgley and Scorpion.

“The kids came in (to the summer) with an open mind,” McGinn said. “It was like, ‘I want to play hoops.’ We rolled the balls out, and we played. They wanted to come in and compete.”

Kessler said he did not have any trepidation about the program staying afloat while there was no head coach.

“Joe has been a constant in our program,” Kessler said. “He has kept up with our kids. He ran our youth clinic. Joe is the salt of the earth. The kids are in good hands with him.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at or via Twitter .


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