Newly hired boys basketball coach Brandon Sensor sees Shaler as ‘right opportunity’

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Thursday, June 20, 2024 | 12:54 AM


When Brandon Sensor resigned at Chartiers Valley four months ago, the boys basketball coach insisted that wouldn’t be the end of his coaching journey.

His tenure there ended undesirably, but that didn’t mean he’d take just any job.

“I wanted the right opportunity,” said Sensor, who believes he has found it at Shaler, the school district where he and his wife, Chelsea, already live. “I wanted to be closer to home because I have four little kids. Preferably at a bigger school — 5A or 6A — if possible. And I wanted to make sure I got to a program that has an administration that was supportive and aligned with what I value as a coach.

Shaler checked the boxes and that’s why I’m here.”

The Shaler school board hired Sensor at Wednesday’s meeting to replace coach Rob Niederberger, who resigned in April after nine seasons. The Titans are coming off a 25-4 season with semifinals appearances in both the WPIAL and PIAA Class 5A playoffs.

Sensor went 88-46 in six seasons at Chartiers Valley and reached the WPIAL 5A finals in 2021. An East Allegheny graduate in 2005 and a former Geneva College football player, Sensor made his head coaching debut in Cape Coral, Fla., where his teams went 57-27 in three seasons.

“For being a young guy, he brings a lot of experience,” Shaler athletic director Clint Rauscher said. “He’s a proven winner. It’s tough to replace Rob, who did a fantastic job building up our program. That’s a tall task. But with Brandon, with him already living in the district, the stars kind of aligned.

“We see him as someone who’s going to be here long term.”

Sensor agrees. With four youngsters at home, Sensor said he intended to stay in Shaler for a while. The oldest of his children is 6-year-old Harrison. The younger siblings are Remington, 4, Kennedy, 2, and Paisley, 8 months.

“If everything goes my way, I’ll be here for a long time,” he said.

When Sensor resigned at Chartiers Valley in February, he cited a lack of administrative support. He ended last season on administrative leave.

“Whenever the stuff happened at Chartiers Valley, (Chelsea) was like, ‘You’re not done,’” Sensor said. “And when Shaler opened up, she said, ‘You’ve got to go for it.’ She’s my biggest supporter.”

After meeting with Shaler school board members last week, Sensor joined his new players for a couple of open gyms. Now that his hire is official, he said he’ll jump right in with summer league games in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club.

Next winter, Shaler plays in a section with Armstrong, Hampton, Indiana, Kiski Area, Penn Hills and Plum. Sensor said he is optimistic about the program’s future, even if the Titans graduated eight seniors from last season.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” he said. “It’s a new group. But the guys are in the gym every day ready to work. I’m excited to get better with them.”

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.

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