Serra Catholic naming court after longtime girls basketball coach Bill Cleary

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Friday, June 4, 2021 | 8:16 PM


Serra Catholic is naming its basketball court after longtime girls coach Bill Cleary, the school announced Friday.

“William J. Cleary Court” will be dedicated officially in December, said an announcement from associate principal Robert Childs. Cleary is retiring this summer after more than four decades working at the school as a teacher and athletic director, and 34 seasons as girls basketball coach.

He won more than 650 games.

“Coach Cleary served Serra through his stewardship of the athletic program for 38 years, through his 41 years of teaching and through his camaraderie and fellowship with faculty, staff and coaches,” Childssaid. “Mr. Cleary always exhibited good nature towards all who walked the halls of Serra Catholic.”

The school surprised Cleary with the news during a faculty picnic Friday. The school’s retirees were each recognized, ending with Cleary, who joked afterward he was expecting maybe a gift card for coffee.

“I was taken by surprise and overwhelmed,” he said. “I started crying. The emotions overcame me. Wow, it’s quite an honor.”

Cleary’s teams won four WPIAL titles and one state championship. They celebrated 18 section titles, qualified for the playoffs 33 times and made their 10th appearance in the WPIAL finals this past winter.

His career record is 657-196, making him one of only four WPIAL girls coaches to reach 600 wins.

“When you get into coaching, you just want to do a good job,” Cleary said. “To get this honor from the school administration, I’m forever grateful.”

In April, Serra Catholic hired Matt Bacco to take over as girls basketball coach.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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