Mark Madden: Upper St. Clair coach Jim Render’s win total untouchable
Congratulations to Upper St. Clair football coach Jim Render on winning 400 games. He’s the first WPIAL coach to reach that mark.
He will be the last.
Not many figure to reach 300 victories. Or 200. Or even 100.
WPIAL football used to be the domain of iconic coaches who were never questioned as long as they won, which they almost always did. The list is long and illustrious: Gateway’s Pete Antimarino, Blackhawk’s Joe Hamilton, North Hills’ Jack McCurry, Woodland Hills’ George Novak and many more. Elite coaches.
But now high school sports are the domain of angry, entitled, soft parents and their like-minded offspring.
The parents are sure junior can get a college scholarship given the fair chance the coach is denying him. High school sports are also the hunting ground for school boards composed of those parents and of people with agendas having little to do with football.
In today’s climate, even the most legendary coaches come under fire.
Ask Mike Zmijanac. Now coach at Ringgold, Zmijanac was let go by Aliquippa after last season, a season that saw the Quips in a WPIAL championship game for the 10th straight time. Zmijanac won six WPIAL titles and one state crown in 21 years. Didn’t matter.
Ask Render and McCurry: 681 wins between them, but both illogically came under siege during their accomplished careers.
In today’s climate, no coach will stick around long enough to amass an historic amount of wins.
Render is a terrific coach and a good man. He’s old school. Rigid. That’s good. Render coaches kids. They shouldn’t be on pedestals. Most won’t play college football. Coaches like Render make the high school football experience rewarding in and of itself.
I’m rooting for Render to win WPIAL and state championships, then ride off into the sunset. Because he’s got to be sick of the situation described.
Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WXDX-FM (105.9).