Oakland Catholic girls’ hoops coach resigns
Rich Irr resigned as Oakland Catholic girls basketball coach Wednesday after 107 victories, one PIAA Quad-A title and two WPIAL championships in four seasons.
Irr, whose career record is 107-18, says he left because he wants to spend more time with his family. Irr, who got married right before he took the job, has a son, Jason, who is a sophomore basketball player at Moon and two stepsons, Jake, 10, and Joey, 8, who also are involved in sports.
“I was missing too much stuff,” Irr said. “It was a year-round job, and the last four years have been hectic.”
Irr, 40, said he decided last April this would be his final season, but he didn’t say anything so not to distract his team.
Oakland Catholic lost the WPIAL Quad-A championship game to New Castle and in the first round of the PIAA playoffs to Shaler earlier this month.
“Of course, this year didn’t end the way we wanted it to,” Irr said. “I am going to miss a lot about coaching. I am going to miss teaching the girls and planning for big games. I am going to miss athletic director George Rudolph and the administration and the people who supported the program.”
Irr took over the program after two-time Olympian Suzie McConnell Serio left to coach in the NBA. McConnell Serio says she isn’t interested in returning to the school.
Rudolph said Irr kept the program at a high level after McConnell Serio left.
“Rich was wonderful for our program,” said Rudolph, who will begin the search for Irr’s replacement. “I know it was tough that first season replacing Suzie. But he proved he could do it. He did so many things that people didn’t see.”
Irr said he put a lot of pressure on himself, coaching such a prestigious program. He became familiar with what was expected of the team after serving as an assistant coach.
“I was determined to keep it on that level,” Irr said. “But I feel we had four good years ,and I feel we accomplished a lot of things. High school sports are about the kids, and I tried to make it a favorable experience.”
Senior guard and Lehigh recruit Erica Prosser said the players were upset when they found out that Irr resigned.
“No on wants a coach to leave,” she said. “But we understand he wants to spend more time with his family, and coaching takes up a lot of time.
“He told the players he wasn’t leaving because of what happened this year. Being at Oakland Catholic is hard on a coach and the players because we always have an X on our backs. There are expectations.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review fashion writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .