(4-20-23) The last several years, due to several issues facing them, many have decided to not become a high school official and those who are have decided to give it up. For many of the same reasons veteran high school coaches are resigning or retiring. Finding qualified coaches at all levels is a problem in all school sports.The reasons are something that many can agree on and the changes we have seen in our world have been a part of all of this. Even winning at a successful level has not stopped any of these coaches from staying on.
Dana Petruska has won 518 games (retires with a career record of 518-325) as a girls basketball coach in Pennsylvania.. Petruska has coached a total of 27 seasons two different times at Mars and eight seasons at Deer Lakes in between her time at Mars. In 2018 Petruska led Mars to PIAA Class 5A championship when Mars upset Archbishop Wood, 36-33
Petruska, who just turned 66, said in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story the reasons why she has decided to end her time as a coach icludes…parents, private schools and AAU.
“They (parents) just keep getting worse. It’s been getting worse ever since I started coaching.”
“It’s this sense of entitlement from kids and parents. It’s these parents that are, like, ‘What do you mean my daughter isn’t playing? She played AAU and I spent a lot of money to have her playing.’
“I was as fair as anybody with players. People said I played favorites sometimes. Did I have favorites? Sure. They were the kids who came into the gym every day and worked. That 2018 team that won the state. I had maybe 20-22 players and every one of them came every day and weren’t worried about everyone else. They just did what they were supposed to do.
“I know I’m old school. But my biggest fault was truthfulness. I was very truthful with players and parents. But they don’t always want to hear the truth. They don’t want to hear that they might not be good enough or they don’t play defense very well.”
About private schools Petruska said-
“In my 37 years that I’ve coached, I’ve had four Division I players. There are some private schools that have three or four every year.”
About AAU basketball Petruska said-
“I know there are some good AAU coaches. But most of them aren’t teaching kids anything about basketball. They just play and that’s it. A number of my players played AAU. I told them at one point this year that they all need to go and get a refund from their AAU program because they weren’t being taught anything about basketball other than being a ballhog and that it’s all about you.”
It is becoming common place to see coaches step away, in Ohio a very successful boys basketball coach stepped down. It also happens to private school coaches.
Lima Central Catholic (LCC) Boys basketball coach Frank Kill told the Lima News –
“Honestly over the last two years I have not found that joy where winning didn’t mean anything and I wasn’t satisfied and my wife looked at me with two weeks to go in the season and said, ‘if you are not happy, get out because life is too short,’ and I think what I have done over 13 years, I should be able to find that joy and it is just missing. Teaching is the same way. I am stepping away at the end of the school year and going in the opposite direction.”
Kill, like Petruska, won his share of games at LCC where he went 219-106 and won two OHSAA D III state championships (2014 & 2016).
Petruska and Kill….both were winners…the losers are the student-athletes who won’t have the opportunity to play for two veteran coaches.
Did you know?
Petruska was honored this season as the Coach of the Year –
story courtesy of Mars Area School District
Petruska Named Girls Basketball Coach of the Year
Head Coach Recognized for Successful Season
Dana Petruska, Mars Area High School Girls Varsity Basketball head coach, was named 2022-2023 Butler Eagle Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.
This season, Petruska led the Lady Planets to the second round of the PIAA Class 5A Girls Varsity Basketball Championship, after the team took sixth place in the WPIAL Championships. The team ended the 2022-2023 regular season with an overall record of 15-6 and tied for first place in Section 2-5A with a record of 9-3.
In 2018, Petruska led the Lady Planets to earn the PIAA Class 5A Girls Varsity Basketball Championship Title, the team’s first in school history. The team has advanced to the post-season play in each subsequent season.
Petruska was named the 2017-2018 Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State Class 5A Girls Basketball Coach of the Year; 2017-2018 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Girls Basketball Coach of the Year; and 2017-2018 Butler Eagle Girls Basketball Co-Coach of the Year.
A 1975 graduate of Deer Lakes High School, Petruska was recruited by the University of Pittsburgh Panthers Women’s Basketball Team, where she played under head coaches Jean Condo, Pat Wallace and Jean Balthaser.
Petruska served for 21 years as health & physical education teacher at Mars Area School District, retiring in 2018. She and her husband, Jim, live in Valencia and have three grown sons.