Upper St. Clair’s Render becomes first WPIAL coach to reach 300 victories

Upper St. Clair, PA – While climbing the mountain of WPIAL coaching victories, Jim Render had company at the 200 level. But the Upper St. Clair coach is now sitting by himself at 300.

Upper St. Clair defeated visiting Baldwin, 48-0, in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs last night. While the Panthers (9-1) moved on to the quarterfinals, Render moved into WPIAL lore. It was the 300th win of his career.

“I wasn’t sure we would do it this year, but I had it in the back of my brain,” Render said.

Although eight active WPIAL coaches have won more than 200 games, Render is the first in WPIAL history to win 300. His record is 300-98-6.

Render, 63, also becomes only the fourth coach in Pennsylvania history to win 300 games. The others are Berwick’s George Curry, Valley View’s Mike Pazzaglia and Central Bucks West’s Mike Pettine. Curry and Pazzaglia are still coaching, and Curry is the state’s all-time winner with a record of 386-82-4.

Render is in his 37th year of coaching high school football. In 27 years at Upper St. Clair, he has a record of 245-67-1. Before coming to Upper St. Clair, he coached at Uniontown and Carrollton, Ohio. He had a 43-25-3 record at Uniontown and a 12-6-2 mark at Carrollton.

“I’m very happy that these kids were the ones that put me over,” Render said. “Now I can worry about the next 100.”

In last night’s game, Pat McShane fired three touchdown passes in the first half as the Panthers raced to a 41-0 lead at the break. His scoring tosses went 17 yards to David Shine, 44 yards to Jon Paul Zelik and 11 yards to Adam Chrissis.

McShane completed 6 of 7 for 133 yards, and Dane Conwell carried nine times for 75 yards, including a 26-yard score.

Baldwin (3-7) ended the season with four consecutive defeats. The Highlanders haven’t won a playoff game since 1991, going 0-9 in the interim.

The win gave Render a 28-17 record in WPIAL playoff games. Including PIAA playoff games, he has a 32-19 record in the postseason.

Fewer than 100 high school football coaches nationally have won 300 career games, but Render is one of four in the country who won his 300th game in the past two weeks. The other three did it the weekend of Oct. 21-22.

Bob Lacouceur, coach at legendary De La Salle High in Concord, Calif., had a 300-19-3 record. Matt Senffner of Providence Catholic in Illinois became the first 300-game winner in his state and had a record of 300-113-1. Bill Mignault of Ledyard, Conn., had a record of 300-124-5.

The WPIAL could have another 300-game winner if Joe Hamilton sticks around at Blackhawk High School. His team’s Class AAA playoff victory against Yough last night gives him a 290-128-11 record.

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