By Ed Farrell
Herald Assistant Sports Editor
Gene Sarazen and Sharon High girls’ basketball became synonymous with success during his 9-year tenure as Lady Tigers’ taskmaster; however that era has ended.
Sharon City Schools Superintendent John Sarandrea confirmed that Sarazen submitted his letter of resignation last week, citing “personal reasons.”
Sarandrea emphasized the school board has not yet acted on Sarazen’s resignation, but likely will do so at its Aug. 13 work session. The school board’s regular monthly meeting is scheduled Aug. 20.
Repeated attempts by The Herald to contact Sarazen via telephone were unsuccessful.
The move effects a complete overhaul of the school’s roundball programs. This past spring Jason Rankin — previously New Castle High girls’ cage coach — was hired to replace Justin Magestro as Sharon’s boys’ coach, ending the latter’s 3-year Tigers’ tenure.
Previously, Sarazen served as Magestro’s top assistant during Magestro’s successful stint as Reynolds girls’ head coach.
Sarazen skippered Sharon to a handful of 20-win seasons, highlighted by the 2005-06 campaign that concluded 28-2. That season Sharon secured the District 10 Class AA crown via a victory over Lakeview (54-48), then posted a pair of PIAA playoff wins over Wilkinsburg and Shady Side Academy. Ultimately the Lady Tigers bowed to Westmont-Hilltop in the western regional semifinals.
Also, Sharon secured 20-win seasons in 2010-11 (20-6), 2009-10 (20-5), 2006-07 (23-6) and 2004-05 (20-5).
With the exception of Sarazen’s initialt squad (2003-04, that finished 9-14) all of his teams finished with winning records. A trio of those Lady Tigers’ teams (’10-11, ’09-10 and ’06-07) lost D-10 title tilts, most recently to perennial PIAA powerhouse Villa Maria.
This past season the Lady Tigers tallied a 15-8 ledger, losing to Girard in their D-10 tournament lidlifter.
Sarazen’s Lady Tigers totalled a 163-66 won-lost mark, a 71.1 winning percentage — made more impressive by the fact Sharon competed in Class AAA during a segment of that time. As per PIAA enrollment guidelines, Sharon competed in AA during the past 2 years.
Sarandrea summarized, “The district is grateful to Coach Sarazen for all the years of service he put in. I can honestly say I enjoyed watching his teams compete, and for the most part the girls had a really good experience playing for him.
“We wish him well and thank him for his years of service,” Sarandrea emphasized.