After reaching another milestone and participating in his daughter’s senior recognition night, questions began to surround Tim McConnell’s future coaching basketball at Chartiers Valley High School.
“People might not remember, I coached many years before my kids,” McConnell said. “I plan on coaching many more years once Megan graduates.”
McConnell has spent the past two seasons coaching the Colts girls team and eight years before that were spent leading boys teams, which included his sons, T.J. and Matty.
McConnell has been coaching basketball, however, for 27 seasons, compiling a 604-146 record before this week’s action. He has guided Chartiers Valley to 16 section titles and six WPIAL championships. His teams earned 20 PIAA tournament berths and were state runners-up twice.
Last season, he led the girls program to a PIAA championship. In addition to a section and district title, the Colts rolled up a perfect 30-0 season. Including this season, the Colts girls basketball team is 52-0 under McConnell.
On Jan. 27, 2020, the Colts defeated Trinity 67-48 and McConnell reached the 600-win milestone.
“Just to be recognized with people before me that have accomplished this is an honor,” said McConnell, who is already inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. “I didn’t get into coaching for self accolades.
“It has always been about passing on my passion for this great game to the players I coach.”
McConnell also enjoyed a successful playing career. In high school, he captained Seton LaSalle to the WPIAL finals in 1982 and Waynesburg College to an NAIA tournament appearance and a 27-2 record in 1986. He also set Waynesburg records for assists in a game and season.
Alas, at only 5-8, playing beyond that level was virtually impossible.
“As a young child I did dream of being a pro,” McConnell said. “I realized the pros was not attainable so my next best option to stay involved in basketball was coaching.”
McConnell’s passion for the sport was CV’s fortune. Before his arrival, the Colts won just three section titles in 1975, 1976 and 1979. The year before he was hired, the Colts finished 5-17 overall.
McConnell’s success was immediate. In 1993-94 the Colts went 17-8 and reached the WPIAL playoffs. Within four seasons, they had back-to-back Class AAA titles in 1997 and 1998.
Through the years, he relished the victories as well as the eight seasons he was able to coach his sons.
T.J. scored more than 2,000 career points and led CV to a WPIAL championship and PIAA runner-up finish 2010. T.J. now plays in the NBA for the Indiana Pacers after a successful stint with the Philadelphia 76ers. Meanwhile, Matty also played on a WPIAL winner before excelling at Robert Morris University.
However, after a quarter century of coaching, fatigue set in and McConnell sought a solution.
“I loved coaching the boys,” he said, “but I felt I needed a change.”
That change was shifting to coaching the Colts girls team.
“It has been a really enjoyable experience,” he said.
McConell said he had mixed emotions about reaching the 600-win milestone, which came against his sister, Kathy McConnell-Miller, who is in her first season coaching at Trinity.
“It was very touch to coach against my sister,” he said. “I never imagined I would even get to 600 victories, let alone coach against a family member.”
Family is particularly important to McConnell, who has seven sibling, most of whom excelled in basketball.
Tom, the eldest of the McConnell siblings, coaches the Indiana University of Pennsylvania womens team. Mike is a Division I basketball official. Suzie McConnell Serio was a two-time Olympian and WNBA performer.
And, of course, there are McConnell’s three offspring. All three of Shelly and Tim’s children earned scholarships to play the game in college. Megan is ready to play at Duquesne University this fall.
“I am thankful for the 10 years that I was able to coach my children,” McConnell said. “It’s been very enjoyable. I have been able to spend so much time with them doing the thing we all love.”