McCall to lead Lady Pirates

Shannon McCall has been driving back and forth between Williamsburg and State College to work for the last 11 years. For the last seven, she’s balanced those days with helping raise her son, Jase.

It’s a busy life. But sometimes opportunities present themselves that one has to make time for, and one of those presented itself to McCall a few weeks ago.

The chance to coach the Williamsburg Community High School girls basketball program.

“I tried to decide if I could do it while managing my career and still putting my family first,” said McCall, known as Shannon Reigh before she married Mike McCall a little more than 10 years ago. “When I saw the position was open, I just couldn’t pass it up.

“I bleed blue and white.”

The school is happy the former Williamsburg standout decided to throw her hat in the ring, and its board of directors hired her at Tuesday night’s meeting to take over for Jim Michelone helming the Lady Pirates’ ship.

McCall, 32, is happy they decided to give her the wheel.

“I was apprehensive, I was nervous, and I was excited,” McCall said of waiting to find out if she was hired. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Another one-time Lady Pirate star, Tracy Colbert, coached McCall’s senior year. She thinks Williamsburg made a great choice.

“I think Shannon will do a fantastic job,” said Colbert, a 1,000-point career scorer who started on a pair of Williamsburg District 6 champion and state semifinalist teams in the early 1990s. “She knows the Lady Pirate tradition. She’s smart. She knows what it takes to be successful.”

A multi-year Juniata Valley League all-star who went on to play at Pitt-Johnstown, McCall was a junior forward for the Williamsburg team that went undefeated through the regular season, finished runner-up for the D6 Class 1A championship and made it to the second round of states before being eliminated by eventual PIAA champion Kennedy Catholic in 2000-01. It marked the conclusion of a remarkable decade-long run for the Lady Pirates, who made two state finals and won a state title in that span.

McCall’s goal is ambitious: nothing less than returning to that caliber of program.

“I’m excited because I want to bring back the Lady Pirate program to the way it was when I played,” McCall said. “I want to get the program back to being in state championship contention and make memories again like I made when I played.”

There definitely will be no shortage of opponents in the Inter-County Conference North Division to push McCall and her team to its limits. Juniata Valley returns all five starters from a team that finished as state runner-up, Bellwood-Antis is led by all-state sophomore Alli Campbell, who has a scholarship offer from national champion South Carolina, Claysburg-Kimmel regularly puts a solid squad on the court and Glendale just hired Kurt Mottern, who has college experience, as its new coach.

Williamsburg lost all-state foreign-exchange-student post player Laura Barhacs, but three starters return, and McCall likes the challenge.

“I helped coach some of these girls when I was a volunteer assistant with the junior high. I already have a relationship with them,” McCall said. “I want to create a positive atmosphere. I want to meet the girls and establish a good relationship. I want to show them my passion for the game and have it come out in the way I coach, and I want them to see the dedication needed to have a successful program.”

In addition to two years helping the Lady Pirate junior high girls program, McCall also has coached her son’s team for the past two seasons. She is employed as a software engineer at Raytheon.