Bethel Park boys basketball coach Ben O’Connor steps down
By Mike White
Ben O’Connor still plans to coach.
“But it will just be on Little League fields, elementary school gyms and flag football,” O’Connor said with a laugh.
O’Connor resigned Thursday as boys basketball coach at Bethel Park High School. He spent six seasons at Bethel Park and was successful, averaging 16 wins the past four years and making the playoffs four times. His reason for stepping down was his family. O’Connor, 38, and his wife, Aimee, have children ages 4, 5 and 7. His father also has battled health issues.
“I want to be involved with my kids and I want to coach things they’re involved in,” O’Connor said. “With my kids growing and my dad’s health, I said ‘OK, if you make a mistake by not coaching, but you’re a better dad and son, that’s OK.’ But if you make a mistake by coaching, then that’s not good.”
O’Connor has done well in lifting up programs. A former Keystone Oaks player, O’Connor became coach at his alma mater in 2000. He took over a team that was 0-22 the previous year and led them to the WPIAL playoffs. He was 56-46 in four seasons there.
He then was an assistant at Westminster College for two years before becoming Fox Chapel’s coach in 2006. The Foxes had missed the playoffs three consecutive seasons, but O’Connor made the playoffs his first year and the WPIAL semifinals in 2007. He stayed at Fox Chapel for four seasons before taking over Bethel Park in 2010. His 14-year record is 195-148.
“The past four years at Bethel were the best,” said O’Connor, who is a guidance counselor at Fox Chapel. “This is not a lifelong thing, never coaching again. For now, though, it’s the right call.”