JACKSON TWP — Leading Seneca Valley’s girls basketball program this season will be a new head coach — sort of.
Todd Schoeffel, 51, who led the Raiders during two previous stints, was approved to fill the position once again during a school board meeting Nov. 19.
Schoeffel takes over the program following the resignation in October of Rob Lombardo, who stepped down “to focus on career and family.”
Lombardo served as head coach for nine years, guiding SV to the WPIAL playoffs the past five seasons. The Raiders finished 11-11 last year.
“Being the head coach at Seneca Valley was one of the most rewarding things I could ever have dreamt of doing,” said Lombardo. “We created a family culture with the girls basketball team.”
Schoeffel was first approved last summer to be one of Lombardo’s assistants.
“I was not expecting to be the head coach,” said Schoeffel, “but when Rob’s situation came about, there was a meeting between me, the other assistants and (SV athletic director Heather Lewis). We talked about what our options were. I talked to my family about it, did some searching and decided to throw my name in.
“My daughter, Taylor, is a junior on the swim team. Their meets are held the same nights as our basketball games and it is going to kill me to not be there. Up until now, I haven’t missed anything with her.”
Schoeffel’s first two stints as head coach at SV were 1994-2002 and 2003-06. He has a career record of 151-129.
He remained busy since last calling the shots for the Raiders, serving as an assistant coach for North Allegheny’s girls for two seasons before moving on to aid SV’s boys for the last eight seasons.
Schoeffel has been a volunteer assistant for Seneca Valley’s varsity football team the last two years, but he knows leading a program requires a different type of commitment.
“I closed the door on being a head coach years ago,” said Schoeffel. “I’m very familiar with the time commitment you have to have and was comfortable with being an assistant. That said, the fire came back pretty quick for me. I’m enjoying it.”
Schoeffel cited anxiety as a reason for his resignation in March 2006. He hopes to better deal with the stresses of coaching this time.
“I can’t answer that yet,” he said. “I’ve done OK with the shootouts we’ve been involved in, but those are shootouts. When the wins and losses are for real, hopefully I can deal with it differently.
“I do know this,” he added, “when I’m involved in something, I can’t go halfway. I’m all in.”