1-on-1: For Philly native Tom Shirley, being part of city's coaching scene is a blessing

1-On-1 with Matt Leon
September 20, 2019 - 4:00 pm
Tom Shirley.

Matt Leon/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Tom Shirley is preparing for his 31st season as the head women's basketball coach at Division II Jefferson University in East Falls. He is one of the nation's most successful coaches, with 777 career wins to his credit. His 2018-19 Jefferson team finished 29-3, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the last five years.

Shirley, who was born and raised in Roxborough and graduated from Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, is very proud to be a part of the Philadelphia basketball coaching community.

"I'm blessed to have been in this city, working for 31 years and growing up here," he said. "I would never do it different if I could do it over."  

Shirley has always enjoyed success at Jefferson (where he also serves as Athletic Director), but the last few years have been some of the best. He talks about one reason the program is getting even better.

"The culture is really pretty strong after 31 years," he said. "And I think there is a lot of respect for those that came before, but (the players) also want to be trendsetters, if you will. These last two classes are 55-9. That's really important to them to say they're 55-9." 

He still has a lot of coaching ahead of him, but he talks about when his career does come to a close and what he hopes people take away from it.

"Well, I hope they take away that we were consistent and we won a good number of games every year," he said. "I hope they take away that we did things the right way, that we put the student-athlete first, we focused on academics, we focused on graduation and we focused on helping them get a place in society."

You can listen to the entire interview with Tom Shirley by checking out "1-on-1 with Matt Leon." subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

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