Weekend of milestones for Jefferson's Tom Shirley

Matt Leon
November 12, 2018 - 3:20 pm
Jefferson head coach Tom Shirley now has 750 wins in his career.

Courtesy of Jefferson Athletics

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It was quite a weekend for Tom Shirley.

The Division II Jefferson University women's basketball coach saw his team open the season with two wins, beating Molloy on Saturday, 61-56 and then hammering Queens on Sunday, 90-62.

Each win represented an impressive milestone for Shirley. The Saturday win was his 600th at the helm of Jefferson (previously Philadelphia University and before that Philadelphia Textile) and the victory on Sunday was his 750th as a collegiate head coach. His first 149 wins came at Division III DeSales University. 

"Not such a great performance Saturday, but a real good performance Sunday, almost clinic-like, so great weekend," Shirley said. "To me, 600 is great, 750 is great, but 2-0 is the best."     

These are impressive lines on a resume, but Shirley takes it all in stride.

"The milestones to me mean that I'm getting old," he added. "Then all of a sudden you're looking at your mortality saying, 'Wow, I better start enjoying this even more because I don't have that much time left to do it.' I'm around a guy that has 1,076 wins (Jefferson men's coach and Basketball Hall of Famer Herb Magee), so I'm used to watching somebody coach for a long time and hopefully I have a few more years left in me."

Shirley has led Jefferson to the NCAA Tournament eight times (including three of the last four seasons) and he has won at least 20 games in 21 of his 29 seasons with the Rams.

"People talk about, 'How did you do it, how does it happen?,'" he said. "It happens with recruiting. You have to recruit good players and more importantly you have to recruit good people. If you can put that combination together, you don't have to be (legendary UCLA coach) John Wooden. You can just sit back and kind of put some things together and manage the game and let the kids do what they do."

Shirley's squad will play its home opener on Wednesday night, welcoming New York Institute of Technology to the Gallagher Center.

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