New Castle News

April 11, 2012

Laurel High: Tinstman out as basketball coach

Joe Simon
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Mike Tinstman has coached his last game as boys basketball coach at Laurel High School.

The veteran coach and school board president Tim Redfoot both confirmed that the district has opened the job held by Tinstman for the last nine years.

Redfoot said the job “has opened” following a Laurel School Board meeting last night, referring further questions to Superintendent Dr. Sandra Hennon, who left as soon as the meeting ended.

“You might want to talk to our superintendent because it sort of went through the administration,” Redfoot said.

Tinstman, 61, made it clear during a later interview that he would have liked to continue coaching the Spartans.

“I wasn’t happy with the past two seasons, but I was hoping to get a chance to turn it around,” said Tinstman, whose team went 2-20 during the 2011-2012 season and 5-16 the previous year. “But there were some parents who weren’t happy with the past two seasons, so the school district decided to open the position.

“If there weren’t people who were upset, I would still be the coach, there’s no doubt in my mind. Usually, in any situation like this one, the decision of the school district reflects the concerns of the community.”

Tinstman also served as the Spartans head basketball coach from 1976 to 1991 before being dismissed. He returned and enjoyed some success, especially during the ’04-05 and ’09-10 seasons when he led Laurel to the postseason. The Spartans beat Monessen, 45-44, in a preliminary-round game in 2009-10, finishing the year with a 13-8 record, and defeated Wilkinsburg, 57-50, in another preliminary-round game in the 04-05 season, ending the year with a 14-8 mark.

Tinstman recorded a 76-121 record during his second tenure, including two playoff appearances. Tinstman, who also serves as athletic director, plans to retire from teaching secondary mathematics at the end of the school year. He will be retained as athletic director, a position he’s held for the last five years.

“I do want to thank the community and the school district for the opportunity I’ve had as a teacher and a coach,” Tinstman said. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with some fine young men and women. When you give 36 years to a district as a teacher, there’s always a lot of rewards. I’ve been blessed with many things.”

Tinstman could decide to re-apply for the job, but he said that won’t happen.

“It wasn’t that long ago that we had some success, but I don’t see the benefit of doing that,” he said. “The school district had made its decision, which I respect, so I’ll move on.

“I would love to continue, but it’s not meant to be.”

Tinstman didn’t rule out a return to coaching, but he said he doubts it will be in the near future if and when it happens.

“Will I ever coach again? I don’t have any immediate plans for that,” Tinstman said. “Could I end up helping somebody at some time? I wouldn’t say no. I love coaching and teaching basketball, but as of right now, there’s really no plans for the future.

“But I’ve been around long enough to learn to never say never.”

(Email: j_simon@ncnewsonline.com)