The Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District is in need of a new athletic director.
Lee Fisher is leaving the post after 15 years at the helm of the Mounties’ programs.
Fisher informed the school board of his intentions last week and he will retire officially on Nov. 12.
“After 15 years being the athletic director and 19 years of coaching girls’ basketball, I think it’s time to step aside and enjoy my family,” he said by phone Saturday afternoon.
The position has not yet been publicly posted by the district, and Fisher’s retirement is expected to come up at the school board’s next meeting Oct. 18.
Fisher has presided over a number of major accomplishments during his tenure, including adding a track and field program, the addition of an all-weather track at the high school, adding an artificial turf field inside the track this past summer, getting a new floor in the high school gymnasium and updating the basketball baskets.
He also has seen two state titles for the softball team and plenty of success for a number of other programs including volleyball, soccer, baseball and golf. The boys’ golf team this past week earned the District 6 Class AA team title.
However, P-O also has seen recent struggles for the basketball and football teams, with the latter in the midst of a 34-game losing streak, and a number of coaching changes for P-O teams.
“Hopefully you can work and help them get into the positions,” Fisher said. “Sometimes you need to, as coaches, develop our kids at the junior high level and don’t put too much emphasis on winning. Most of our coaches know what our philosophy is and try to adhere to it.”
While there have been a number of proud and tangible accomplishments, the favorite part of his job is actually with the athletes. He coached the girls’ basketball team for 19 seasons, 16 as a head coach, and takes great pride in seeing players head to college programs and even get into coaching.
“It’s not always about wins and losses,” said Fisher, who also is retired after serving 35 years as a member of the Pennsylvania State Police. “I always get a lot of satisfaction watching the kids having a good time and enjoying it.”
Fisher actually told the school board about his intentions in the early spring, and he was asked to stay in the position to help groom a successor.
Bob Mann was added as Fisher’s assistant over the summer and figures to take over the position in November, although Mann wants to wait until he has board approval before he talks about the job.
However, the brother of first-year football coach Mike Mann, knows there is work to do in some areas.
“Some (teams) are doing better than others,” Mann said. “Everybody’s trying to figure out what we can do (with football) to make that program better. We just don’t have the numbers … of kids playing.”
He does see stronger numbers in junior high programs that point to a better future.
Mann also is retired from the Pennsylvania State Police after 25 years on the job. He is a native of Philipsburg, is a P-O graduate and has coached a number of local teams over the years including Little League Baseball, youth football and junior varsity basketball.
He also appreciates the dedicated work that Fisher has put in over the years.
“You won’t find a better guy,” Mann said. “He’s been doing the job for 15 years. Everybody I talk to, everywhere I go, talks about working with one of the best athletic directors there.”
The outgoing athletic director doesn’t have any grand plans for retirement, other than continuing to take a seat in the bleachers for Mounties games.
Said Fisher of his future: “Probably athletics and read.”