One of the winningest coaches in high school football history and a WPIAL legend announced his resignation this week. Upper St. Clair’s Head Coach Jim Render announced that he would be resigning from his position after 40 years as the football coach.
Over that time Render took the Upper St. Clair Panthers to the playoffs 38 times. He won 23 conference titles, five WPIAL championships and took home the state title two times over the last four decades. His run of success is unquestionable.
“I have had the privilege of serving as head coach for the Upper St. Clair football program for 40 years,” Coach Render said. “During that time, the school district’s football program has achieved great success, and many young men have gone on to have outstanding collegiate football careers as well as remarkable success in their chosen professions.”
Recently Render was able to surpass 400 wins in his coaching career. He is the only coach in WPIAL history to amass that many wins and is one of just 29 coaches across the nation to sustain that much success at the high school level.
“It starts when you are watching the older players, and you see the success they have,” 1998 alum Mac McCardle noted on his sustained success. McCardle remains the only Panther player to have his jersey retired at Upper St. Clair. “When you come into that program you know that it is one of the best and you are expected to win.”
Render was inducted into the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. Render also was recognized with the Lou Holtz Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.
This year, he was nominated for the Don Shula 2018 High School Coach of the year award. The award recognizes high school football coaches that display the integrity, achievement, and leadership. Render is one of the 31 nationwide nominees for the award.
Render started his program by preaching a winning culture from the bottom to the top and it has grown into a program that has brought success on and off of the field. While Sean Lee can stand as a shining example for how far a player can go under the coaching of Render, what is more impressive is the number of players he brought through his program to see succeed in life off of the football field.
“His program teaches a work ethic,” McCardle added. “They always preach ‘do the right thing,’ and when you go onto college and other areas of life, those lessons still apply today.”
Render has done a great job at winning on the field, building a culture that translates off of the field, and it has mainly been done with building strong relationships. McCardle noted that he and numerous other alumni still keep in touch with Render, and anytime they are in town, Render is one of the first names they call.
“I think looking back at how fun the overall perception was,” McCardle mentioned of his days at USC. “The relationships I built with him and the other guys, I will never forget.”
Winning on and off of the field and building relationships for life is what the core of high school football is all about. In that regard, Jim Render put together a perfect career.