PHOENIXVILLE - Leo Scoda has decided the time is right to step aside now.
The man who built Phoenixville Area High School boys tennis into a dynasty in the old Ches-Mont League and continued on in the Pioneer Athletic Conference has submitted his retirement letter after 51 years at the helm of the Phantoms. It is effective immediately.
The 72-year-old Scoda, a retired senior high school biology teacher and former mayor of the borough of Phoenixville, devoted countless hours to the tennis program, both during the school year and then again during the months with the recreation program.
Scoda achieved an overall record of 689 victories, 126 defeats and one tie during his career. He coached the boys from the inception of the program in 1964 through 2014. He also coached the girls from 1977 through 1982 and recorded a 61-17-0 mark with them.
"That first year I would never have dreamed that my coaching career would extend for some 51 years," Scoda wrote in his retirement letter to new PAHS Athletic Director Matt Gionta, Principal Dr. Craig Parkinson, Superintendent Dr. Alan Fegley and School Board president Joshua Gould. "It has been an honor and a privilege to have touched the lives of so many fine young men as I watched them grown and develop into top athletes. Our tennis players have brought honor and recognition to Phoenixville Area High School as they won 34 league championships in the Ches-Mont and Pioneer Athletic Conference.
"Their record includes numerous league and District 1 singles and doubles championships with the crowning achievement the two PIAA State Doubles championships. If I could, I would thank all of the athletic directors and principals who have directly helped me in building an outstanding tennis program. Of course, to the school board that decided to institute tennis as a sport in 1964, and to take a chance on hiring me as the first coach, my utmost thanks to all the boards thereafter that continued to support the tennis program and help me to build an outstanding program."
Scoda coached in the former Ches-Mont League for 23 years from 1964 through 1986. During that time, he registered a 187-33 record with the boys and 52-15 with the girls for a log of 239-48.
During his tenure in the PAC-10 from 1987 through 2014, Scoda was 240-12. His overall league record with the two circuits combined was 479-60. His non-league record was 210-66-1.
Scoda's boys team won 34 league championships, 11 in the Ches-Mont and 23 more in the PAC-10. In the Ches-Mont, Phoenixville won titles in 1969, 1970, '˜74, '˜75, '˜76, '˜79, '˜80, '˜81, '˜82, '˜83 and '˜84. The Phantoms then ruled the PAC-10 from 1987 through 2008 and then again in 2012.
Scoda had numerous outstanding individual talents as well. Tim McAvoy captured District 1 Singles titles in 1975 and 1976. McAvoy and Rob Vance also combined to win the District 1 Doubles crown in 1974. Jim McAvoy and Jay Defibaugh teamed to win District 1 Doubles in 1983.
In Class AA, Tom McAvoy and Kyle MacLelland captured PIAA State and District 1 top honors in 2007, and Mike Potts and Steve Tassone finished atop the district in 2009.
Phoenixville's 2005 edition captured the District 1 Class AA team championship.
Scoda is originally from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Area. He came to Phoenixville and made it his home after graduating from Penn State University.
Follow Barry Sankey on Twitter @BarryBSankey1.