Our Inspiration

Don Shirley (1950 – 2005)


Article about Coach Shirley

Don was a graduate of Shippensburg High School and Shippensburg University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Masters Degree of Arts in English. Don was head of the English Department at Mechanicsburg Area High School, where he was the Varsity Boys baseball coach with 34 years of service as a teacher and Head Coach.

He was a member and an Ordained Elder of St. James Presbyterian Church, Mechanicsburg, where he organized the church fall festival events. Don played baseball for Shippensburg University, where he was named All-Conference catcher his senior year, and for the former Shippensburg Triple A’s and the Mt. Holy Twilight baseball teams. As the Head Coach of Mechanicsburg High School, Coach Shirley’s teams compiled a record of 471 wins and 228 losses. His teams won 9 League/Division Championships; qualified for 18 District III Tournaments, competed in 11 District Finals and 7 District Semi-Finals; and played in 2 PIAA State Tournaments. The team accomplishment that Coach Shirley was most proud of was being the first four-time winner of the Cumberland Valley Umpire’s Association “George Wrightstone Sportsmanship Award.”

Coach Shirley has had over 70 players go on to play baseball in college and had 2 players go on to play Major League Baseball. Coach Shirley also conducted Little League “Extra Innings” Baseball Camps for East Pennsboro Youth Athletic League and Mechanicsburg Recreation Department. Don Shirley’s battle with cancer inspired the Penn State football team’s “Lift For Life” organization, which raises money and awareness for rare diseases such as kidney cancer. Don started the first high school chapter of “Lift For Life” at Mechanicsburg Senior High School.