Mars AD Heinauer stepping down
ADAMS TWP — For over 30 years, Scott Heinauer has overseen the athletic programs at Mars Area High School. He's watched many athletes and teams strive for and in many cases, attain greatness.
He is proud of the success the Planets have achieved on his watch as athletic director and also comfortable with his decision to retire from the position.
The Mars School Board approved Heinauer's decision to step down at a meeting Tuesday night. His last day will be Aug. 5.
He served as the school's varsity football coach for 30 seasons (1992-2021), during which he won over 200 games and reached the WPIAL title game twice, but the position was opened in January.
Heinauer did not reapply and former Pine-Richland head coach Eric Kasperowicz was hired to fill the void in April. The former insists his decision to retire as athletic director is not connected with no longer leading the Planets on the gridiron.
"I've been thinking about retiring for a few years," said Heinauer, 61. "I looked at the finances involved with it and to do it now, it just makes sense. The time is right.
"At a school the size of Mars, with as many sports that we have, being an athletic director is a 24/7 job. I'll still be working until my last day to make sure things are ready to go for whoever they bring in."
Heinauer came to Mars as a Social Studies teacher in 1987, previously teaching at Moon, Montour and his alma mater, Sto-Rox.
"They asked me to be athletic director in 1988, but at that point, it wasn't a full-time job," he said. "It started off with me getting one period every day to carry out those duties. Then it became two periods and kept increasing from there."
By 1990, the job required all of Heinauer's working hours. He set out to give each athletic program at Mars equal opportunity to succeed.
"You think about some schools and one sport immediately comes to mind," he said. "One program has a lot of success and the others are just average or below average. I didn't want that to be the case at Mars. A lot of the sports teams here were not very competitive when I started."
Heinauer was involved in the hiring process for longtime coaches in the district, including Blair Gerlach and Chris Knauff (soccer), Rob Carmody (boys basketball) and Mark Varlotta (tennis), among others. He also was in favor of the rehiring of girls basketball coach Dana Petruska, who had coached the Planets for 20 seasons and returned in 2015.
Each of those sports have met with sustained winning at Mars. During Heinauer's tenure, the school has claimed nine state team championships.
"The coaches, athletes and community have all been a huge part of the success and it's something I'm proud of," said Heinauer. "I care about athletics and I care about kids."
He was also directly involved with turf playing surfaces being installed at the football stadium and varsity softball field.
With much more free time on the horizon, Heinauer isn't ruling out getting involved again in high school sports, specifically football.
"I've had some offers to coach, but I probably won't this season," he said. "I'm going to take some time to relax, maybe go on vacation and see what happens."