The Phoenix Reporter and Item (

PAC-10 co-champs honored on 25th anniversary

By Barry Sankey, Sports Editor, bsankey@,

Monday, September 30, 2013

PHOENIXVILLE - There was an added attraction to the Sept. 20 football clash between Phoenixville and Pottstown at Washington Field.
The contest occurred 25 years after the Phantoms and Trojans shared the Pioneer Athletic Conference championship back in 1988. At halftime of this season’s game, the Phantoms honored the coaches and players from that squad.
The head coach was Bill Shirk, who is now the principal of Upper Perkiomen High School. His assistant coaches on the silver anniversary team included Joe Bogus and Bill Thornton, who are both still assistants with the Phantoms; as well as Hank Coyne, a veteran offensive line coach at Owen J. Roberts who still teaches in the Phoenixville Area School District.
Four deceased players from the 1988 team were recognized. They included Jim Lloyd, Chris Minor, Eric Rife and John Neher.
Living players from the team who returned to their alma mater included Tom Sierzega, Joe Simon, Baxter New, Todd Shine, Steve Tufillaro and Ed Hartman.
Shirk and his family still reside in Phoenixville. The two sons both starred for the Phantoms. Bill was a star quarterback for Phoenixville’s PAC-10 championship team under head coach Bill Furlong in 2005 that finished with a perfect 9-0 league record and went 10-2 overall.
Shirk was also a star catcher for the baseball team and went on to become a starting quarterback at Millersville University. Younger son Tony Shirk was a track & field star in the pole vault and became a mainstay at Duke University.
“I was able to direct these gentlemen who helped establish my foundation,” said Shirk. “Phoenixville has been a blessing for me. I have been in education for 29 years.”