Joe Sindelar has been named as the new principal at Pawhuska High School, where he will take the place of longtime local educator Rod Pitts.

Pitts, who had been PHS principal for the past six years, announced plans to retire when he submitted his letter of resignation earlier this month, school officials said.

Pawhuska Board of Education members voted to hire Sindelar July 15, following a relatively brief search.

For the past seven years, Sindelar had been middle school principal at another Osage County district — the Woodland Public Schools in Fairfax. Sindelar also served as head football coach at Woodland High School, where he directed the Cougars to a Class A state title in 2010.

Woodland won 27 straight games under Sindelar before losing in the 2011 championship game. The Cougars advanced to last year’s Class B playoffs after switching to an eight-man football format for the first time.

Sindelar said he had intended to quit coaching prior to the 2010 season, but was pressed into service by the late summer resignation of Woodland’s previous coach.

Previously, Sindelar won championships in 1993, 1994 and 2003 during his 12 years as head coach of the Morrison Wildcats. He began coaching at Morrison in 1984 and was part of the state record 95-game winning streak compiled by the school.

The newly-hired high school principal said he is excited about starting the new job in Pawhuska. Sindelar called it "a career opportunity that was too good to pass up."

Pitts has been a public educator for 25 years, with long stints spent as a teacher, coach and administrator. After working for the Pawhuska schools from 1984 to 2000, Pitts returned in 2007 following an absence of seven years when he was a coach and administrator at Skiatook and Chandler.

Approximately half a dozen certified positions remain vacant in the Pawhuska School District.

Earlier this year, local officials voted to eliminate the post of assistant principal at PHS. They cited economic factors related to decreased state and federal funding.