Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode · 2 years ago

Eric Kasperowicz

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The head coach of Pine-Richland football, Eric Kasperowicz, joins the huddle as we talk; playing with Lavar Arrington, the influence of coach pappy, and Eric's mindset for coaching high school players. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

I am former NFL quarterback, gust for I played quarterback fifteen years in the NFL. This is my show called huddle up with gusts. Each week I team up with my longtime friend Dave Hagar and we talked with guests about how sports shape their lives. Pro Athletes, business executives, community leaders, everyone has a story to tell about sports. We invite you to huddle up with gusts this week in the huddle. During his senior season and North Hills high school, this whippill legend manage to lead his team to the state championship and earn the covenet honor of player of the year. Although scholarship offers beckon from near and far, this hometown hero chose to represent the city he loves by staying right here in the bird and playing for Pitt. After finishing his college career at Pitt, this competitive, natural born leader didn't have to go far to find success. In two thousand and seventeen he delivered a state championship as head coach of the Pine Richland Rams. Please welcome into the huddle, Eric Kasparovitch. Right now we're going to get in the huddle with my partner, Dave here and we got a great guest on. Dave, want to introduce our guest today because I think you tell the story the best. Well, we're going to get into his high school exploits, which I still I talked to gusts about theom. This might sound weird, but we actually got a long discussion a bottom over some beers. But I've known Eric now for maybe eight or nine years. He and my brother in law coach together at Piemans from football. Eric said, tremendous success as a coach at plane richland. We're going to hear today. You know his roots, where he started, how he began with sports and where it's taking him now. So in a huddle with us today's Eric Kasparovich, Whippiel Hall of Famer, Hey, coach at prime richland. So thanks for joining us today. Yeah, thanks for having me on as a pleasure to be here. You know, awesome city of Pittsburgh and, like you said, just kind of you know what we're all about here. I mean I think Pittsburgh special place it you always hear people you know from Pittsburgh and up coming back, and you know I've I've never left. I born and raised, grew up in Pittsburgh. I went to Pitt had some opportunities to leave and ultimately, you know, stayed here. So I've been here all my life and decide to talk about you got a little better pittsburgh accent than Dave, and I think so. Well, I have more of an Arizona accent. Is the Arizona even have an ADDEA. It's all it's transienting on the Harik. What one of the things we always like to ask and start with is, is what was that influence early for you for sports? Was a your father or your brother and the idol you had that used to watch all the time? Yeah, definitely my family, my father, you know, at a young age and still just some good values, and not just myself, my brother and my sister. You know, we're always outside and he was an athlete in high school, so it was always out catching ball and you know, we're on the yard or heck, when we moved out this way, we actually grew up in Avalon Bellevue, Avalon, which in the USGATE school district. When I was in sixth grade, moved to the North Hill School district and just always instill in kind of those values and getting outside and playing, and I think that's something a lot of these kids nowadays lose. You know, it's so structured and so overcoached in and you know over taught that these kids just don't go out and play anymore. And I know some people say it, but I I really really push out on my kids nowaday not just my own personal kids, but even my players. There's Times where we'll go out to practice and we'll get into this a little bit, but you know, still play. Go, just go, pick up your game yourself and figure things out solve problems on your own. And so, getting back to my original point, my father and my you know, my mother, I really just urged us to get outside and be active and developed a love with sport growing up. I'm going to you know, being in Pittsburgh, city of champions, you know, so going to the pirate games and stealer games and Penguin Games and just kind of, you know, grew up through high school that way and then being in an awesome high school as North Hills. You know, back in the s they were one of the top programs in the country. So they want to own yeah, mythical. There was no win it all back then. Yeah, but they did what they could. Back then it was based on reputation and number kids going to college. And Yeah, so they won the Mythical USA Today National Championship in one thousand nine hundred and eighty seven, and I was a ripe, you know, sixth grader at the time looking up to those guys. They were like my idols and I'm going to do that one day. You know, that's kind of where it all started. Like one of my college I was going to ask there's still sign? I remember that. Eighty seven. Yep. Yeah, so that's still when you enter a couple different areas where you under Ross and Wesh you and it's still there. And actually when when I played we won the state, they actually put a little addition on the bottom of that. But yeah, it's a cool, cool thing to have in a small, little you know, you talked about these big districts now out of east and across the country. Just a small little, you know, area of West and North Hills to have the success that they had back in the day was pretty special. One of my college roommates and guys I play with, Mark Lasting, was on that use of sophomore. Okay, you know, I'm we graduate high school. They yeah, he was on that team. So I don't know how much...

...he played or or whatever, but he was alignment. He played with me at Tulsa. So we always called him to heat miser. So I don't know why, but he looked like a pro wrestler if I remember. Yeah, that long right, long are now. So he was a great he was a roommate from of mine for quite a few years. So, you know, one of the things you talked about was going out and playing like kids don't do that today. You don't see kids just pounding a basketball courts or in some empty field. Did you do that? Who was like your competitor? That you you know my older brother. I hadn't know brother two years above me. That you know, I just constantly lost to all my life at everything, whether it was checkers or horse in the backyard or pick up football, and then, you know, I just wanted to beat him and just wanted to beat him and ever anything we did and we always competed, it was it was good. I still my best friend of this day and you know, just kind of fallen his lead and eventually, as I grew up, I was able to beat him in some things and and then just, you know, the core group of friends when we got to school and hanging out and just being active and getting out doing doing things on our own. And, like I said, I think the big thing is we figured out things on our own. You know, it's everything so structured and and so coached. You know, you got to go to this personal trainer to do this for three times a week for, you know, an hour, and I guess there's a place for all that. You know, maybe when you get older, but as a kid, as a high school kid and definitely a middle school age kid, you need to go out and figured it out yourself. You know what you're good at, what pushes your buttons, how you can, you know, push yourself in different ways. Right now, women making do with what is available in terms of fields and stuff. We were talking to a guess before about creating whisketball fields and stuff. I like, I was telling them I still look for wifftball fields town. I'm driving. I'm gonna you know what that make you go? Waball, don't know what kids play whiffleball anymore, you know, I mean I never seen it matter how run Derby take the whifftball in the field and crank it over the fan. Never be like a nice said of hedges and you on, I'd be sweeting. Yeah, exactly, yea. So how much do you think it like all the different sports that you played when you were a kid helped you when you got older? Well, I think that multiple sports helped kids tremendously and I had my parent meeting the other night with with up at pine wrestling with my parents and I'm a big proponent of multiple sport athletes. You know, I want guys that obviously are bought into football, but I want guys that are active in other sports. They're coached by other people right there. oftentimes you're back that best athletes because they can different different movement patterns, different ranges of motion. Heck, they'd be tired of me after being with me all year anyway, right. And then you go into the whole injury aspect with over use of if I'm throwing a baseball twelve months out of the year, my shoulder was not going to last very long. So it's good to get a break from that and then go to football and then and then go to basketball or whatever your sports are. Maybe wrestling. Maybe Lacrosse is huge now, but just being active, being with different, you know, friend groups, being coached by different people, working different muscle groups, training different muscles. I think that's all so important. And when I was a kiddy and I did them all, I wanted to play every sport that I could. Actually, going into my high school career my goal was to be a twelve year or a twelve Letterman, twelve letter winner. So as a freshman, lettering in for sports throughout your high school career, right. So that was my goal. I end up tearing my acl pretty early on as a freshman and so I didn't happen. I couldn't do everything I wanted to do or I was urged not to do all the sports care those full tear. Wow, you came back for that. Yep, Yep, I actually tour it twice. Well, in college I did it again. Some words. So football. I was a big wrestler growing up, so I did football. In the fall of my freshman year I was moved up to the Varsity, starting for the Varsity team. Tour mycl I was going to plan to wrestle that year. I was a state champ wrestler as a sixth grader and the junior Olympics, baseball, and then I was going to track and do track and field because I again looking up to some of the older guys, a couple of the better athletes, the bender twins, who was a big name. That one played at Georgia Tech and the other North Carolina State. Remember them. So the one was a big baseball player and I saw that they let him run track as well, even though there's the same season. He'd compete in the invitations and whatnot. So that was kind of my goal when I was going to plan to do it as a freshman. After I tore my acl obviously it all kind of went down the hill, but I came back and still ran track and play for football. But back then this was nineteen ninety, one thousand nine hundred and ninety, so they didn't know if you could even make it back from an acl and there, especially around here. Yes, I was advised. You know, football's you think that's your things. Stay with that and I came back to run track after the fact. But so when you were young, did your dad coach you or did you have other coaches? Yeah, Throughout you sports, my dad was my baseball coach, coach me and you in youth football up until you got to the school age stuff. Yeah, he was there all the time and you know, he did it the right away and there's things, you know, good things he did with me and there's some things that, you know, along the way. I learned that as a parent now and as a father of three kids, that you know, I do a little bit differently with my kids, but I wouldn't be the man I am today without, you know, his leadership and how he was able to coach me, and those are times that, you know, I remember forever. Why see him on your sidelines now? All right, yeah, it's awesome, lucky to have them on my sidelines. That's been, I think, since two thousand and thirteen. He's been with me and he's they call him coach Pappy, and he's like, if I'm going to get the guy that's getting on the kids, they got to coach pappy and he'll love them up and he feeds him chocolate milk and peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches and that's great.

They love it. If they need an extra sticker, he might give me an extra helmet sticker or something but he's like that. He's like everybody's pappy on the team. Yeah, so you know my dad was when I was in senior little league, I was thirteen years old. I was pitching in my dad and my grandfather were my coaches. So the first pitch was a ball. I walked. The first batter and four pitches they stood up in a dug out reella right. The next batter I walked, they moved out halfway between the dug out in the third base line. The next batter I walked three guys in a row. They were on the sideline yelling at me. I walked the fourth batter and a run scores and they were livid like they were billy work for people. Yeah Right. And so after that I couldn't take it anywhere. Just kept yelling and screaming. I put my glove down and I only lived like a half mile and walked out the gate and walked home. My Dad didn't talk to me for two weeks. So it seems like your dad prochee a little bit differently than my dad, and that would and maybe they that's what they knew, right. I mean I didn't know any better and they loved him it carried on Hoo way through the NFL. Right, I call him up and he go why the hell would you throw that that guy? Like, what were you thinking? Like, yeah, but dad, I three four touchdowns, we won. I don't know. You know what I mean. That's how he was just an all we were. We were beating the team. This is two thousand and fourteen, the year we went to the state finals and lost. We were beating Seneca Valley that year. At half it was fifty nine, fifty nine two, nothing or fifty nine seven at half. So sure enough, we go up at halftime and started your off, take your shoulder pads off, you're done. We're putting Jav in right. My Dad's like not a good idea. They were good team. They were rank three and a whip people at the time. When we just smoked them, we count of came out of nowhere and sure enough we go back out. They had their starters in. First three times they scored or they got the ball. Score, score, score, before you know it his fift twenty one or fifty nine and twenty eight. Yeah, it's a running cloth. There's like maybe a minute after in the third quarter because we got the ball and we had our young kids in three plays, punt, three play and eventually the time things ran out of time and I think they might have made it fifty nine to thirty five, but I'm like, just relax, it's I don't care if we went by one point. I want to have my guys healthy. But I still get some I'm sure I'm some creative criticism any side line of games I would have played in the NFL. I don't think I would have played very long. You've had a lot of influence in your life by your family and it's so important and you know some some of us have great families. Of Us, you know, people don't have great families, but we all persevere through those things and we all learn and and how to deal with those different transitions and your story is great and it probably made you who you are today, for sure. And you know, I great coaches along the way as well. And once I got the high school coach, Jack McCurry, who's, you know, one of the best in the whole country, if not, you know the best. He's in the whole fame state hall of fame. Will pe a hall of fame, obviously, and learned a lot of values and lessons from him as well. He gave me a lot of opportunity. I was able to coach under him for a number of years. So, you know, again, another very valuable person to come. Yeah, I heard Jack didn't like to be on TV too much or do interviews. Oh really, I didn't know that TV as much, maybe because I wasn't paying attention. But yeah, he wasn't very good at the media in general. As far as interviews, I don't know. He was very, very, very he's old school, very old school, very confident in what he did. If anybody question anything, he liked it. But who can argue? It'll ton of success. Treated me the right way, you know. Again, you know, I think the best, best thing I can do is as a coach, as an educator, as a father's I try to take the best things I can from whoever I I see doing things and and kind of making my own and I took a number of things from him that I do today. Still not a lot of parent conferences with the Cook with Jack. No, they knew better that. I don't think in his thirty some years of coaching he had many parent conferences. They even try to approach him. Yeah, and he's Dad, my wife's Dad, Harry, coach for a long time acatanny and short coach jared, who you know. Yep, some of his stories are just absolutely classic and you know how he approached it and and what. So, going off of that, what offense did you roam with Jack? What were you guys doing? So we were very ahead of the times, you know. We were talked about the championship, the Jack One in one thousand nine hundred and eighty seven. When I was a young kid, they were the wishbone. Three running backs, two tight ends. Pounded through it I think twenty times in fifteen games. Right. Sure enough, transition three years later I get in there as a true freshman. We kind of phased out of that, but by the time I was a junior, senior, we were spread offense. We were eleven personnel, three receivers, one tight end, one running back, so pretty spread when you're talking back football. Back in the early s we threw it, you know, around a town. I think at the time I was the leading passer in the whip pill which since now, twenty some twenty five years later, I think I'm like seventeen on the list. Yeah, they just keep going. Yeah, that keep prosibly one at one time. Yeah, the next year somebody passed. But we were very, very, very, you know, wide open at the time, you know, getting spread them out. I was a I ran for a lot of a lot of yards. Had the Labarrington, who was a great NFL guy, Great College Guy. He...

...had him in the backfield so to be able to have that punch and we had a lot of guys up front. They were really good players. Averagely double digits per carry or something. Didn't he was like, yeah, I think it's like ten yards. Yeah, yeah, and he was on a freshman the time. But yeah, we were very, you know, wide open as an offense, which kind of gave teams threaded or keep. gave defenses some fits because they didn't know it is. Again, knows early s are going to lat up and cover three maybe play man to man, and Jack was ahead of the time and knew how to beat those and we had a couple past concepts. We ran it just I'd a receiver back then. Add eighty some catches. I think sixty two of those were on the same exact play right, because nobody could cover because they any ran certain defenses back then they didn't know it. Like Harry only ran wing tea, ran a Delaware wing tea in high school and like he never like we threw it a little bit like my high school career through forty three times I get the college a first college game I play, I probably through a game. It's like why? But those old school guys in it's a it's a testament yere coach that saw that that if I changed a little we might be able to beat these defenses. Yeah, a lot of those old school coaches did ever want to change. No, and then and they end up getting kind of passed by. You know, if they don't, because I think that's probably the best thing that we do. It Pine rission. We try to stay cutting edges as we can. I think we're very cutting edge, trying to stay one step ahead of everybody else. You know, we went to when I got there, I knew we couldn't beat central Catholic and North allegany just because we didn't have those monster kids. You know, we're a very small six a school, so we to find our niche. In our niche was just a bunch of good looking high school kids, you know, five foot eleven hundred seventy pounds. So if we couldn't line up and just run, run the ball and these guys, we could beat everybody except for the big dogs, right. So our niche was to spread them out and and use our skill a little bit. And I knew we weren't going to get many big time, big time level kids and that's kind of been our recipe for success. And then, you know, every once in a while you have a fielder covid come along, it could be a really special year. You might have the best uniforms in the whippield to. I appreciate that. Yeah, it's uniforms. We like them. You know, try to. You got to be smart with kids nowadays. You gotta gotta have the gear in the swag and you got to have that for the kids. They had sold doubts all about Instagram, twitter and social media. Now Down, you know, they're not putting an ugly uniform on social media. So you had a lot of SISS success in high school, you know, and you had to go through a lot. You know, you talked about it being a multiple sport athlete. Have an injuries to deal with, and so those transitions are very tough and a lot of people don't come back from those transitions. What drove you to be the best? Yeah, I think the big the first one was it was a freshman in high school, ACL Taar. Never knew, you know, I was getting tackled, but in nothing to with my knee. It just kind of tweaked the wrong way and never knew if, you I'd play again, you know. So I just knew one thing is work, work my butt off and try to get back. I came back and, you know, I was wasn't the same speed. Never quite had that what I had before, but just kind of persevered. I you know, great support from family and friends and actually made it back and, you know, had a good high school career. But those it was trying, you know, to be able to kind of go through that and, you know, again just that uncertainty. But I think again, that kind of made me what I am today and taught me a lot of values of you know, just life in general. That's what's the great thing about sports, is right, you know, it puts you in these situations that, you know, if you don't play sports, you necessarily don't don't do and you don't go through and you don't know how to get out of them, you know, and set you up for life. You still get asked about the state championship game. Yeah, quite often, that it's one of the classic finale's. Yeah, quite often. You know, incredible memories from that. I remember every play to the to the second. You could ask me anything about it and still remember it. Got Great Relationships, great friends and we great team. You know, a lot of just really good bond with those guys. I mean, you know, we talked about we weren't going to weren't going to drink alcohol. I mean that was a big thing, you know, especially with kids nowadays. You know, we tell them to make good choices, and hey, you shouldn't. You can't be a top level athlete and chewing to back here drinking alcohol as a going to that senior year and we were kids. We made a pack to each other that nobody was going to do that and we didn't do that. That hold that whole season. That was just one example, though, of how we kind of we're so close and it showed on the field. To me, I've always said to send doesn't matter what level you're on, but great teams are started in the locker room and and it sounds like you guys had that locker room where, you know, if if there's a set of guys over there, setting guys over here and side the guys over here, you're not going to win. But if you're all together and cheering for each other and pulling for each other and doing the same things, you got a lot of you got a great chance to be sexy and that started in middle school. That started and we grew up together and we grew up together on the playgrounds and out in the yards is screwing around and playing games and fighting with each other and making up and building relationships and having you know, there's a bunch of leaders. I mean I was a quarterback and I was one of the leaders for sure, but there's four or five of us that kind of just refuse to lose, refuse to accept anything less than the best you can g give. You know.

So so, I mean it sounds like your family was always very supportive of you. So Dave talked about you know, that the big game for you. And so what was your family like after the game? Like what? Man, I know you have great memories on the field, we can get that, but what do you remember after the game, about your family and your dad and your mom, everybody being there for yeah, just all being there. I mean it was crazy. It was thirty wind chill, a'l Tuna Mansion Park. It was December ninth, one thousand nine hundred and ninety three, just crazy cold. I mean the fans that we did have were all bunched in fight with power blankets over them after the game. was just incredible seeing them all there and being there and taking the bus ride up and the next day we had a huge celebrat. We didn't get back to I think zero in the morning. Game to N Endo about eleven or twelve at night. Gone in the bus ride him, came back. Big Parade down the middle, down the streets of West you fire trucks. We you know, I remember like it was yesterday. But being able to spend that with you know, with my teammates and then obviously my family, was awesome. Well, if in for those people that don't remember it, let me tell me if I got this right. You down fourteen seven. Is that fourteen zip with about five minutes left. Okay, so you score, make it fourteen seven. Ye, get the ball back. What is it? Fourth and goal from about the twenty eight. Yep, so we were fourteen nothing. Finally we were going to drive put a score together. Five minutes left. They got it back. Drove whatever we pointed us. We got it back with two and a half left. Two minutes twenty eight seconds left. Throw a pass, complete it. We're on our own thirty. Throw another pass, intercepted to twenty eight. Games over right. They get the ball back. How do you feel after? Demoralized, you know, but again, just kind of big thing that as a quarterback on don't the gust if you had the same kind of thing. When I made a mistake, I missed to miss a pass through an interception, fumbled. I was be damn if I am gonna go get an interception back or knock your head off and try to get the ball back. So had that opportunity. We got the ball back. They ran a three times time out. Time Out, time out. They pointed to us through the endzone. We got it our own twenty. I think there's a minute thirty now left. We had no timeouts. Back to those winds, right into our faces, thirty mile an hour right at us through a past five yards. Next play put Lavar Rton out is like a wide receiver through a deep post. They a safety back their plane cover three. I chucked it down the middle right over the safety, said Lamar Cod. It got down to about the five yard line. Wow. So clock stops because of the first time. We get down there. First snap we run a sweep to the left. Are Starting. This is key. Now our starting receiver, who came on the motion and got the sweet broke his ankle. So time out. He Ka, he goes off. I was about a too many thing. Broke his ankle. He goes off. So that's our starting inside receiver. I'll come back to that in a second. Next place. So its second and goal at the five. We call pass play. We get a holding call back about twelve yards. Another ten. So now it second goal, replay the down at the twenty eight yard line. Second Down, third down, incomplete, incomplete smells. Fourth and goal to twenty eight yard line, going in. So we're four, four, four wide. So two by two we call just four verticals, you know, and again it's back. Then mostly all cover three. So you're going to work one of those two inside receivers like look off the safety step up. Probably should have another holding call. The same kid that got beat before. Right kid goes flying by me. I step up, throw it to the receiver who was a sub, Chris Fiola in for our starting receiver, kind of and again being a sub, as a running a vertical on down the field, just puts a look into the quarterback. He was going down. He actually turned to the outside. As he turned, I threw it to his inside hip, which made him purouette, hit him on the hip stock, which caused the safety to kind of overrun him. He won right inside of them and walked in the end zone. Wow. So that made one thousand, four hundred and thirteen. And again has the back up receiver. Where you the holder? We decide to go for two again, you go for to Jack McCurry. He was always the innute. Yep, we're gonna go for the win. He he went and he did it in eighty six. The year before they wanted all at at three were stadium and in eighty five he went. He kicked it, kick or hit the upright. They lost seven six. The next year they went for it one hundred and forty two and missed it and up losing it. It was three years in a row there at the stadium and then the next year they end up win it all in eighty seven. But so that's the kind of the history behind him. So we went for to actually called a play. Walked up to the line after we bread was a pass play. As we were walking up, I called the guys back in deside to change the cadence get him a draws. All draw off sides. So we walked up, drew them off sides. I've actually moved up to the one and a half yard line. It was a speed option to the right. took the ball and just kept it myself kind of untouched. They pinched everything down and that was it. One thousand five hundred and fourteen. They got the ball back, ran a play through it. I intercepted it and kind of sealed it and was it and he intercepted it to sell the game. I didn't know that part. Yeah, wow, that's so. You go through this amazing high school career. You're getting recruited, right. What schools were recruiting...

...you? Yeah, so back in the day, I mean probably one of the bigger recruits in the state of Pennsylvania was a great gatorade player of the year. So she had press player that you're all that stuff. The the thing back then, as you know, and you you fit the mold exactly. You were an NFL quarterback, big time talent and obviously you had the height back then. I didn't. I was six foot and back in the day when we came out, that's kind of what they've really really looked for. So a lot of schools kind of told me what I wanted to hear that because I was pretty stuck on emails. A pretty good defender, I'll stuck on being a quarterback, right. And so, when it was all said Downe I visited Pitt Penn State, Georgia Tech, Michigan State and Syracuse. They were the five schools I visited. You know, I'd letters and we always joke should a went to should of went to Hawaii and UCLA. But again, all Crete, Washington, all Colorado. I didn't really don't know about them, right, there's no internet. Yeah, and what do you know? You knew what you watched, maybe on Channel Four, maybe maybe you caught a bowl game the year before. She really didn't know. I mean these kids are sucked at such an advantage nowadays because they can do their homework. We don't know anybody got letters and you got all excited and it was warm. It's about it. Yeah, maybe. And you know, I knew again, listen away. Yeah, being a family guy, I knew deep down I wasn't going to go far away and I end up choosing pit, staying close to home. What was that? What made that decision? I say pray was a big they were. They were too, but it was a lot more. Again, told me, told me what I wanted to hear, that I was going to have a chance to compete at the quarterback position. Pence. They wanted me to play that, that rover position, their hero position that they have made famous. Yeah, so that's kind of what made the decision for me. I thought it was going to go in there and compete and and then the head coach of pit, Johnny Majors, was the head coach at the time. That's when they kind of he came back for the second time. Right, right, there's a little excitement in the program my jared Miller, who we mentioned earlier. He's on my staff now, good friend of mine. He was actually at pit there and he was there for I think Johnny's first inaugural or second, his second year was a Johnny's first year there, but brought a lot of excitement back to the back to the program and, you know, back to the winning years of the late s. A pit. But two days and I was moved over to the defense side of the ball. So forget about what they sent during the recruiting yeah, I think I tell you, tell you what you want to hear until you get there and then, well, what one thing, and I've talked with jaring about this, the teams you guys played on together. It didn't have a ton of success, but do a lot of talent. The amount of the NFL players, it's incredible. You wrote them all down here. I mean there's a whole bunch. We were Curtis Martin, Tom Tumul team, Mike Mourning, has Ruben Brown, Rubin, Ruben Brown Yo play. Jerry Oh, yeah, he was there. Yeah, my freshman near their law lost some modelock those ton billy West had a huge career. I mean all these NFL guys, Tom Barne, go on and on and on and then just I think my freshman with your four and seven Anton door stept. Four and seven, three and eight, two and nine were my first three years. Well, so it was. It was going from a you know, the success we had nice school and State Championship and going there. It was kind of it was tough, you know, and thank God. I mean we had to change and Johnny Majors Awesome, awesome man, awesome for the program, but his staff on him wasn't wasn't the best, you know. And Yeah, Walt Harris came in and had some fire and brought a great staff in and you know, we we overachieve because a lot of that talent was gone. But we've had a good core group of guys at wanted to win and we ended up showed to want a big east. You know, we lost the Syracuse Donna, Donovan Mc ad through a fade with about thirty seconds left in the corner of the endzone. A PIT stadium to beat us, or we would have been the big east champs. Well, well, that goes back to everything we talked about all the time. Right, you could have all this talent, even even in the world of an EP like remember Kevin was telling some of that. You could have a lot of talent, but if you don't know how to put it in the right position and bring it all together, it's not going to work. But if you have a group like your high school group, Yep, that hey, we got all this stuff, but we work as one, no doubt can achieve any it's amazing. Same thing you did your senior year. It's amazing what you get a group of people together that can all come together for a common good bigger than themselves, and that's so important that everybody's all especially nowaday it's all about your themselves. You know, me and me and twitter and social media and I'm blessed to have this offer and blessed as it. I mean, it's crazy, but get what you can can accomplish when everybody gets on the same page. It's all rown in the same direction with the same common good, and meet care more about you than I do about myself. Right, you know, and us as a team that we're going to be able to, you know, accomplish this. It's incredible. What was the biggest contrast between majors and then having Wall Harris? That's a great question. I think just that that I don't say a player coach, but he was a lot more involved jumper coach. Major's an awesome man, you know, love them forever, but he wasn't that involved. He was. He was the figurehead and and maybe that's all they did it back in the day. Ellenberger up in the yeah, he sat, he sat in the bleachers. Yeah, and then the coaches did the things. And you know, I don't want to say he wasn't that involved at the time, he wasn't that involved. And you know, if everything underneathan wasn't clicking, when one malt came in and what was awesome. You know,...

...he got a bad rap in the media and you know, for whatever, but he want a lot of football games here. I can't believe they got rid of them. But he was a great mentor of mine to see and how he did things and how he ran that offense and ran the team. And you know, like I said, we were thirty second from being big East Champs and a lot of that was just because of was because of a lot of the names on that list. That was early in my career. Pit We had just some normal guys that didn't play an NFL but just, you know, came together and play for each other. Was that Pekins? All? Yep, Pekins, all this was. This was the quarterback. He still isn't it are right he does. He lives up about ten miles from me. Yeah, because I think he coaches quarterbacks. Right, yeah, right, yeah, and they're not a lot of NFL guys. You know, a lot of US had some tryouts and whatnot, but Antonio Bryant was after. Yeah, that was after that, after Yep. So well, you know, one thing that we talked about all the transitions, and so you had a little like UK from high school. You want to play quarterback and I'll send your own defense, and you probably had to get over that a little bit. Yeah, and that was probably very tough to do, because I know what I got recruited. Some places wanted me to play defense. Only there's no way I'm, yeah, playing defense. So I had to go somewhere. I knew toll us was going to let me throw the Ballon and all that stuff. But how was that like? How did you deal with that? Mentally? It was difficult. I mean it it first it was like wow, you know I'm going to get a chance because you know, early on I competed and I end up being I started the first game my freshman year as as a nickel, nickel package, so I played maybe twelve snaps or playing university at Texas, running back on that side of the guy named Priests Holmes, and then his backup came in. I think his name was Ricky Williams. Remember that name? Yeah, so a couple pretty good dudes and I'm out there playing nickelback as a true freshman, playing defense. So at the time, at first, I was kind of excited just because I was playing out whatever it takes to help the team. But, you know, from an ego standpoint, yeah, it was. It was tough a little bit. You know, I know I'm better in these guys and just give me a shot. And, like I said back then, with you know, there's a certain mold they wanted and I didn't fit that. But ultimately, you know, I learned a lot of lessons from that and was able just to kind of persevere and continue on wherever I could help the team. How'd your family handle that, because they're so behind you? Yeah, they were fine. I mean, you know, just said all the right things and you know, again, it's ultimately is as much as I might not elected, it was about the team and doing whatever the coach of thought was best at the time, you know. So that was kind of my goal there. But yeah, had an awesome career. I wouldn't change anything. I mean I had to end up tearing my ACL my junior year. Yeah, third, third play of the game out Ohio state, which again the rule change is kind of hurt me. Three plays or I would have got a medical redshirt. Oh yeah, so I was that if you played in three games you were ineligible. So third player at high state, Eddie George, broke free and again non contact. I came down from my safety position to hit him and put my foot in the ground, not that I would add. I'm probab would have missed her. He would have ran me over. Well, he was a rather big humor. Was Big, but I put my foot in the grind to attempt to tackle him and it just blew out. And well, he can win in the final like six thousand zero. Yeah, so bad. You can kind of just like easy way, only I wasn't a part of that one. Did you play that game? Well, so now you you're finishing college and you're getting ready to take those next steps. What was it? Would you go after college? What was your next step? Yeah, so for you, like like anybody, I think most people to play collegiate football. They have dreams and aspiration to be an NFL and after my career I couple injuries and didn't quite ever get back to where I was and had a couple tryouts and not much worked out and I just had some great mentors. It pit with Walt Harris, coach Junko, coach Coyer, who was in the NFL for a number of years of defense coordinator, just trying to figure out what I want. I knew I wanted to be involved with athletics and Sports. I couldn't play anymore. A lot of guys coach would come up and say you make a good coach, and so I kind of took that to heart and my decision right there was should I go the college route, the Ga type thing, and try to go that route or go into high school again? I had such a great high school career and being close to my family and whatnot. You know, I had an education background throughout. So I had a feeling that if I wasn't going to play, I'd be a coach and that's kind of where it went. And you know, a couple of mentors I had said, you know what, college is awesome at all, but it's tough. You know it's tough on your family and traveling and you know the instability of it. So I decided the time they to go the high school route and the rest of history. I went back to my alma mater at Pitt and or at North Hills, coach there for ten years and then mom at Pimerson. That must have been a tough transition going from your Alma Mater, your legend there, you'ven you're teaching there. Yep, you're coaching there, and then you have to go to not necessarily a rival. Yeah, but I wouldn't say it was top fields, more just yeah, I guess. I guess tough. It was more just like scary because we were very in every year. I was at North Hills from ninety nine through two thous that we want nine games every year. Yeah, nine or more right. So very successful playoffs every year, but we never got off your Hump. We couldn't beat the the at the time it was the mckey sports the Woodland Hills is in the world. You know, Prestons in there when you arrived or was. Yeah, okay, statium was built in two thousand and one. I got didn't get there until eleven. Claire ultimates at the time...

...was the head coach. I worked under him for two years as a coordinator and then he retired. I mean that's an impressive blaze. It looks awesome. Call it is, yes, really better than a lot of small colleges for so they can. Pine Ritchen became what it is from two different schools, counting Armstrong is now right where I went, because I for Tinny kitanion combined. Well, no, it was always richland and I think pine was just farms. It was all three were trees. Those out of Ada. They bring it another building houses in the two thousand and one, maybe a nine. I could be off a year two. They kind of came together and made pine rischland. It was always richling high school and Til I think like ninety nine, and then Pine Wretchlan when they built this, built the school in the stadium. So when you first went there, like how many kids are on the team? Very similar to North Hills. I mean even to this day it's not much bigger. Sixty sixty kids. Yeah, nine, ten through twelve, and even to this day we're maybe five more, sixty five. It's still because the house was up there. They build are too big. You know, they've buil bit. They build, you know, he's million dollar homes and so there's not a lot of people think it's so big. We're not. We're the second, second from the bottom, and six a here and the whippill. You know. So no matter how where you travel, we always staying the six A. I think you guys always got to be there. Yeah, that so, so much. Yeah, we're like, you know, woody high and mckeys poured down and five a now right, Yep. And that to me was like when I was helping out at central, when that rivalries were torn apart. That, I think that was hard for a lot of people. Yeah, I mean the North Hills, me growing up, North Hills, north allegany was the biggest rivalry around. That's I mean hated, hate, hatred. They'll play each other anymore. Yeah, you know, and it's now I you know, new rivalries were created as kids come and go and but us as old timers look back. Yeah, that's it's tough. Yeah, we used to go through that when when jared was at you know, it was called Armstrong. Said, YEP, it was containing in Fort City and they combined and then all these people from both places, mostly for city, were like well, no, we're for city, we don't want to be you know already. You know and and, which was stupid, which I never agreed with, and we fought to keep it consolidated because you're going to get better athletic or better classes, better everything. And then they ended up consolidating and then here we come back up again, twelve years later or fifteen years later, whatever it is, and they, you know, they come back and do it again and create Armstrong and I think the better. It was like, well, a year, though, wasn't it? Two years? I think. Yeah, I played them mills my it's like sophomore, junior year, okay, and they were good. They had good talent and all they're tough kids. Yeah, well, Jard always hold the record for touchdown catches because it'll never exist again or, as as he'll tell you, a best tight end the side of Mississippi. Yeah, I think I heard that about the third hour I met him. So you've had a great career at Pine Ritchland. You know, we don't need to go through all your staffs because I think people know what you've done there. But year after year you're putting out amazing teams. And so if you look back at all the people that you learned your coaching skills from and from when you were a little to now, what do you think was the best thing you've ever learned? Definitely taken the best attributes, like I said, from coach McCurry and high school, and then in coach majors and coach Harris, from my father growing up. Just trying to take the best things from all those men that kind of had influence on me and making my own and and ultimately, you know, I've kind of just like you guys in your Professions and in Mine and coaching. Got To be yourself. When it's all said done, you got to be yourself. So just being genuine, you know, caring about the kids. They got it. They ain't gonna play for you if they don't know you care about them, you know. So I think that's the number one thing. Surrounded myself with the great staff. My staff is incredible. We've been together now six years. Not One change on the varsity staff. You know, I think when you when you look in the NFL and you see the success of steelers had there for a number that's that continuity. Like with the Rooney's and one up. So that's something that I think so important that we have that that, you know, continuity their staff. You know, I'm not the smartest guy around, but I know surround myself with good, smart people. You know, the care about kids. You know, I talking about like just, you know, hiring somebody or bringing somebody in to talk to the kids. The biggest thing that I care about is just it. You know, they're there for the kids and they can they show they care about them. So yeah, well, you know, that's what exciting about high school sports is. You have you have a good year one year and wrap it up, throw it away, let's do it again. You still have a lot of alumni to come back and yeah, that's that's rewarding. You know there you know, you get out there and like right now, Andrew Christophic, who's at Notre Dame, he went up early. He was back working out at the place. I get guys texting me all the time to come back and work out the facilities. They'll come back on Friday nights when they can and it's cool to see. And I and heck even on my staff, of my fourteen guys on staff now, any eight or paid. But...

I've all those guys on staff. I think there's six, five or six that played for me, a couple my ex quarterbacks, couple guys that played for me at North Hills, to that played for me at Pine's great and I think that makes it special to and adds that family atmosphere that you know. Let's let's face it, I think all sports are good, but there's nothing like football and that that team atmosphere. Now I agree. I agree with that and I love coaching. Is for the kids, right, and one of my favorite stories when I was coaching FT in in St Louis that John Burrows. I mean I had two incredible athletes, Ezekiel Elliott, a little my athletes, and then Foya Luke on, who's The linebacker who we interviewed last week for the Falcons. I mean two amazing athletes, but and they have great stories. But One am I in the school? Four hundred total? Yeah, totally had twenty eight kids on my team. Chiefs for one thing. That just rings true. kind of on the same lines as we won the state championship in seventeen and obviously everybody knows about Field Drakovic in the high school talent and he wasn't. He's Notre Dame now and he was obviously a very high end kid. But the rest of the the rest of that team, that senior class, I think when he had maybe four kids that went on to play college football, including Phil. So my point with that is that the best teams that I've had have been teams that are made up of just kids that similar to the one you were talking about. They just loved it and loved to play for each other and we're just kind of normal high school kids it. Loved to play for practice early, never wanted to leave that field and they weren't any big time stars. And we've had a cup. Last year we had it. We had you know, we won the Whippio but we lost in the state semis. But this past years I think we're going to send twelve kids to college. Yeah, so that team was good, but I didn't compare to the team in seventeen just because, you know, it's amazing, like kind of back we talked about earlier what you can accomplish when you got all these kids that are had the same goals in mind. Right. You know, I'd want kid that scored three touchdown didn't score touchdown the whole year and get in the playoffs. Officer, and he had three touchdowns on one game to the next and didn't phase him. Who you know, he's just a team player and who whoever's turn it was, they didn't care. Right. So I think it's important. Do your kids. Now, I know your son plays football. You've three. Are they you produce me in there coaching their teams or like? How does that work? Yea. So my daughter, my oldest, she's fast pitch softball and she's an awesome, awesome athlete. She works so hard at it. I've never coached her. No, I'm the dad that sits there and just be's it. That is a dad, which is awesome. My youngest daughter, she's in competitive cheer, which is as big as football is in western Pennsylvania. Competitive cheers a lot of traveling, a lot of traveling a lot of time and you know, she's three, four days a week doing that and loves it. But my son, no, to answer question, I've never, never really coached them. And you football. I just wanted to kind of yeah, be a dad. You you know growing up in baseball, wrestling. No, I never, never really coached know, we work together. You know, obviously, you know in the yard at home and we'll go to the field and do something. But no, I just want to kind of because I'm eventually, hopefully, going to get a chance to coach him. Right now, so growing up. I don't just want to be a dad. What position is he play right now? He's a quarterback and you know, safety, you know, but if he doesn't start growing a little bit, will be a full backer, you know, running back or something real quick. But now he again, he's an awesome Kiddie. He works really hard. I loves it, you know. So I hope he could at least, you know, just if anything, take take my love for the game out of it when I'm long gone. Was Jen and athlete. Jen, I was a cheerleader, but she also rent track. Okay, yeah, hopefully I think the kids got her speed bloodlines are there right. So one last question. So Do you have aspirations of coaching at a higher level? Yeah, I think ultimately I would like to get that opportunity. You know, I've passed on some opportunities up until this point. Nothing has been right yet, but you know, I'm in a very good situation of Pine Wretch and I love what I do. It's a great, great place to raise a family. You know, I got a coach with some of my best friends. You know, I am able to be here with my kids, able to go to their activities. I'm still able to get home most nights by five, five six clock, right. I know if I went to college route, and a lot of that's going to change and it's, you know, a change financially. Obviously it would be a lot better from from a challenge aspect as a football coach. would be it would be. It will be better, but I don't know if as a you know, the life would be better, right, you know, but yeah, it's definitely out there and the right situation comes along, I'll definitely listen. We're going to go through our no huddle segment here with Eric and we're going to fire some questions. So, Dave, once you start out. All right, Eric, if you could treat places with any athlete in history for one day, who would that be? Well, I'M gonna go with my gun and who came to mind. We talked about this a lot. Like if you couldn't be a pro football player, that'd be all well and good. I mean you did it, but injuries, right, and it's a grind. I think I want to be a professional golfer.

So I think I'd say Tiger Woods. You know, a lot of such highs, such lows. But again now, especially what happened recently, to come back and to be back at the top, I think I'd say times. Your Golf game kind of similar my golf game. One day I'm going to be a really good Golfer. Ands just don't have time and a gus stuff while I put it for my tickets the other day. Actually, yeah, yeah, yeah, I've been down to about a six handicap. I go out to that I'll probably I'm probably like a twelve. You know, I can, you know, make some parers make called Birdie's, but I just don't play enough. But that's definitely when I when I retire, I got a play to be yeah, no, do what your favorite course around here? Oak Mont's awesome pebble beaches on the bucket list. I played Tory Pines. I was awesome. Galloway in New Jersey is an awesome private course. I'd say Oak monsous because I've played it and I know every hole just from watching it on TV. Yeah, great place. It is a great place. So you've been a coach, a player, a father, son, all these things. What's your biggest pet peeve? Who? Disorganization. You know, I think that's one thing I'm like. I said, I'm not very smart and I'm not very good at a lot of things, but there's one thing I like is just organization. If you say going to be somewhere, be there. If you say going to be here on that time, be on time. Not that everything. There's nothing worse than when practice is unorganized right and you don't know. Nobody knows where they're going. I was always my pinion. Yeah, use if you're coaching and guys don't know where they're doing, or if you get guy assignment he's not paying attention a hundred percent, it drives you crazy. I've been on vacation with Eric and I think everything is down to the minute. I'm sure. Yeah, when dinner start, beat, let's go. We gotta get a dinner, right. When do you get freshened up and the good at dinner? That's all it's all down. So this is always a good one. So if they were making a movie about you, who would who would play Eric Cas Broach and movie. Well, Cheez, we'll say Tom Hanks. Look, see, they know he's versatil. He's he's you know again, you know, he very can do with a bunch of different things. I'm picturing the force gump aspect. He was, you know, a bunch of different takes it. It's fast, good at Ping Pong. Yeah, you know, I met a bunch of presidents all the world. Right, yeah, how about your favorite Pittsburgh restaurant? Who? Obvious answer, right, for Mann. He's man. Yeah, forms well, we have a really good one he's going to try, which is acorn. My Friend Chef Scott Walton, who lives up okay, but we're going to give you a gift certificate for color. Awesome. What's it called? ACORN? It's called ACORNS and shady side. So something take jen there that maybe we can change his mind. What do you think? Dave, you've had the burghers there. It's there unbelievable awesome point yet so we're very thankful they're responsor but if they even if they warn us by yeah, it'd be some mine was very mine was a very pitts bargain said, good place uthing near us. Awesome little restaurant, Calli Lily. Oh Really? Yeah, awesome, incredible little spot right in Gipsonia. So Nice. Look got on the list buffalo bills. Oh yeah, by the trip. Come up to a game, you go over to it's real good spot. Yeah, absolutely. How about the loudest stadium you played in as a player? As a player, I that's a easy Texas Universe, University of Texas longhorn stadium. Incredible, just straight up. I mean it looks like this room here, just walls straight up, no track right on top of you couldn't hear things. They love their opponents, don't the awesome throwing stuff at you. It was that burnt orange everywhere. They got that big. What is it? A steer whatever, or Longhorn it whatever is, whatever his name is. He's I mean it was awesome experience, all right. Louder than the Horseshoe? Yeah, because the horse shoot the time was open. That's it was open when I played there. Let's escape right. Awesome venue. Visually. Yeah, Miami was again awesome visually, but I don't know. They were really good into late S, but the stadium never got packs. It was off campus. A wonderful old orange. Yeah, yeah, it was kind of look disappointing that way, as they're a little finicky. Yeah, last question for in the huddle. Okay, no, Huddle Day. You know which one we're going to ask. Well, okay, out of everyone who's in your phone, who's the most interesting or Famis? Whoo, I think a Lott of PRI that I got. I got a bunch of maybe famous people who give us take a top three, top three real it's like, well, wow, it's like it's stays good. It all comes back to like the the organization part. Right, I got a name. I'm going to keep that thing forever. Right. Ben Roethlisberger. There's no, there's one that's a big one, big one. Mike Toml and I'm in the stealer tree here. Yeah, Sidney Crosby. Of Him. What it was about outside of Pittsburgh sportsm yeah, I...

...don't know, let me think about might get'll come to me as we that's a finish reading. Yeah, I'll take that three. So back we were talking about social media a little bit. I have no idea why she followed me, but on my twitter about this about him two months ago, sold out. O'Brien. Yeah, big timer on. I'll see nn or something. Yeah, book my twitter I to follow followed me out of nowhere, which I've no idea why, you know, probably through some other organization, but she follows me at it. We're sitting on a catchular show my daughter out. Well, she followed me on twitter, whatever that's worth. Great. Well, Hey, thanks for color. She show very much to get a shuttle with us. Thank you. That's IT, folks, and we'll see you next time.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (164)