INDUSTRY, Pa. — It looks like word spread quickly about Western Beaver’s new football coach.
After practice on Tuesday, as the players and coaches filed back into the locker room, a blue No. 6 Penn State jersey and a few photos sat on the coaches’ table.
The jersey belonged to a friend of an assistant, but was originally worn by the Golden Beaver’s first-year head coach.
Derek Moye signed the memorabilia as a the group shared a few laughs about the opportunity to meet and interact with a man who holds Penn State records and even caught a touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger.
“I didn’t know who he was,” said senior Noah Gray. “I heard some kids on the team saying our coach is a (former) Steeler, so I was pretty excited.”
“Someone had to tell me. But as I was looking him up, I said ‘oh okay, he played for the Steelers’, so I was excited about him being my coach,” said senior linebacker Daquan Bradford. “At first it was my dad because he heard from the other coaches, but then other people started to tell me (about Moye) too.”
Leave it to high school kids to make a 31-year-old first-time head coach feel, well, old.
“This generation I’m coaching now, it sounds crazy, but I’m a little bit older for them,” said Moye with a smile.
As the kids became familiar with Moye and who he was, they also started to see his work ethic and the intensity he brought to all facets of the game.
Moye (and this probably isn’t a surprise for a first year coach) attended the offseason lifting programs and began to show the team the expectations he had for them.
“He focuses a lot on our team chemistry, and how we need to get along better,” said Bradford, who is one of the Lincoln Park co-op players. “He focuses on us being a family, especially at practice. We need to practice as a family. If someone gets hit, you pick them back up and keep practicing. It’s making a big difference.”
Bradford is one of 12 Lincoln Park players in the second year of a co-op between the schools. Last season, nine Leopards were on the roster, which is encouraging for both the players and coaches.
“It’s good, but it’s definitely a challenge,” said Moye. “We have kids that are from different areas. Some kids are from Industry, and having kids from Clairton, it’s different. But kids are kids. Once they get together and talk, they realize they have things in common, and I think they’re getting along.”
“It’s getting better each year,” said Gray. “We’re playing with the same guys and we know what we’re doing together.”
The relationships appeared strong on the field, and the Lincoln Park players appear to be enjoying the opportunity in year two.
“Coming from a school that mainly focuses on basketball (Lincoln Park) to a school that mainly focuses on football, so me doing this, it’s a new experience. I need to put in the work and show these people what I can do and show them I can play football as well,” said Bradford.
Not to mention the coach he’s looking to impress.
“He practiced with profession football players both in college and in the NFL. So, usually now we’re practicing NFL and college practices, so he’s preparing us for the future. If things get tough, push through it.”
One look at Moye’s previous coaches show it’s not a surprise he’s looking to be the mentor-type.
From Gene Matsook at Rochester, the Paternos at Penn State and Mike Tomlin in the NFL, it’s easy to see the type of coach that Moye is accustomed to.
Even in his one year as an assistant coach with Aliquippa, he was with one of the best.
“When you coach at high school, that’s bigger than football, to set them up for life,” said Moye. “Football, yes, but if football doesn’t work out being able to offer different avenues.
“Someone who taught me a lot about that was coach [Mike] Warfield. You could tell how much he cared about the kids. Guys came in to talk to the team weekly, just some of the things he was able to do as far as getting outside influences to come in and talk to the team, it’s huge. It shows how much he cared.”
While it’s great to build the chemistry now, the goal for the team appears to be pretty uniform: get to the playoffs.
Western Beaver’s last playoff win came in 2008 (Moye’s first year at Penn State) and have a record of 39-61 since 2008.
The Golden Beavers have lost in the first-round of the playoffs twice in 2013 and 2017 and were moved from Single A to Double A last season.
The Midwestern Conference appears to be up for grabs, and Western Beaver likes the position they’re in.
“We expect to make playoffs,” said Gray.
“Coach is a cool guy, he just wants us to succeed,” said Bradford. “We’re trying to make it to the playoffs, and try to go higher. At least make it to the WPIAL and win that. That’s what my hopes are, I hope that’s what everyone’s hopes are.”
This story originally appeared at our partner site, Pittsburgh Sports Now.
Six Steelers Nominated for Hall of Fame Class of 2021
Former Steelers Gary Anderson, Alan Faneca, Casey Hampton, Heath Miller, Joey Porter and Hines Ward are among the modern era nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
Miller was nominated in his first season of eligibility, while Faneca is a five-time finalist and Ward is a five-time semifinalist.
In total, there are 130 nominees, which will be trimmed to 25 semifinalists in November and 15 finalists in January before the five-man Class of 2021 is selected the day before Super Bowl LV in February.
Anderson spent 13 seasons kicking with the Steelers from 1982-94 and is the team’s all-time leading scorer with 1,343 points. He’s the only Pittsburgh player to score more than 1,000 career points and is also the team’s leader in career field goals made (309) and points after touchdown (416). He was a four-time Pro Bowlers, a three-time All-Pro and a member of the NFL’s 1980s and 1990s All-Decade Teams.
Faneca played guard for the Steelers from 1998-2007 after being selected by the team in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft out of LSU. Faneca was one of the most dominant offensive linemen of his era, and was chosen to participate in nine Pro Bowls and was an eight-time All-Pro. He is a member of the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team and won Super Bowl XL with the Steelers.
Hampton came to Pittsburgh three years later, in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft out of Texas. The big nose tackle spent 12 seasons in Black and Gold, winning Super Bowls XL and XLIII. Hampton was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and is a member of the Steelers’ All-Time Team.
Miller retired in 2015 after a 13-year run as the Steelers’ starting tight end after being the team’s 2005 first-round pick out of Virginia. Miller is eligible to be elected for the first time. He is a two-time Pro Bowler and a two-time Super Bowl champion.
Porter spent seven seasons with the Steelers from 1999-2006 and became one of the team’s most popular and most-feared outside linebackers. Porter recorded 60 quarterback sacks in 121 career games, ending his Steelers tenure as the second-most proficient pass rusher in team history. He was a four-time Pro Bowler, a four-time All-Pro and a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. After his retirement, Porter coached with the Steelers from 2014-18.
Ward’s 14-year NFL career was spent carving out a role as one of the most physical players on the Steelers, even as a wide receiver. The Korean-born Ward won two Super Bowls with Pittsburgh and was the MVP of Super Bowl XL after his game-sealing touchdown reception. His impact as a blocker was so well-known that the NFL changed its rules to prevent blindside blocks downfield, which has come to be known as the Hines Ward Rule. Ward was named to four Pro Bowls, was a three-time All-Pro and is on the Steelers’ All-Time Team.
Additionally, punter Rohn Stark, who spent most of his career with the Indianapolis Colts but played the 1995 season in Pittsburgh, was nominated.
The Steelers have three members in the Hall of Fame Class of 2020: safeties Troy Polamalu and Donnie Shell and former head coach Bill Cowher. The enshrinement of that class has been delayed until August 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Class of 2020 will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 7, 2021, while the Class of 2021 will be celebrated on Aug. 8, 2021.
The most recent Steelers players to be inducted were linebacker Kevin Greene and defensive back and assistant coach Tony Dungy in 2016.
Former Steelers OL, Champion Wrestler Carlton Haselrig Dies at 54
Former Steelers offensive lineman and NCAA wrestling champion Carlton Haselrig died on Wednesday at the age of 54.
A Johnstown native, Haselrig attended Pitt-Johnstown, where he wrestled as a heavyweight and won three NCAA Division II heavyweight titles and three Division I titles, becoming the only player to win six individual NCAA titles in wrestling.
He finished his wrestling career with a 143-2-1 collegiate record, going 15-0 against Division I opponents.
Haselrig was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 12th Round in 1989. He started on defensive line, but moved offensive line in 1990 and took to it quickly. He became a starter at guard and earned Pro Bowl recognition in his fourth season in 1992.
Haselrig left the Steelers after the 1993 season. He played one more season with the New York Jets before retiring from the NFL.
After his retirement, Haselrig returned to Johnstown. He took up mixed martial arts, where he had a 3-2 professional record, and also coached and trained players for football, mixed martial arts and wrestling. Haselrig is a member of the Pitt-Johnstown Hall of Fame and was selected to the NCAA 75th Anniversary Wrestling Team.
Mic Drop: WPXI’s Aaron Martin Offers Best, Worst Sports Memories
WPXI’s Aaron Martin joined Mike Asti to discuss some of his best and worst sports memories, both as a fan and ones that he was able to cover. Mike gets Aaron to ponder some “what ifs?” when it comes to Pittsburgh sports, which includes reliving some awful Steelers memories like the 2001 AFC Championship loss to the Patriots.