Southmoreland 1st-year coach Keefer puts emphasis on improving feeder system
By: Paul Schofield
Sunday, January 28, 2018 | 9:55 AM
Dave Keefer felt it was the right time to become a head football coach.
So when Mark Adams resigned after the 2017 season, Keefer said he decided he was the right guy to coach his alma mater, Southmoreland. He is a 1987 graduate.
Keefer, 48, recently was hired by the Southmoreland School Board under the recommendation from athletic director Charlie Swink. The Scotties were 0-9 during an injury-filled 2017 season.
“I felt it was important to hire someone within the school,” Swink said. “I felt we had qualified candidates in the district when we started looking.”
Keefer is the school's track coach and served as the golf coach in 2017. He won't coach golf in the fall.
He was an assistant football coach at Southmoreland, Bentworth, Mt. Pleasant and Greensburg Central Catholic. His brother, Mark, already joined his staff. Mark Keefer previously coached at Greensburg Salem for Golden Lions coach Dave Keefer, no relation.
With Southmoreland dropping to Class 2A, Dave Keefer said there is no reason why it can't be successful.
“I think we can compete, of course,” Keefer said. “I feel if we stayed in Class 3A we'd compete there too. I feel we have a pretty good chance with the team coming in. I'm familiar with some of the teams, and I have to learn about others.”
The only time Southmoreland qualified for the WPIAL playoffs was in 1979. The Scotties lost to Penn Hills, 31-0, in the Class AAA bracket.
Keefer, a 1991 graduate of Cal (Pa.), is looking forward to trying to turn the Scotties program around. When he played under Bobby Thompson, the Scotties were competitive in the Keystone Conference.
“I gained a lot of input from people I coached for and coached with,” Keefer said. “I have 25 years of experience, and I think it's my time to be a head coach.”
Keefer hopes he can convince athletes to play football and run track. He said it would benefit both programs. He also plans on getting things stable within the entire program.
“I think the entire culture has to turn around here, starting with the midgets,” Keefer said. “It's not that the midget program is bad. I'm talking about continuity from the midgets to the junior high to the varsity.
“I think it's important that I get involved with the midgets and middle school. They're having success there, and we'd like to continue it in high school.”
And Keefer hopes to improve on the numbers in the program. He had 32 players sign up to play football. He's unsure how many will actually play, but he hopes he gets more.
“I'd like to get a JV schedule and get games with other teams and let the freshman and sophomores play and get experience instead of getting beat up by seniors,” Keefer said. “I believe we can get it done.”
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.