Bethel Park hires offensive coordinator Phil Peckich as football coach

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Tuesday, January 24, 2023 | 12:51 AM


Bethel Park promoted offensive coordinator Phil Peckich to head coach Tuesday night, giving the Black Hawks football program some continuity under a coach who’s among the youngest in the WPIAL.

The 31-year-old is a first-time head coach but brings eight years of experience to the job. Peckich spent five seasons coaching at his alma mater Montour and the past three on the Bethel Park staff of Brian DeLallo, who resigned in November.

Becoming a head coach was always a career goal, he said, but only in the right situation.

“For me, it was about trying to find the right fit, not just trying to go out and get any of the jobs that were open in the last couple of years,” Peckich said. “With how things unfolded at Bethel, it just so happened to work out.”

He pointed out the team’s solid roster numbers, his familiarity with the players and strong support from the administration as positive factors for taking the job.

“It’s a rewarding feeling to get the job and have people who believe in you,” he said.

The school board voted Tuesday night to officially hire Peckich, said Bethel Park athletic director Dan Sloan. Peckich takes over a team that went 10-2 last season, won a conference title and reached the WPIAL Class 5A semifinals.

Retaining Peckich lets the team maintain continuity and try to build upon that success.

“Phil has done a lot here in three years,” Sloan said. “Brian has given him a lot of responsibility in the program, let him run with some things and show his leadership. That was important.”

Sloan said the school received around a dozen applicants for the job. Along with Peckich’s familiarity with the team, the district also endorsed his plans for the future of the program.

“After hearing some of the visions he has, and adding that to what he’s done the last three years, it’s exciting to see him put it all together,” Sloan said.

Peckich will earn $10,777 as coach.

Unlike DeLallo, who is a Bethel Park teacher, Peckich works outside of the district in the field of finance. But in three years on the coaching staff, he said he’s gotten to know the district and its people.

“The big thing (about the job) was the alignment with the administration down all the way through the community,” he said. “Bethel Park really appreciates football. Friday nights are community events and football matters.”

A 2010 Montour graduate, Peckich was a walk-on defensive back at Pitt under three different Panthers coaches: Dave Wannstedt, Todd Graham and Paul Chryst. He finished his college career at Robert Morris under coach Joe Walton.

“I got to see some good, some bad, some ugly,” Peckich said. “I saw a lot of different coaching styles. I got to see what guys on their staffs did well and some maybe not so well.”

His first coaching job was at Montour under his high school coach, Lou Cerro. As a Spartans defensive back and running back, he was a four-year varsity starter. In 2009, his senior season, he rushed for more than 1,300 yards, scored 25 touchdowns and added 62 tackles.

Montour went 12-1 his sophomore year and reached the WPIAL finals.

“I had the luxury to play for Lou and then work for Lou,” Peckich said. “He’s a big reason why I’m where I am today.”

Peckich will continue to call plays for the Bethel Park offense, a responsibility he’s held the past two seasons. Bethel Park was traditionally known for a run-heavy attack under longtime coach Jeff Metheny, but Peckich added more balance in recent years.

Black Hawks quarterback Tanner Pfeuffer, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, passed for more than 1,500 yards last season. The team also returns offensive playmaker Ryan Petras, a sophomore who scored a team-high 17 touchdowns.

“We did lose 22 seniors this past year, but we do have a plethora of guys coming back,” Peckich said. “There’s a solid nucleus there to build off of.”

He became the 15th coach in Bethel Park football history, but only the third in almost three decades. Metheny coached the Black Hawks for 25 seasons before resigning after the 2018 season.

Much of the current coaching staff will remain intact, Peckich said, but he would need a new defensive coordinator, a role DeLallo held along with head coach. DeLallo went 22-19 in four seasons and reached the WPIAL playoffs three times.

The team went winless three years ago, during a covid-troubled 2020 season, but Peckich saw a program on the rise in the two seasons since. In 2020, the number of players was in the mid-60s, a total he said had risen to 87 last season.

“We should hit that mid-80s number again … and we have approximately 60 kids at the middle school level,” Peckich said. “The program is trending the right way.”

Note: This article was updated Jan. 24 after the school board approved Peckich’s hire.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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