Bukowski hired as Southmoreland football coach, steps in for late friend Frederick

Thursday, March 10, 2022 | 10:51 PM

Tim Bukowski had planned to be Ron Frederick’s right-hand man on the Southmoreland football coaching staff.

But when tragedy struck, and Frederick died of heart attack the day after learning he would be the next head coach of the Scotties, Bukowski felt he needed to go beyond the call of duty.

“I knew immediately I needed to step up and fill his shoes,” said Bukowski, who was hired Thursday to lead the Scotties through a tough time and into a new era. “I coached with Ron at Ringgold, and he brought me with him to Southmoreland. We became best friends.”

Frederick, 40, was set to replace Dave Keefer, who resigned as head coach in January. Frederick was held in high regard around the program.

Now, Bukowski, 54, will replace his late friend and take on his first head coaching venture.

When he received official word he got the job, he reached for his cell phone.

“My first call was to my wife (Laurel),” he said. “The second was to Ron’s wife (Liz). Then, I called his brother (Rob), and his father (Ron). I wanted his family to hear it from me.”

Bukowski has been on the Southmoreland staff for four years as the offensive coordinator and has helped the Scotties make two WPIAL playoff appearances.

He is hoping to be a calming, familiar voice to players who had become attached to the coaching staff and their system.

“The kids were a big part of my decision, too,” he said. “When we first came here, the program wasn’t doing well. We had 16 kids. I felt like we made a difference and built it into a competitive team. I didn’t want to see everything we put in drop off.”

Bukowski is known for his playcalling, but he knows he will have to get better acquainted with defense — and promoting the team on social media. Frederick was known for hyping the Scotties on Twitter with his weekly uniform reveals.

“Dave was great to work for,” Bukowski said. “I called every play for four years. Offense was my staple. I didn’t even have the headset on for defensive plays. I will have to be more of a game manager now.”

Southmoreland believes Bukowski is the best fit at the worst time. Once Bukowski showed interest, the district only had to settle the formalities.

Hiring a new coach who didn’t have the familiarity that Bukowski does with the program and the situation might have been a challenge.

“I am excited for him, and the kids,” Southmoreland athletic director Dan Boring said. “He has been here, and he has had the success. He knows what it takes to win. I think with all the circumstances around this position the last few weeks, he is the right guy to take over the job.”

Five other staffs featured Bukowski, a Monessen graduate who began coaching right after he finished college at IUP.

He was a running backs coach at Cal (Pa.) from 2000-02, and served as offensive coordinator at Charleroi from 2003-05.

After that, he joined perennial Class A power Clairton, where he called plays for a program that won six WPIAL titles and four PIAA championships while he was there (2006-12).

The Bears won 66 straight games to set a state record.

After two years at Ringgold (2016-17), he joined the Scotties. In 2019, they broke a 40-year drought by qualifying for the WPIAL postseason.

“I have been around some great head coaches. Everywhere I’ve coached, we’ve made a run,” he said. “My goal here is for us to win a playoff game.”

Bukowski, a sales manager for Advance Auto Parts, said he wants to increase Southmoreland’s numbers.

“I want to get as many kids out as we can,” he said. “I want to continue to build what we have here. I want to do it for Ron.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .


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