Central Catholic football coach Terry Totten resigns after 18 seasons, 6 WPIAL titles

Thursday, December 1, 2022 | 3:02 PM

When Central Catholic football coach Terry Totten officially met with his players one final time Thursday, he showed them the watch on his wrist and told them how it just keeps ticking.

You can’t speed it up or slow it down, Totten explained, and after 18 years as head coach, he’d come to realize it was his time to retire.

“Terry doesn’t prepare speeches and things like that, but when the lights flick on, he has a way to connect with the kids,” said offensive coordinator Steve Bezila, the school’s dean of students and a Vikings assistant throughout Totten’s tenure. “He just has a way with words.”

Totten, a 1976 graduate, led Central Catholic to six WPIAL titles and two state championships as coach. His career record is 188-40.

The school announced his retirement Thursday.

“The bottom line is, I just felt it was time,” said Totten, 65, noting that some physical ailments contributed to his decision. “I felt they needed a younger guy to move forward.”

Junior quarterback Payton Wehner, a 2,500-yard passer this season, said the team had an idea Totten’s retirement was coming soon.

“He’s done a lot for me,” Wehner said. “I just respect his decision and everything he’s done.”

Totten promised his players that they’d still see him around the school’s Oakland campus.

“There were moments of sadness speaking to the team (Thursday) afternoon just saying some goodbyes, but everything moves on,” Totten said. “If it wasn’t this year, it was next year anyway.”

Said Wehner: “He told us that he’s still going to be here every step of the way with us. That even in the offseason, he’s still going to show up. He’ll always be there for us.”

Under Totten, Central Catholic won WPIAL titles in 2007, ’13, ’15, ’16, ’19 and ’20. His teams added state championships in 2007 and ’15.

Totten was coaching in college at Duquesne before returning to his alma mater as defensive coordinator in 2002. He was an assistant on Art Walker’s staff when the Vikings won consecutive WPIAL titles in 2003-04 and a state title in 2004.

When Walker left for North Allegheny, Central Catholic promoted Totten to head coach.

“Terry is Central Catholic,” Bezila said. “His dad is a 1931 graduate. Him and his brothers all went there. He bleeds blue and gold. He’s a Central guy through and through and has done a tremendous sacrifice throughout his life to give back to his alma mater that he loves and cherishes so much.”

Central Catholic was the WPIAL Class 6A runner-up this season. It was the ninth time in 10 years that the Vikings reached the WPIAL finals.

The school is expected to post the job opening and accept applicants in the coming days.

“Coach Totten has been an integral part of the Central Catholic football tradition for many years,” Brother Mike Andrejko, the school’s principal, said in a statement. “We are grateful for his service and devotion to our young men as well as his commitment of excellence to the program.”

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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