Ousted at West Mifflin, football coach Ray Braszo returns to roots in Steel Valley

Wednesday, April 3, 2019 | 10:55 AM

Ray Braszo wore West Mifflin blue and gold for nearly three decades, but the veteran football coach also has deep roots in Steel Valley.

It was there in Munhall, Homestead and West Homestead that Braszo got his start years ago as an assistant to George Novak and later coached the Ironmen for four seasons as head coach himself.

So, when West Mifflin’s administration replaced him in January, Braszo returned to his roots. Steel Valley hired Braszo as football coach in late February.

“I wanted to still coach after West Mifflin opened my job, so I looked around,” Braszo said. “I still know a lot of people there, I’m from there, so it seemed like a good fit.”

Braszo has worked with the Ironmen for about a month now since the school board voted to hire him. Fitting his low-key style, his arrival came with little fanfare.

“It was nice and quiet,” Braszo said with a laugh, “the way I like it.”

He replaced Rod Steele, who was hired to coach at West Mifflin in January. Essentially, the two coaches switched jobs. West Mifflin hired Steele to replace Braszo, and Steel Valley hired Braszo to replace Steele.

This will be Braszo’s second stint as Steel Valley’s head coach. He led the Ironmen from 2006-09 and went 26-14 in four seasons. Coaching has taken him from Steel Valley to West Mifflin to Steel Valley to West Mifflin and now back to Steel Valley.

His career record is 190-124-3 in 31 years.

Braszo takes over a program that has reached the WPIAL Class 2A finals three years in a row with two WPIAL titles and a state title in that span. The Ironmen went 12-2 last season and reached the PIAA semifinals, but did so with a roster that had fewer than 20 players.

“That’s one of the challenges,” Braszo said. “We’ve got to work on getting the kids out, keeping the kids out and keeping them eligible. So far we’ve had a decent amount of kids interested. We’ve got a lot of younger kids right now — more younger kids than older kids.”

Braszo coached football at West Mifflin for 27 years in two stretches before the school board opened his position in January. His first lasted from 1988-2005. In the second, his teams went 64-34 over the past nine seasons and reached the WPIAL playoffs every year.

West Mifflin hired Steele as coach Jan. 17.

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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