Football coach Rod Steele leaving Steel Valley for West Mifflin

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Thursday, January 17, 2019 | 7:15 PM


Rod Steele estimates he’ll drive about three minutes longer to football practice next fall.

After nine seasons, two WPIAL titles and a state championship at Steel Valley, Steele was hired Thursday night to coach nearby West Mifflin.

“It’s an opportunity to move up in classification to a bigger school,” Steele said. “They’ve got a feeder-school program, a middle school program. They have athletes. They have the facilities. I think it’s a program that you can win at, I really do.”

Steele led Steele Valley to the WPIAL Class 2A finals each of the past three seasons. The Ironmen won WPIAL titles in 2016 and ’18, and were state champions in 2016. West Mifflin competes in Class 4A.

He told his former players Thursday that he was leaving.

“It’s very tough because you feel the bond with your players,” Steele said. “Sometimes these players look at you not just as a coach but as a father figure. That’s the hardest part.”

West Mifflin chose Steele to replace Ray Braszo, who had coached the Titans for 27 years in two stints, the most recent starting in 2010. He leaves with a 190-124-3 career record. The school board voted in December to open Braszo’s coaching job to applicants.

“I want to create an environment that gives our kids the opportunity to be successful in life because they were part of our program,” Steele said. “If they do the little things, the big picture will take care of itself. I firmly believe that.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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