Monessen hires West Mifflin assistant to lead football program
Thursday, January 14, 2021 | 12:05 AM
Wade Brown was hired Tuesday by the Monessen School Board to fill the vacancy left with the resignation of Shane Swope Jr., just days after the football team forfeited its last game of the season.
Monessen athletic director Gina Naccarato said she thinks the program found the right man for the job.
“Wade Brown will be a great fit for the Monessen football program,” Naccarato said.
“He attended Duquesne High School and played against Monessen in all sports. He understands our community because he grew up in a community and school district that had the same tradition in their sports programs as we do. He knows what it will take to bring the football program back to its winning tradition, and he is eager to start the process and meet community members who can help him along the way.
“We are excited to have (him) on our staff and we look forward to working with him.”
Brown said there are similarities between Monessen and Duquesne, as cities and football programs. that make him a great candidate for the job. That’s what attracted him to the opening.
“From everything I know and have read, they’ve come on hard times,” Brown said. “I graduated from Duquesne and we played Monessen on our way to state championships in football and basketball when I played there.
“Monessen was, if not the toughest, one of the toughest opponents. I know what they stand for as a program and community.”
Brown said he’s aware the biggest problem plaguing the program is a lack of numbers. He thinks he can change that.
“First of all, I know it’s not going to be an overnight fix,” he said. “It’s a matter of getting into the community and meeting the kids. They need to get to know me and I need to know them. They need to know that I have their best interests in mind on the field and in the classroom. They’ll need to learn to trust me and vice versa.”
Once that happens, Brown said, the numbers should rise.
“Once we meet and I can get the kids on the field and they see I’m not just a bunch of talk, that trust builds,” Brown said. “That’s when they go to school, see their friends and hopefully get them to join the team.”
For Brown, it’s all about sticking to tradition. Being a former Duke, that tradition is similar to that of Greyhounds of the past.
“You have to stick to what you know. Nowadays, it’s a lot different than when I played,” Brown said. “You have to have some understanding of where the kids are coming from. I come from the same type of neighborhood and city. I know the plight and what goes on in these neighborhoods. I want to be able to give them the best advice of how to move forward and get them to pick the right path.”
After graduating from Duquesne, where we won a state football and basketball championship as a player, Brown went on to Robert Morris for a year before serving time in the U.S. Army.
He was honorably discharged but continued to play semi-pro football for the Pittsburgh Colts. As a linebacker, he became the Colts’ all-time leader in tackles and sacks.
In 2005, he had a tryout with the Buffalo Bills and has been a youth football coach for 16 years. He’s currently the president of the Duquesne Youth Football organization, a position he’s held for six years.
He was the head coach of the South Allegheny Middle School football team from 2016-18 before coaching both the offensive and defensive lines at West Mifflin the past two seasons.
He’s been a teacher for years working with kids with special needs at the Mon Valley School in Jefferson Hills.
“You have to maintain a sense of discipline or else the kids will run all over you,” Brown said. “You have to set the limitations and guidelines. You can’t just treat all the kids the same. Working in a school with special needs children, I’ve learned that some kids need to be talked to differently.”
He cited problems like emotional and anger issues stemming from social environments and other mental health issues that have helped him understand how important it is to treat kids of all ages differently, but fairly and consistently.
“It really helps me understand kids more. With 20 years of experience, I’ve seen everything and I really think it will help me as a head coach,” Brown said.
Brown added that he has a potential staff in place and is looking forward to meeting the players and forming a bond with them as soon as possible.
“I’m really excited and I’m raring to go,” Brown said. “I believe Monessen is going back to a hybrid plan for in-person schooling soon, so I’m anxious to get in there and meet the players.
“It’s good having my staff in place. I have some volunteers looking to help out as well. I’m working with people I’m comfortable with and I’m looking forward to them getting to know the kids as well.”
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