New Greensburg Central Catholic football coach Thomas sold on program

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Monday, February 8, 2021 | 5:10 PM


While in the process of deciding whether to apply for the football coach opening at Greensburg Central Catholic, Marko Thomas sat down to watch some film.

Lots of film.

“I watched every one of (GCC’s) games from last year on YouTube and started researching everything I could,” said Thomas, who last week was named coach of the Centurions. “I have always kind of been attracted to the position, to be honest. My mom is a 1968 Central grad, and I also had two aunts go to school there.”

Thomas, 40, a former Penn-Trafford and Geneva standout wide receiver, was coach at Connellsville the past four years.

While he thought about staying for a fifth season, the idea of coaching closer to home sold him on the idea of applying at GCC.

He and his wife, Kerri, have three young sons who are active in sports. The family lives in the Penn-Trafford School District, and the Thomases own a daycare business near Harrison City.

“I like what I see with the guys coming back,” Thomas said. “There is a great group returning. There were a lot of kids who played last year, and I want them to see the field again next season.”

Bret Colbert, who coached the Centurions for two years but was not asked back, was known for promoting his players through social media and reaching out to college coaches to jump-start recruiting.

Colbert helped lineman Matt Metrosky land a preferred walk-on offer from Pitt. Metrosky accepted and will try to earn a scholarship with the Panthers.

“It’s extremely important to get kids’ names out there, and I will look to continue that,” Thomas said. “It was tough at Connellsville, but we did our best to get colleges to know if we had good kids. It might be a little easier at GCC with the program’s reputation.”

Thomas, a former assistant at Penn-Trafford, Yough, Hempfield and Franklin Regional, tried to build Connellsville into a winner again.

Connellsville hasn’t made the WPIAL playoffs — or won more than three games in a season — since 2012.

But a rash of bad luck crashed over the program, often leaving Thomas scrambling.

“You get hit with curveballs,” he said. “Like the year I lost four quarterbacks (to injuries). And the next year, I lost all my running backs because they were hurt. We’re playing Penn-Trafford, and they’re bringing in a 6-1, 200-pound kid off the bench, and I have to put in a 5-foot-something, 160-pound freshman. It was tough.

“It all made me adjust. I am still growing, and GCC is the perfect spot to grow.”

Connellsville went 6-31 under Thomas with no playoff appearances.

GCC has made the WPIAL Class A playoffs once in the past five years, but Thomas thinks he can get the Centurions back in the mix.

“Marko has energy and passion for the game, and he has excitement to be coaching at GCC,” GCC athletic director Dan Mahoney said. “We are looking for great things from him and his staff.”

The last three GCC coaches left with .500 records.

Colbert went 9-9 and made the playoffs in 2019. Aaron Smetanka, coach at Saint Vincent, led the Centurions for two years and finished 10-10 with no playoff trips.

The previous coach, Mahoney, was 25-25 and made the playoffs four times in five seasons.

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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