Reitz father-son combo reunited as coordinators on Hempfield coaching staff

Friday, July 22, 2022 | 3:20 PM

One is old school, committed to stopping the run and appreciative of a good hit over the middle.

The other is new wave. Spread the field, go shotgun and make the secondary guess.

Ray Reitz and his son, Ryan, look at high school football from different perspectives, but they are working together this season as members of the coaching staff at Hempfield.

The father-son combo has reunited after coaching five years together at Latrobe from 2009-14.

Ray Reitz, 66, the former Jeannette head coach — he coached his son there — was the Wildcats’ head coach before spending the past five seasons as an assistant at Greensburg Salem.

Ryan Reitz, 34, left Jeannette two years ago to join Mike Brown’s staff at Hempfield as the offensive coordinator.

His dad is the defensive coordinator.

“He gives me a defensive perspective,” Ryan Reitz said. “And I can help him look at the offense. It’s nice to be back coaching with him. The fire is still there.”

Ray Reitz, who is dealing with health issues again after battling leukemia in 2017, coached at Jeannette, his alma mater, for 26 years — five as a head coach when he led the Jayhawks to two WPIAL championships and a PIAA title with Terrelle Pryor as his quarterback.

He and his son were on the sidelines Thursday at Latrobe, wearing matching bucket hats and yucking it up with old friends and colleagues at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association Larry Sellitto Memorial 7-on-7 Championship.

“It was a good opportunity at Hempfield,” said Ray Reitz, who started out as an assistant at Ellwood City in the late 1980s. “Hempfield has good kids, and they work hard. Working with Ryan is nice. We talk about the game all the time. He asks me about coverages, and I ask him about (offensive plays). I need coaching. It’s good to push through something.”

Brown, who begins his second year with the Spartans, who make a significant drop to Class 5A after some ill-favored years in 6A, said two Reitzes are better than one.

“For sure,” he said. “Ryan does a great job with our offense. With Ray, it seemed too good to be true to have him on staff. Ray grew up with my dad (Bill Brown). We’re like a family here.”

Bill Brown also helps out on the staff.

“He’s like our director of football operations,” Mike Brown said. “With Ray and Ryan, they can learn from each other — how do you do this or that?”

Following in his father’s coaching footsteps has always driven Ryan Reitz, a former lineman who brought an innovative, spread-infused approach to the offense at Jeannette and Hempfield.

“I was lucky (former coach) Roy Hall took me in. Who knows were I’d be otherwise?” Ryan Reitz said. “He was like a second father to me.”

Hempfield has a number of coaches with Jeannette and Penn-Trafford ties. Other assistants include Mike Mariotti and Trevor Petrillo, who are from Jeannette. Brown, Joe Lauricia and Tyler Zimmer are Penn-Trafford alums.

“They call us the ‘Warhawks,’ ” Ryan Reitz said. “Warriors and Jayhawks.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at or via Twitter .

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