Remembering Ben Roethlisberger’s remarkable senior season at Findlay High

Friday, January 28, 2022 | 5:46 PM

Ben Roethlisberger walked off into the sunset Thursday, announcing his retirement from pro football after 18 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But long before No. 7 dodged Terrell Suggs, extended play after play or won two Super Bowls, he was a terrific high school player in Ohio — at least for one season.

Some forget Roethlisberger, a three-sport athlete, only played quarterback as a senior at Findlay High School. He was a wide receiver until he made the full position switch in the fall of 1999.

But that one season blasted off.

Roethlisberger threw for 4,041 yards and 54 touchdowns — both state records — and he also ran for seven scores.

Yes, he was pump-faking then too.

“In high school, you don’t know who’s going to be a pro yet,” Cliff Hite, Roethlisberger’s coach at Findlay, told “You still have kids that are 5-7 and weigh 145 pounds that will give you every ounce of energy and everything that you could possibly desire.

“In Ben’s case, you knew Ben was going to be special.”

Findlay finished 10-2 and reached the second round of the state playoffs.

He threw eight touchdown passes in one game.

Roethlisberger earned Ohio’s Division I Offensive Player of the Year and was runner-up for Mr. Football.

He played in the Big 33 Classic and Ohio North-South all-star games before college attention began to come his way.

Miami (Ohio) coach Terry Hoeppner invited Roethlisberger to a summer camp at the school but did not offer him a scholarship.

“We waited until he played a game,” Hoeppner told “I didn’t want to be the genius to offer this guy who never played quarterback a scholarship.”

But Roethlisberger threw for six touchdowns in that game, and the coach gave a reassured response: “That’s good enough for me.”

Roethlisberger went on to break 10 program records and threw for 10,829 yards, including a Mid-American Conference record 4,486 his junior season, just before he declared for the NFL Draft.

He went No. 11 in the 2004 draft and the rest is history.

Don’t forget about his prowess in other prep sports. Roethlisberger averaged 26.5 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists as a 6-foot-5 senior point guard in basketball.

He also played shortstop for the Findlay baseball team.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at

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