AD Ryan Matsook seeks football coach who’ll unite Western Beaver, Lincoln Park

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Monday, December 3, 2018 | 10:12 PM


Western Beaver needs a new football coach and there’s a state-title winner already working in the district.

A cooperative agreement with Lincoln Park makes the job more attractive, said athletic director/vice principal Ryan Matsook, but no, he’s not a candidate.

“That’s been the hot topic of discussion,” Matsook said with a laugh, shortly after the district advertised the job. “I’m interested in finding somebody to take the position. I’m just not interested in taking it myself.”

The school board opened the position last month after deciding to replace Matt Gray, the team’s coach for 18 seasons. Western Beaver went 3-7 overall last season, 2-5 in the WPIAL Class 2A Midwestern Conference.

A year earlier they went 6-5 and reached the playoffs.

“We had a very young team last year,” Matsook said. “I think that bodes well for somebody who wants to roll their sleeves up and go to work.”

There’s already a short list of WPIAL schools seeking a new football coach, including Freedom, Hopewell, Knoch and Ringgold. A cooperative sponsorship with Lincoln Park makes the small-school Western Beaver job intriguing.

Under the PIAA-approved agreement, Western Beaver began drawing football players from the performing arts charter school last season. The two Beaver County schools are less than five miles apart, with Lincoln Park in Midland and Western Beaver in Industry.

“People look at the cooperative agreement and see two separate schools, but it’s kind of like Monaca-Center, really,” Matsook said. “I think it could be something that’s special if you get the right person in place.”

Matsook considered Lincoln Park an untapped resource.

The charter school has a successful boys basketball program but doesn’t field its own football team. Western Beaver received nine football players from Lincoln Park this fall, bolstering its approximately 30-player roster.

“It’s just a matter of reinventing yourself (as a football program), pulling the two schools together and getting the best resources out of both,” Matsook said. “For somebody who could bring the two schools together, it could be a very good job in my opinion.”

Matsook won WPIAL and PIAA titles in 2016 as Beaver Falls’ coach and then resigned after the season. He said he enjoys his new found free time and doesn’t plan a return to the sideline anytime soon.

“I’m good with being in the background,” Matsook said. “It’s time for some other young guys to step up and take the lead.”

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