WPIAL Coaches Corner – Ryan Matsook

Saturday, December 24, 2016 | 2:34 PM

‘Tis the season for getting to know some of the hometown coaches here in western Pennsylvania. In this brand new feature titled “Coach’s Corner”, I will be interviewing a different coach every week and asking them questions about their personal life and about coaching. Hopefully their answers will not only shed some light on how they coach their respective teams, but also allow readers to get to know the men behind the fields/courts.

Next on the docket is Beaver Falls coach Ryan Matsook. Coach Matsook led the Beaver Falls Tigers to their first WPIAL title since 1984 as well as their first PIAA title ever. After a loss in the opener to Aliquippa, Coach Matsook guided his team to 13 straight wins to capture the titles. Let’s take a look inside Coach Matsook’s corner:

  1. What are some of your hobbies in the offseason?

I like to exercise when I can.  I am involved a lot with my kids youth sports teams in the offseason as well.

  1. What was your favorite TV show as a kid?

That is a tough one.  Probably The Fresh Prince or maybe the Cosby Show

  1. What was your favorite holiday growing up? Why?

Always loved Christmas because there was always family around.

  1. What was your dream job when you were young?

I think in my heart I always wanted to be a coach of some sort.  Growing up around sports and watching my father it was always in my heart to coach. 

  1. What are some of your pet peeves?

Players who use excuses to not reach their potential really bother me.   I have over my career seen so many players rise above their circumstances to be successful.  Any one of them could have used an excuse to quit but didn’t.  The only thing standing in the way of the things we say we want is simply doing it.  Too many people look for a reason not to and have the excuse lined up.  

  1. Who was your favorite football player growing up? And why?

Probably Walter Payton.  My father coached Jimbo Covert in high school who played for the Bears when I was young.  Naturally I got into watching the Bears because of that.   Walter Payton pound for pound the toughest football player ever. 

          7. What is your proudest moment as a high school football coach?

Other than winning the WPIAL and PIAA titles this year it would have to be the all of the ex—players reaching out to me that I have coached over the last 16 years.  It meant so much to hear from all of them. 

           8. Describe the feeling of having guided Beaver Falls to their first ever PIAA State football title.

Feeling was indescribable.  Don’t know that it has fully set in yet.  I am not usually one that is at a loss for words but what those kids accomplished speaks for itself.  Just so proud of our coaches and kids.    

            9. How did you decide you wanted to coach football?

Always knew I wanted to coach.  My father’s last two years at Rochester I tried to be around and help when needed.  In 2000 my Uncle gene hired me full time at Rochester and the rest is history. 

            10. Your father and your brother both won PIAA and WPIAL football titles at Rochester high school. How does it feel to have your name be right up there with your family?

Gene is actually like my Uncle but it is funny you say brother because he is more like my older brother.  It feels great to win titles just like they did.  I tried to take anything I could from being around the both of them and implement that at Beaver Falls.  Not necessarily the Xs and Os but the overall mindset and philosophy.  You win football games by being tough, both mentally and physically. 

             11. What is your favorite part about coaching high school football?

Just the relationships and time spent with the coaches and kids.  Those relationships last a lifetime.  Bonds get created that cannot be broken.  

              12. Who inspires you the most when it comes to coaching?

Definitely my father.  He started all of this back in 1986 at Rochester.  Like I said before, winning is a mindset.  He created that mindset in 1986.  Gene and I have taken that and built our own successes. 

              13. The last time Beaver Falls won a WPIAL football title was in 1984. What was different about this team that allowed them to consistently win big games and end that 32-year drought?

Lots of factors play into that.  First off they are a tough group of kids.  They allow you to push them because they were competitive.  Secondly, they were a close knit group.  Jealousy did not exist among them.  They fought for each other.  Lastly, they trusted us as coaches to guide them.  They never questioned.  They just continued to work. 

               14. What was your most embarrassing moment as a high school football coach?

Good question.  I don’t get embarrassed easily.  Maybe when I fly off the handle a little during a game.  I always feel a little bad for losing my cool. 

                15. The first game of the year, Aliquippa came in and beat you guys pretty handily at your home stadium. Did that function as a wake-up call for the team? How was the mentality different for you guys in your second meeting with the Quips (a convincing 35-22 victory in the WPIAL title game)?

Was the best thing that happened to us.  It brought us together and really fed into our motto this year “No Excuses.”  It really showed the maturity of the group we had in seeing what needed to be fixed and then fixing it.     


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