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'Moe' Mathieu short in stature, not in skill

| Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 11:05 a.m.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
The casket of legendary Steelers coach Chuck Noll is carried into his funeral service on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, in St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Bishop David Zubik admires a Terrible Towel he received on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, after the funeral of former Steelers coach Chuck Noll in St. Paul Cathedral in Oakland. Zubik officiated the funeral service.

Maurice “Moe” Mathieu may not have been the biggest player on the football field, but he was nothing short of a dynamo for the Monessen Greyhounds.

At 5-foot-8 and 155 pounds, his skill was obvious early as he helped the Monessen Junior High team play for the WPIAL title in 1952 and 1953.

The team was unscored upon and Mathieu scored 10 touchdowns during his junior high days.

Mathieu, a 1957 graduate of Monessen, not only led the Mon Valley Big 6 Conference in scoring with 132 points, he led the entire WPIAL.

He finished at Monessen with 194 points and was named All-Conference and All-State.

For his athletic accomplishments, Mathieu is an inductee in the Mid Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2014.

“This is a great honor to be named into the hall with so many other great athletes,” he said. “The hall is full of the greatest athletes from the area and now I get to be in there.”

Mathieu also played basketball and helped lead the Greyhounds to 38 straight section wins over a four-year period.

A point guard, Mathieu averaged 10 points per game and was named to the Section 5 All-Star team.

“I was a very competitive person,” Mathieu said. “I always wanted to be the best that I could be.”

Rab Currie, coach of the rival Charleroi Cougars, helped Mathieu end up at the University of Miami (Fla.).

As a freshman, Mathieu worked his way up to the first team but he left school due to personal reasons.

In 1958, Mathieu decided to go to Memphis State University and was a defensive specialist during his first season there.

In the first game of his sophomore season, Mathieu blew out his knee and his collegiate football career was over.

Mathieu also played basketball as a freshman at Memphis and averaged 11 points per game.

Mathieu later played semi-pro football. He played one game each for the Harrisburg Capitals and the Washington Merchants.

Unfortunately, Mathieu's knee gave out again. Knowing his playing days were over, he transitioned to coaching.

Mathieu was involved in youth football and baseball in Bentleyville. After losing his job at Beth Energy Coal Mines, he and his wife, Sylvia, moved to Hershey in 1989 to become house parents to needy children at the prestigious Milton Hershey School.

Mathieu coached middle school soccer and baseball at the school until he retired in 2004.

Mathieu and Sylvia have three children, Wendy, Kim and Maurice Jr., along with nine grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Bill Hughes is a freelance writer.

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