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Former NFL player gets Plum Mustangs coaching job

| Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, 10:57 p.m.

The Plum High School varsity football team has hired an alumnus as its new coach in hopes he will boost the struggling program.

The school board last week voted 8-0 to hire Matt Morgan, a 1999 Plum High School graduate. Morgan replaces Frank Sacco, who was hired in 2008. Morgan will be paid $8,988.

Board member John St. Leger was absent.

Morgan, who lives in Plum, played offensive tackle for the University of Pittsburgh, and for the St. Louis Rams and the Buffalo Bills of the NFL.

“We needed a change in direction,” said board member Kevin Dowdell of the hiring. “He will bring enthusiasm to the kids. A change will be good for the kids.”

“He has excellent qualifications,” board member Sal Colella said.

Morgan has been assistant coach at neighboring Gateway High School for the past three seasons.

“It's pretty exciting,” Morgan said. “I had been pacing back and forth all day; I thought I was in the NFL again.”

The board in December opened the head coaching position.

Sacco was an assistant to former head football Coach Bill Rometo for 15 years before becoming head coach.

The Mustangs have lost their past 16 games, a school record. Overall, the team has a 10-28 record from 2009-2012. Sacco helped lead Plum to back-to-back playoff appearances in 2009 and 2010.

“I know we've only won one game the past two years, but I ultimately have to get the kids believing in football in this district,” Morgan said.

Morgan planned to meet with prospective players last week.

With former Gateway coach Terry Smith leaving the Gators for a position with Temple University, former assistants, including Morgan, have been freed to go elsewhere.

“I know some very solid guys coming with me from Gateway,” Morgan said as he begins the search for a staff. “One of Terry's strengths was structuring Gateway like a college or NFL team. I've learned a lot from him.”

Board member Joe Tommarello praised Sacco for his contribution to the team.

“I want to thank Coach Sacco for all the hard work and dedication he put into the program and the groundwork he laid for the program,” Tommarello said.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or kzapf@tribweb.com. Freelance writer George Guido contributed to this story.

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