ShareThis Page

Murdered W&J football player remembered at funeral

| Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, 2:23 p.m.
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
The family of Tim McNerney consoles each other after the funeral for the murdered Washington and Jefferson football player at Holy Selpucher Church in Middlesex on Tuesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
A Washington and Jefferson football teammate of Tim McNerney looks skyward and holds up five fingers for his jersey number after the funeral for the murdered football player at Holy Selpucher Church in Middlesex on Tuesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Tim McNerney died as a result of being beaten in Washington on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012.
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
Washington and Jefferson football teammates of Tim McNerney console each other and hold up five fingers for his jersey number after the funeral for the murdered football player at Holy Selpucher Church in Middlesex on Tuesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
The casket of murdered Washington and Jefferson football player Tim McNerney is taken into Holy Selpucher Church in Middlesex for his funeral on Tuesday. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch

Tim McNerney was one of the first people whom DeAndre Simmons met when he joined the Washington & Jefferson College football team.

“He asked me what position I play and I said running back and he smirked and said, ‘Me, too,' ” said Simmons, 22, a W&J senior. “From then on, it was an ongoing competition.”

On Tuesday, Simmons mourned at his friend's funeral, where he and others remembered McNerney as more than a talented football player.

“Tim, in many ways, was the best of us,” Brandon Flick, 22, who played football with McNerney at Knoch, said outside the church. “It's hard to describe his impact.”

McNerney, 21, of Penn Township, Butler County, died from head trauma suffered when he and a teammate were attacked and robbed by as many as six men on a street in Washington, Pa., on Thursday. McNerney was a standout senior running back at Washington & Jefferson College and was the all-time leading rusher at Knoch High School.

More than 300 people, many of them McNerney's high school and college teammates, attended his Tuesday morning funeral at Holy Sepulcher Roman Catholic Church in Middlesex. A bagpiper played as pallbearers carried his casket into and out of the church.

The Rev. John Gizler, pastor at Holy Sepulcher, said during the funeral Mass that McNerney “leaves behind shoes too big to fill.”

“He was a shining ray of light to those who knew him,” he said. “He had great integrity and, despite his youth, was very wise.

“He inspired and challenged those around him. And he practiced what he preached because he lived up to his own ideals.”

Colin McNerney, 21, said his cousin inspired him with his outlook on life.

“He looked for the positive in everything,” McNerney said following the service. “He didn't tell me that; he showed me.”

W&J coach Mike Sirianni said McNerney's death hit the team hard.

“He was that kid on the team that everyone looked up to when things were going bad,” Sirianni said. “It's tragic. I hope this is the worst thing these 18- to 22-year-olds have to deal with — especially with the way it happened.”

Meanwhile, the investigation into the beating death continues. Surveillance video shows several people in the area when the crime occurred, Washington police Chief Robert Lemons said Tuesday.

“We can't judge anything off it,” he said. Lemons declined to elaborate.

McNerney is survived by parents Denise and Robert, brother Patrick and grandparents Francis and Frances Schanck and Ruth McNerney.

“Six days ago we never would have believed we would be bidding farewell to a man like him,” Gizler said. “He was a talented musician, coach and mentor. He has left a legacy that some take a lifetime to achieve.”

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.