Wehner finally joins McKeesport varsity football program
By Keith Barnes
Published: Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 11:26 p.m.
If Jim Wehner had wanted to, he could have been bitter toward the McKeesport School District.
The school board passed him over for the head football coaching vacancy. Instead, it opted to delve into the program's past and bring back longtime sideline guru George Smith in an effort to help the Tigers return to the WPIAL Class AAAA elite.
Instead of holding a grudge, Wehner took an olive branch from Smith and joined the Tigers' coaching staff.
“George is one of the good guys in the profession, and whatever he wants me to do, I'm going to do,” Wehner said.
“I couldn't ask for a better guy to work for.”
Earlier this year, Wehner was selected to be an assistant in the annual Big 33 Classic all-star game.
He worked as an assistant to North Allegheny's Art Walker Jr. for the game, which was played June 15 in Hershey and featured the best players from Pennsylvania and Maryland. Pennsylvania won, 58-27, as former Clairton football star Tyler Boyd was named the Keystone State's most valuable player.
“It was a good experience,” Wehner said. “The kids were awesome, and they were kids that wanted to be there.
“They wanted to be coached football, and there was none of the everyday bull you have to put up with. They all just wanted to go play football.”
Wehner will be coaching the strong safeties on defense at McKeesport and help out with quarterbacks.
In the offseason, he will handle college recruiting by making videos for distribution and phone calls to coaches in an effort to drum up interest in McKeesport players.
It will be a change of pace after spending four years patrolling the sideline as the head coach at Baldwin, where he remains employed as a teacher.
Prior to coaching the Fighting Highlanders, Wehner guided Yough for four seasons and won a share of the Allegheny Conference title in 2006.
That was an impressive feat considering the Cougars defeated a Jeannette team led by Terrelle Pryor that won the WPIAL Class AA championship and played in the state finals.
“George said when he called me that he couldn't pass up a guy with 12 years of head coaching experience, and I know what George is going through,” Wehner said.
“I've been through it just like he has. When I was coaching and having a bad day, my assistants didn't know what I was going through, and I'll understand what he's going through, and that will be a bonus on my side.”
While at Yough, he ran a variation of the triple-option offense that McKeesport used for many years. Having experience with that system will be a boon, as the coaching staff attempts to re-educate the players on its subtleties.
Coaching at Baldwin also will help Wehner when it comes to breaking down film on McKeesport's opponents.
“Being a local guy from North Huntingdon, I read about these teams every day in the paper. Woodland Hills was in our conference, and I know what they have coming back,” Wehner said.
“I think I bring something to the table in knowing those teams.”
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @KBarnes_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Kovacevic: Big Ben’s contract clock ticking
- ‘Un-American’? That’s Harry Reid, the Senate’s lowly smear artist
- Talented center Sutter is proving to be ‘pretty important’ for Penguins
- Original tea partyers returning to GOP fold
- Penguins notebook: Beau Bennett returns to practice
- Pirates reserve outfielder Dickerson is also at home on soccer pitch
- Westmoreland County Courthouse in Greensburg to be featured in TV series
- Pitt looking to enhance profile at ACC tourney
- Western Pennsylvania engineer aboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight
- Duquesne man dies in crash
- Analysis: Kesler still on Pens’ radar as Shero aims to bring back ‘Big 3’