Fox Chapel Hall of Fame will induct football coach Marelli
This is the fourth in a series highlighting the 2013 inductees into the Fox Chapel Sports Hall of Fame.
Jim Marelli coached football at Fox Chapel Area High School for 18 years and was the head coach from 1979 through 1988.
His teams achieved much success during his tenure as they won two conference championships, advanced to the WPIAL AAAA semifinals twice and the quarterfinals once.
During a five-year stretch in the 1980s, the Foxes won 70 percent of their games.
“The kids were always the focus, not the wins and losses,” Marelli said. “I had the pleasure of having some great assistant coaches and we worked with some fine young men. We had some pretty good players during my coaching career there. Kids like Chris Thorpe, Frank Rocco and Danny Rocco helped us have some pretty good teams.”
Marelli, who grew up in Creighton and attended East Deer High School, moved on to the collegiate ranks after leaving Fox Chapel and he coached at Carnegie Mellon University.
“I was still teaching at Fox Chapel and coaching at CMU. It was a great experience,” Marelli said. “I worked with some outstanding young men and coached with some great guys like Richie Lackner and Rich Erdelyi.
“The biggest difference in coaching at the high school level and college was probably the discipline and the attention span.
“I also got to coach my son, Bryn, at CMU.”
Marelli had a tough time recalling his most memorable moments at Fox Chapel.
“There were so many great experiences,” he said. “One game that stands out is a game against McKeesport. They were always one of the top teams in the WPIAL. We were on the cusp of turning things around but they were bigger and faster than us.
“We were a gritty team, though. We led by seven and McKeesport scored with 30 seconds left. They went for the two-point conversion and we stopped them.
“I was never prouder of my guys. Our team turned the corner after that game.”
Marelli said he loved his coaching days at Fox Chapel and it was gratifying getting to see the players mature as they went through the program.
“It was a good feeling whenever they would come back and take the time to stop in and say hello,” he said.
Besides his son, Marelli and his wife, Diana — who he said is “a saint for putting up with me” — have a daughter, Jamie, who lives in Plum.
The Marellis live in Summerville, SC.
Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.