Share This Page

Serra Catholic football coach Jamie Eckels resigns after 3 seasons

| Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, 6:58 p.m.
Serra Catholic coach Jamie Eckel. Ron Vezzani | For The Daily News

Serra Catholic is in the market for a new football coach.

Jamie Eckels turned in his letter of resignation to athletic director Bill Cleary Friday, thus ending an unsuccessful three-year stint where the Eagles won only five games.

“I would like to thank Jamie and his staff for their work here at Serra,” Cleary said. “This was a tough rebuilding year for us.”

Eckels would only say that he resigned for “personal reasons.”

Serra went 0-9 and was outscored by more than 40 points per game. At the end of the season, the Eagles had barely enough players to field a team.

Still, Cleary was adamant that administration isn't considering disbanding a football program that is only five years removed from a WPIAL Class A title and a state championship game appearance.

“I cannot emphasize enough that we are not disbanding football,” Cleary said. “We had a tough year in a tough conference. This happens to a lot of schools.”

Serra has lost 11 consecutive games and won only 18 since losing to Steelton-Highspire in the 2007 Class A state championship game.

As for Eckels, low numbers have plagued his program since taking over for Rich Bowen following the 2009 season.

Serra went 5-23 in Eckels' three years, including a 5-18 conference record. Four of Serra's five wins over the past three years came against Bentworth and Avella.

“It was a tough year, sure,” Cleary said. “Those things happen. We will start the search for his replacement immediately.”

Eckels, a 1973 Serra grad, spent most of his career as an assistant coach, most notably at McKeesport. Eckels was the offensive coordinator and was credited in bringing the flexbone offense to McKeesport in the early 1990s.

Eckels did have one other coaching stint from 1987-91 with Cameron County. Cameron County won five games in five years before Eckels arrived and he finished his four years with a 17-19-1 slate. He left Cameron County to join McKeesport's staff in 1991 and stayed for 19 seasons.

In other coaching news, McKeesport will conduct second interviews Saturday for its vacant head coaching job that came open when Jim Ward resigned last month.

Clairton defensive coordinator Wayne Wade, Baldwin coach Jim Wehner and former McKeesport coach George Smith are among the candidates to replace Ward. McKeesport expects to hire a coach by the end of the month.

Smith coached at McKeesport for 28 years before unexpectedly resigning two years ago after philosophical differences with the administration. Smith won 197 games, two WPIAL titles and two state titles with the Tigers.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mkaboly@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

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.