Loebig taking over Chartiers Valley football
Niel Loebig knew he wanted to get back into coaching high school football. The opening at Chartiers Valley provided the perfect opportunity.
“Chartiers Valley is basically my hometown,” Loebig said. “I grew up in Bridgeville and Heidelberg. My parents went to Chartiers Valley. I grew up playing basketball against guys from Chartiers Valley. When the job opened up, it sounded like an opportunity I would love to do.”
The school board hired Loebig — who was a member of Duquesne's coaching staff last season — at last week's meeting.
He replaces Chris Saluga, who resigned after leading the Colts for 12 seasons.
Loebig, 30, was chosen from 40 applicants.
“We think that his experience at the collegiate level should translate in the high school level,” Chartiers Valley athletic director Frank Vulcano said. “We think he will be able to take the team to the next level.”
Loebig most recently was the passing game coordinator and receivers coach at Duquesne. He also was a member of the Duquesne coaching staff from 2006-10.
He served as the quarterback coach from 2006-09, helping Scott Knapp and Kevin Rombach finish in the NCAA FCS top-15 pass efficiency ratings. In 2009, he was named the Dukes' offensive coordinator.
His lone break in coaching at Duquesne came in 2011 when he was the offensive coordinator at Lely High School in Naples, Fla.
“My wife has been a beach girl all her life, and one of her dreams was to move to Florida,” Loebig said. “The opportunity came about, and she had sacrificed with me being a college coach (so) I thought it was my turn to sacrifice.
“We ended up having our son and decided to move back home.”
Loebig said his time at Lely was informative as he learned what can and cannot be brought into high school football from the college level.
“I think basically football is football at any level,” Loebig said. “It is a little scaled back on the high school level, but you still have to play good offense, defense and special teams.
“The experience in Florida was great, and I learned a lot.”
Before joining the coaching ranks, he was a quarterback for Duquesne from 2001-04. Loebig led the Dukes to four straight conference titles and an NCAA Division I-AA Mid-Major National Championship in 2003.
Loebig is a 1999 South Fayette graduate who threw for 5,589 yards and 65 touchdowns with the Lions.
As a former WPIAL athlete, Loebig said it is exciting to be able to coach in the area.
“Nothing compares to Western Pennsylvania football,” Loebig said.
While his history might suggest there will be an emphasis on offense, Loebig wants Chartiers Valley to be known for a strong defense.
“I want the team to hold its opponents to not a lot of points,” Loebig said. “Defense is going to be a big emphasis. Offensively, we will look at using multiple formations.”
Loebig's first task will be hiring a staff. He has yet to make a hire but knows what he is looking for in an assistant.
“I want a staff of top-notch coaches who are able to teach the players,” Loebig said. “When I look for coaches, I think it is more important to build relationships than Xs and Os.”
From there, Loebig will start getting to know his team. He plans to have workouts throughout the summer and said he would like to get involved in some 7-on-7 camps.
Loebig wants to start his career at Chartiers Valley strong and carry it into the season.
“We may go 9-0 and make playoffs, or we might not,” Loebig. “But I feel that if we practice hard, prepare well and play our best, we will have success.”
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5813 or firstname.lastname@example.org.