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Canon-McMillan hires Coder as new football coach

| Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 7:18 p.m.

Ron Coder, a former Penn State and NFL lineman, was hired Tuesday as football coach at Canon-McMillan, ending the school's prolonged search.

Coder, 58, was an assistant the past two seasons at Northgate, and for one season coached the Pittsburgh Passion women's team. He replaces Tim Sohyda, who resigned in November with a 2-26 record in three seasons with the program.

“Maybe having a fresh set of eyes, somebody from outside the school district who's been around the world, will help,” said Coder, a Steelers third-round draft pick in 1976, who played five seasons with the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Cardinals.

“I know they've got some athletes down there,” he said. “... I really think we can have a lot of fun with winning some games.”

The timing was fortuitous for Coder, whose employment with Billy Graham Ministries ended three weeks ago. The time constraints of that position would have prevented him from coaching, something he'd always wanted to pursue.

“I wasn't really looking for a coaching position even though I love to coach,” he said. “Now that I'm not working, I could consider it. ... This was definitely out of left field, but it's pretty exciting.”

Coder lives in Bellevue, where his wife, Kathy, holds a position on borough council. She also runs Inta-Great, a professional development consulting company. Coder said he'll likely work at times for her company while also making some speaking engagements.

Canon-McMillan was not offering a full-time position with the coaching job, which limited the candidates the district could attract.

Listed at 6-foot-4, 250 pounds during his playing days, Coder was a year ahead of Canon-McMillan athletic director Guy Montecalvo at Penn State.

“My goal is not to be the winningest coach in Pennsylvania history, because I don't have enough years to catch up with those guys,” Coder said. “But I do want to make a difference in the lives of these young men. I want to get some pride back in Canon-McMillan for the football program.”

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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