Share This Page

Cathell joins Pa. Football Coaches Hall of Fame

| Friday, June 14, 2013, 11:06 p.m.

Garry Cathell has attend the Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association many times, so in many ways what happens at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg-East at 1 p.m. Saturday will be old hat.

All those other luncheons and banquets, though, won't have quite the gravitas this one will.

After all, he'll be one of the inductees.

“I think the biggest thing for me is that my family will come out here. My mother is getting up in age and to have her here and a lot of my former coaches and some of my players. ... I feel honored and excited,” Cathell, 56, said. “I really didn't put (a speech) together because I want it more from the heart. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to say, but I'll get a little choked up.”

Cathell, who has been the executive director of the PSFCA for the past 30 months, found out in March that he would be honored the weekend of the Big 33 game. He was among the finalists for induction in 2012, but had to wait another year for the call.

“People say that I don't have a lot of wins at the places I've coached, but they took into account my duties with the organization and my longevity,” Cathell said. “Things like that were factors as to why the guys put me into the Hall.”

To be considered for Hall of Fame entry a coach must have at least 100 wins, be over a certain age, have a minimum number of years as an assistant, collegiate coaching experience, if any, and a contribution to the sport.

Cathell has compiled a 107-131-4 record at four different high schools, including three in Pennsylvania. The Clairton alumnus started out at a school in Virginia, went to California (Pa.) University for two years, then moved back into the high school ranks to coach at Peters Township for 13 years, before going to Butler and, most recently, at Elizabeth Forward in 2010.

“The thing I miss the most is the actual football part of being a coach, and coaches will understand that,” Cathell said. “I was a head coach for 25 years and, a lot of times as a coach, you have to deal with what I call ‘the other stuff,' like fund-raising and discipline and stuff like that. But I liked going to practice, being around the kids and being around my coaches. Those are the things I will never forget.”

As the executive director of the PSFCA — a job he can have for life — Cathell doesn't have time to prowl the sideline anymore. What he has done is help establish the Big 33 East/West All-Star Game that pits players from the eastern and western sides of the state in a May matchup held at Mansion Park in Altoona.

He is also attempting to negotiate with Penn State, the Steelers and the Eagles to set up three permanent PSFCA sites so the public in different parts of the state can see their local inductees. Penn State will put its shrine in Beaver Stadium, while negotiations are ongoing with the Steelers for a spot in the Great Hall at Heinz Field and with the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

“There's a lot of nice things for the kids and coaches,” Cathell said. “That's where you get the reward for the whole thing.”

Still, when the time for induction comes, Cathell will be thinking of all the people who helped him join the PSFCA Hall of Fame Class of 2013.

“It's fabulous to meet so many coaches in this thing and that's the honor of it all,” he said. “It's nice to have the guys on either side of the state that appreciate what you do.”

Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at kbarnes@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KBarnes_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.