Perry wants to return success to Keystone Oaks football
Greg Perry is coming home.
Perry, a 1979 alumnus of Keystone Oaks, was named the coach of the Golden Eagle football program last week. He resigned as coach of Seton-La Salle in December.
“It feels good to be able to come home and try and bring success to the program,” Perry said. “We had success when I was a player there. It seemed like the time was right to try and bring it back.”
Perry replaces Matt Taylor, who resigned after the 2013 campaign after going 4-14 in two seasons.
As coach of the Rebels, Perry — a Green Tree resident— recorded a 73-24 record over nine seasons while leading the team to eight playoff appearances, including four straight quarterfinal berths and two WPIAL semifinal appearances. He also served as offensive coordinator at Seton-La Salle from 1994 to 2004.
Coming from another Century Conference program also will give Perry an edge heading into the season. And while the WPIAL will likely shuffle the conference due to PIAA adjusting its enrollment figures, Perry is expecting to see the typical powers in South Fayette and Seton-La Salle.
“We might gain a couple of schools and lose a couple,” Perry said. “But I can't see the nucleus changing. We know the South Fayettes of the world are the favorites going in no matter what conference it is. But familiarity will make things a bit easier for the coaches and players.”
The cupboard will not be bare in Perry's first season with the Golden Eagles.
Quarterback Kobe Phillippi will return after throwing for 1,028 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior.
The team's leading rusher also returns — Jimmy Canello picked up 422 yards and five touchdowns as a junior.
The team also will return several of its top tacklers, including cornerback Brandon Carroll (56 tackles) and linebackers Canello (35) and Leo Palmer (26).
Even with the talent returning, connecting with the seniors on the 2014 roster will be a top goal for the staff. Perry will be those players' third coach during their high school careers.
“As a coach, it is your responsibility to make those four years special for a player,” Perry said.
“I will only get one season with those guys, but I will do my best to make sure the kids take back a little bit of the program with them.”
Perry will begin offseason workouts with the players who are not involved with winter sports, though he said he is supports all his players in playing other sports.
“You have to give kids that opportunity,” Perry said. “I am coming from a small school where a lot of guys were two-sport athletes, whether it was football and basketball or football and baseball. But if they're not in another sport, we will be there every day after school to lift weights and build the team into one unit.”
But when Perry gets a chance to start coaching the full team, there won't be talks of championships or wins. The main focus will be Week 1.
“No matter where we were as a coaching staff over the last 20 years, we have geared our focus toward Week 1,” Perry said.
“If you can start the season successfully, you can build from there. If you ask any coach, everyone dreams of winning a championship, but sometimes that is not possible right away. If we as players and coaches work to prepare over the next eight months for Week 1, it will give us the opportunity to be successful.”
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-388-5813.