Latrobe approves hire of football coach
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Greater Latrobe School Board didn't have to look far in its search for a new football coach.
In fact, it only needed to look down the halls of the high school building and into Jason Marucco's biology classroom.
The school board unanimously approved Marucco's hiring last Tuesday, and he will be tasked with turning around a program that went 18-28 in the last five seasons under Ray Reitz, including a 2-7 mark last season.
He comes from the Mt. Pleasant staff, where he served as the passing game coordinator, wide receivers coach and defensive backs coach since 2009 and helped the Vikings to a Class AA Interstate Conference title last season.
Marucco will attempt to instill that same type of championship culture at Latrobe.
“Just the same type of work ethic and winning attitude that we had over there at Mt. Pleasant,” Marucco said of what he will try and bring to the Wildcats. “Particularly on the practice field, learning how to prepare and earning that right to play with confidence on Friday nights.”
Latrobe football has been a part of Marucco's life since he was just a kid.
Not only did the 41-year-old play for the Wildcats before graduating in 1991, he also worked as the offensive coordinator, offensive line coach and linebackers coach there from 2006-08 and was the running backs coach and defensive ends coach from 1996-98.
He also was an assistant coach of the junior high football team from 1995-96 and coached the seventh grade basketball team in 1996-97.
This will be his first varsity head coaching job.
“It's kind of come full circle. ... I really do think that's what makes this so special for me,” he said.
While a member of the Latrobe football team, Marucco played under coaches Ron Baldonieri and John Bainbridge on teams similar to the current Wildcats squad, which makes it easier to relate to his current players.
“I was sitting in their shoes 23 years ago,” he said. “I understand what they're feeling, too. Change can sometimes be a little scary, but I think over time that we'll develop the relationship with the kids, and they'll learn to trust us and try to build a successful program.”
Marucco's transition into his new role figures to be a smooth one, considering he is familiar with the team from teaching at the school. Some of the players he hadn't yet been introduced to knew where to find him once they heard the news.
“A few of the guys I didn't know, they knew where my room was, came down and congratulated me, which meant a lot especially as a first-time head coach,” he said.
Marucco said he will look to provide coaching help on each side of the ball but will be more focused on offense and will call the offensive plays. He is still in the process of assembling a coaching staff.
While reviving a program that hasn't advanced to the postseason since the 2009-10 season will be no simple chore, Marucco believes that once his team is able to taste a bit of initial success the rest should fall into place.
“I think the biggest challenge is getting that success,” he said. “You know you're going to prepare and work hard, but we all know you need to have that success mentally for them to start believing that they can do this and that we can win football games and have a successful program.”
Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
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.
- High school football notebook: Summer heat possible for season’s first week
- West Shamokin QB Lasslo perfect maestro for Wing-T attack
- Gorman: Rowan’s move hurts area hoops
- Riverview football team benefits from McCombs’ versatility
- Jeannette’s success to be built in the trenches
- Natural rivalries, top-tier talent highlight realigned Allegheny Conference
- Kiski Area QB Kuhn steps into leadership role
- Talented senior runner, pass catcher Waldron returns to lead Yough
- Mt. Pleasant hopes to seize opportunity
- California heads back to Tri-County South
- Like the Allegheny Conference, the Birdie is realigned