Monz ready to build Carlynton football
Mauro Monz's 17 years of coaching includes stops at college football programs of all sizes — including Pitt, Akron, Duquesne, Robert Morris, Youngstown State and West Virginia Tech.
But when the opportunity came up to become the head coach at Carlynton, Monz felt a desire to return to his roots.
“When the job opened up, I thought it would be a great opportunity to give back to the community,” Monz said. “Coaching in college was fun. But there is nothing like Friday night lights.”
The Scott Township native was named coach at last week's school board meeting. He replaces Terry George, who resigned in March. George went 10-19 over three seasons and never guided the team to the postseason.
Monz played his high school ball at Seton-La Salle under Greg Gattuso. After graduating, Monz played defensive back at Duquesne, earning All-MAAC first-team honors and finishing with 12 interceptions.
Monz started his coaching career at Robert Morris as a quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator. From there he zigzagged across the region playing a variety of roles for different programs. He spent time as a recruiting coordinator at Pitt, offensive coordinator at Duquesne, wide receivers coach at Akron and returned to Robert Morris for a season as a special offensive assistant.
Most recently he was the tight ends coach at Youngstown State.
Monz also spent two seasons as the head coach of the West Virginia Tech Golden Bears, an NAIA team at the time, for the 2003 and 2004 seasons. He finished his two-year stint with a 5-17 record, ranking him 13th all time in wins at the school.
“Football has been good to me,” Monz said. “It has been a privilege to work with great coaches like Joe Walton, J.D. Brookhart, Walt Harris and Greg Gattuso. I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with the Carlynton student athletes.”
The greatest challenge for Monz is compiling a coaching staff. He said he has several names in mind, and finding the right coaches will be a focus over the next several weeks.
Monz wouldn't say what scheme he wanted to run, instead wanting the Cougars to focus on the basics of the game.
“I want the team to be known as a physically tough football team my first season,” Monz said. “I want teams to know we're tough. X's and O's is secondary at this point. Right now it is about blocking, tackling and the basics.”
Monz will guide the Cougars in their first season in Class AA since 2007. Carlynton will compete in the Century Conference, which includes defending state champion South Fayette, Seton-La Salle, Keystone Oaks, East Allegheny, Quaker Valley, South Allegheny, Steel Valley, Sto-Rox and South Park.
The team has not reached the playoffs since 2001.
He will have plenty of talent to work with, though. Isiah Canton is coming off a sophomore campaign in which he ran for more than 1,000 yards. Freshman Brandon Rogers showed ability at running back. Lineman Mike Griffin and linebacker Dale Rybacki are multi-year starters.
Monz met his players for the first time last Wednesday during the players' home room period. The team has been without guidance since March, and the first meeting was to get the team focused on preparing for the season.
And while the team is focusing on the basics, Monz already has started working toward a long-term goal.
“For now we will be hitting the weight room,” Monz said. “When you want to build a program, you have to start from the ground up. We want the kids to get excited for football.
“We want to encourage guys who haven't come out in the past to give it a try. We want to get kids to come out. We want numbers to go up from the youth teams all the way up.”
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-388-5813.