Colts' McAfee helps improve alma mater Plum's weight room
TribLIVE Sports Videos
When Matt Morgan took over as head coach of the Plum varsity football team in the spring of 2013, one of his goals, and a goal of his assistant coaches, was to improve the condition of a weight room that was starting to become unsafe and unsanitary for his players.
During one weightlifting session, assistant coach and former Plum quarterback Kyle Simmons said, a piece of equipment broke, and that added to the determination to have something done.
“We were brainstorming fundraising ideas, and I had remembered my time in high school playing with Pat McAfee,” Simmons said.
“I was a freshman when he was a senior. I started messaging him on Facebook and started sending him pictures of the weight room. I asked him if he would be willing to donate any money to help out.”
McAfee, a Plum football and soccer player who now is a punter and kicker in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, was moved by what he saw and donated money to help the program purchase a new set of equipment and machines for the weight room.
“It's really cool,” said McAfee, who was at Plum High School last Thursday to see the newly installed equipment and refurbished room behind the home side of Plum's football stadium.
“What coach Morgan, coach Simmons and others are doing with the weight room is pretty exciting. I was glad to be able to help out and give back. You look in there and see a lot of promise and a home for future generations of Plum football players.”
The players removed the flooring and old equipment — much of the still-safe equipment was donated to Oblock Junior High — and volunteers, including several football players' fathers, prepared the room by installing new flooring, painting the walls and installing a speaker system.
“The volunteers really worked their butts off to make the room ready for the equipment,” Morgan said.
“We all really appreciate their help. It was one of our goals to get it done. It's such a benefit and pride things for the kids. We don't want them to take this for granted.”
“Our intentions eventually were to get the project completed in a couple of years down the road, but Pat donated enough money to help make our dreams a reality this year,” Simmons said.
“We offered recommendations for the equipment — what we used in college and what we knew worked – that would benefit the basics of our lifting program. We didn't want anything extravagant. We wanted to purchase good, quality machines that would help the kids get stronger.”
McAfee said he was happy to help in any way possible and happy to be able to make it home to Plum in advance of the start of the 2014 NFL season.
Training camp for the Colts opens next Wednesday.
“You just have to give someone an opportunity to benefit themselves,” McAfee said. “We can't force kids to work and want to get better, but we can give them opportunities to do so if they want to. That's what this gym and the equipment is all about.”
McAfee signed a new 5-year contract with the Colts in March, and he announced the agreement on live television during an appearance on the NFL Network show, NFL AM.
“I enjoyed myself in front of the camera. NFL AM brought me in for a trial run there, and I had a lot of fun,” McAfee said.
He said he also had a lot of fun interacting with members of the Plum football team during his visit, and he also got the opportunity to kick a few footballs on the Plum turf.
McAfee crushed several punts, kickoffs and field goals and was able to give a few pointers to Plum kickers of the present and recent past, including rising junior Jake Chapla, the Mustangs' starting punter and place kicker.
“I struggled punting last year because of soccer, and it was a huge adjustment for me,” Chapla said.
“I am right-handed, but I kick left-footed. I need to learn to hold the ball with my left hand. Pat gave me some great tips. When I was hitting field goals, he told me I was hitting a great ball. I had an NFL kicker tell me I was doing some good things. I am on top of the world.”
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.
- Connellsville football starts strong before succumbing to McKeesport
- South Allegheny mounts 2nd-half rally to top Sto-Rox
- Ringgold topples Thomas Jefferson
- Defense sparks Freeport to Allegheny Conference victory over Shady Side Academy
- Apollo-Ridge edges Keystone Oaks behind Brown’s five touchdowns
- Upper St. Clair upends Penn Hills, 17-0
- Leader Times roundup: Karns City rolls in opener
- BVA breaks in new field by beating Trinity
- Rams take down TJ in season opener
- Penn-Trafford sets tone early, routs Kiski Area, 52-7
- Armstrong football wins inaugural game