Former Brentwood coach Radosevich honored by state hall of fame
When George Radosevich's daughter, Susan, wanted to learn how to throw the discus, dad didn't waste any time.
“He taught me how to throw the discus with a salad plate in the dead of winter when it was snowing out,” Susan laughed. “He took me outside with a salad plate and taught me how to throw the discus in the winter because I showed an interest.”
On Saturday, Radosevich will be honored as a 2014 inductee of the Western Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame for his success as an athlete and coach.
Radosevich has achieved a lot through athletics, including having his name engraved on Pitt's Walk of Fame, serving as Johnny Unitas' first center for the Baltimore Colts, winning a state title as an assistant coach for the 1982 Brentwood girls' basketball team and winning a gold medal in the discus at the 2005 Senior Olympics at the age of 77, just to name a few things.
And, honestly, he doesn't care to talk about it. Not that he doesn't appreciate what sports have done for him and his family, but he never measured success through wins and losses.
“I never accumulated it,” Radosevich said of his coaching records. “I wasn't going to stand up and take accolades for the athletes that I coached and the students that I taught because they earned theirs. I was just happy that I had the opportunity to teach them and to coach them and bring out their best.”
As a Brentwood alumnus, Radosevich earned 14 varsity letters before becoming a three-sport star at Pitt. Following military service and a three-year NFL career, he started his life's work as a teacher and coach.
After 43 years as a coach and teacher at Peabody, Clairton and Brentwood, Radosevich still maintains his enthusiasm for sports at age 86, as he reveals his coaching philosophy served a purpose larger than just results.
“I look at it this way,” he said. “Sports are very important because what it teaches athletes and students to do is follow rules. There's rules and regulations that have to be accounted for. That carries over in their lives. You teach and coach by the rules.”
Radosevich coached all of his children, Mark, Marcie, Ruth Ann and Susan, in high school, and needless to say, sports played a big role in the Radosevich household growing up.
“I look back at that as the most wonderful time of my childhood and young life, to have that experience with my dad,” said Susan, a member of the 1982 WPIAL and PIAA champion basketball team at Brentwood. “Just that time we shared, and how proud he was, I remember. It made me feel so good to make him proud.”
“Dad just did it,” Ruth Ann said of her father's coaching. “He donated his time.”
Radosevich started the Brentwood Bells travel track team in the early 1970s by placing an ad in the South Hills Record, asking any interested girls to attend a meeting at the football stadium.
“I bet there was 100 girls that showed up,” said Ruth Ann, who ran track and cross country.
One of Radosevich's peers, Dave Warner, helped start the girls' track program at Brentwood in the mid-1970s.
“He was my mentor and role model,” said Warner, former head coach of the Brentwood girls' basketball program. “I can't say enough good things about the gentleman. He put the kids first and he thought that's the way it should be.”
Even though Radosevich has downplayed his hall-of-fame credentials, there have been plenty of others willing to speak up for “Coach.”
“I've received so many letters and emails from former players and students, saying how much he meant to them and how he molded them into young men,” said Ruth Ann, who has taken on the task of organizing everything for the upcoming induction ceremony. “I just sat at my computer and cried.”
Said Warner, “He has meant more to that school, in my mind, than any other coach or teacher.”
Justin Criado is a freelance writer.