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Greater Latrobe, Saint Vincent get ready for Steelers training camp

Renatta Signorini
| Wednesday, July 18, 2018, 5:27 p.m.

The phone calls come early and often.

They begin in January and, by Monday, the phone at the Greater Latrobe School District’s athletic department will ring off the hook. On the other end — a Steelers fan will be preparing for a trip to training camp and Friday Night Lights.

“It’s kind of interesting when I hear people talk about the trips and journeys of a lifetime — we get those calls,” said Mark Mears, district athletic director. “I will estimate that starting Monday, we will receive between 50 and 60 phone calls a day from all over the United States, people asking about this event.”

Players will report to the 53rd Steelers training camp at Saint Vincent College in Unity on Wednesday. The first public practice is the following day. With the players come the preparations that have been under way for weeks on the campus that was quiet Wednesday, but will soon be packed with fans seeking autographs and a glimpse of the 2018 roster. Others in the community, including businesses and school district officials, have been busy as well.

Mears knows the phone calls are going to pick up even more soon. The district hired a temporary secretary to handle them for eight days while he prepares Latrobe Memorial Stadium for Friday Night Lights on Aug. 3. That’s when the players practice in the evening at the high school field, a popular event for Steelers fans ready to get a look at the team.

“We have people from Canada, California, Texas, you name it, they’re coming,” he said. “So it really is a lifetime experience here, and we’re glad that Friday Night Lights can make something special out of that.”

There will be 15 public practices, including Friday Night Lights, between Thursday and Aug. 14. There will be several areas for fans to check out before practices at the college campus, as well Steelers Fest outside of the high school stadium prior to the night session.

“Members of our staff including grounds crew, carpenters, electricians and other staff spend weeks installing fencing, signs, temporary walls, furniture, bedding and much more, so the Steelers family can feel at home in their summer home,” said Vicky Booth, Saint Vincent assistant director of facility management.

ESPN will not be at camp this year, Mears said.

Steelers training camp details

Public practices at St. Vincent College on Chuck Noll Field:

• 2:55 p.m., July 26-30, Aug. 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11-14

Charity walk, July 28

• Second Annual Steelers Charity Walk to benefit The Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research

• 9 a.m., 2 miles at Winnie Palmer Nature Trail

www.steelers.com/charitywalk

Training camp Mass, July 29

• 11:30 a.m., St. Vincent Basilica

• Open to the public, no tickets or reservations needed

Friday Night Lights at Latrobe Memorial Stadium, Aug. 3

• Noon-6 p.m.: Steelers Fest, featuring children’s games, Steelers legends, music and food

• 7 p.m. practice

• 9:15 p.m. fireworks

• Free parking in town

• Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 5-12 and adults 66 and older. Children younger than 5 have free admission.

• Tickets can be purchased at the gate, or in advance by calling 724-539-4236, or by visiting the Greater Latrobe Athletic Office, Latrobe News Stand, Latrobe Parks and Recreation and the Latrobe School District Administration Building.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

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