ShareThis Page

Steelers rain delay: Wet weather pushes back St. Vincent's early prep for training camp

| Thursday, July 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
St. Vincent College President Br. Norman Hipps describes the detailed preparations before the 48th annual Pittsburgh Steelers Summer Training Camp during a press conference on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 .
Lindsay Dill | Tribune-Review
St. Vincent College President Br. Norman Hipps describes the detailed preparations before the 48th annual Pittsburgh Steelers Summer Training Camp during a press conference on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 .

While wet weather has delayed by a few days the early set-up of the 48th annual Pittsburgh Steelers training camp, officials at St. Vincent College in Unity began planning for the event shortly after spring commencement in June.

Larry Hendrick, director of facility management, said crews plan to work during the weekend to make up for the last few days of rain.

“The weather has us behind maybe a day or two,” he said, adding that most of the rental equipment should arrive on campus by the end of the week, including more than a mile of temporary fencing, dozens of tents and 25 portable toilets.

While a detailed schedule has not been released, the first practice on July 27 at St. Vincent's Chuck Noll Field is from 3 to 5 p.m., the time for all the other public practices, according to the team website.

The annual Steelers celebration at Latrobe Memorial Stadium is slated for 7 p.m. Aug. 2.

For the first time in about five years, the Steelers will also open an evening practice from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 14 at Noll Field.

St. Vincent alumni will be able to bring high school juniors and seniors who are prospective St. Vincent students to the evening practice to register to win field-side passes.

The Rev. Paul Taylor, the college's executive vice president, said he hopes that will enable even more fans to join the nearly 10,000 training camp visitors expected each year.

Some of the fan experience will change as amenities are moved closer to the parking area to help alleviate traffic and pedestrian congestion, Hendrick said.

The Steelers Experience, including interactive games for fans, and the Great Hall memorabilia trailer will move closer to the parking lot, Hendrick said.

“We're moving some things around to have better access,” he said.

The relocation is expected to help pedestrian congestion caused when the team members had to walk to and from the field to the campus buildings, said Public Safety Director Steve Brown.

“The fans would be stuck,” he said. “Now there won't be any conflict like that.”

A new gravel lane will help cars traverse the temporary field parking lot, which can hold between 1,000 and 3,000 cars.

Hendrick said the addition of more carnival food will add to the “festive” atmosphere.

Catering director Julia Molnar-Bish said as the concessions move closer to the parking lot, more golf-cart transportation and preparation will be necessary.

About 50 seasonal workers are hired by the college to help run the camp, including in dining services, which serves up 1,600 pounds of beef and chicken, 1,100 pounds of fish, 1,200 pounds of cheese, 160 gallons of orange juice and 1,500 pounds of fresh vegetables.

Executive chef Dan Keeley said he works with the Steelers nutritionist in May to plan meals, and everything is labeled with nutrition content.

“If they need to maintain weight, they can see the calories and they know if they're overweight” where to cut back, he said.

Steelers team members eat fewer desserts and more fruit than students, but also enjoy outdoor grilled barbecue daily, including “Fred Flinstone”-sized shortribs, Keeley said.

Molnar-Bish said she likes the increased activity on campus, even with the ramped up preparation.

“It's a different energy on campus,” she said. “It's a complete switching of gears for us.”

Benedictine Brother Norman Hipps, president of St. Vincent, recalled last year's campus production of “The Chief” when “Mean” Joe Greene was in audience and was asked his reaction after seeing it for the first time.

“All he did was touch his heart,” Hipps said. “And I swear I saw a little tear coming down his cheek.”

Taylor said he likes to see the team members do their jobs during the camp, adding that offensive lineman Ramon Foster is a personal favorite.

“It's interesting to watch the new players incorporate into the team and watch them work hard to make the team,” Taylor said.

When training camp visitors stroll to the basilica or monastery, it shows the blending of different facets of the Benedictine liberal arts college and the diverse opportunities there, Taylor said.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.

click me