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Smetanka hired to coach Greensburg Central Catholic football

Bill Beckner Jr.
| Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, 5:57 p.m.
Greensburg Central Catholic football coach Aaron Smetanka
Greensburg Central Catholic football coach Aaron Smetanka

Having commuted from the North Hills to St. Vincent College for four-plus years as a football player and coach, Aaron Smetanka knows his way around the Greensburg area.

The former Bearcats quarterback will make the familiar drive again, only he won't go quite as far as Latrobe when he begins his new job as head football coach at Greensburg Central Catholic.

Smetanka, 28, officially was named Dan Mahoney's replacement on Tuesday. Mahoney, the school's athletic director, resigned after five seasons.

A former all-conference college quarterback who played on the arena league circuit and had a tryout with the Steelers, Smetanka begins his first stint as a head coach. He was an assistant at Chartiers Valley, Peters Township and St. Vincent.

He currently is an assistant basketball coach at Northgate.

While Smetanka could soup-up the offense, he surely will emphasize conditioning. He works full-time for VYGOR Fitness and Nutrition.

“I am excited for the opportunity to he a head coach here and to get the program back to where it was in past years,” he said. “I want to rejuvenate everything. It's a great school. I went to Catholic school all the way through college so this is the kind of school I want to be part of.”

With the weight room buzzing and junk food out the window, Smetanka will gear his schemes to his players. Former quarterbacks like to sling it around. Is that ahead for the Centurions, who went 2-8 last season?

“Who knows? We could be no-huddle, uptempo,” Smetanka said. “If not, we can slow it down and call in all the plays. It depends on our skill set.”

Smetanka said he also interviewed at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, his alma mater, and also was a finalist there.

Smetanka quarterbacked the Erie Explosion to back-to-back indoor championships. He was the Continental Indoor Football League MVP in 2014.

“He is a great young coach and will do well there,” said Shawn Liotta, Smetanka's coach in Erie. “He is a very high-character guy. An excellent choice for them.”

And back to the commuting, Smetanka was playing, coaching and working during a stretch, going from the North Hills to Latrobe and Erie — and back — while getting home at 2 a.m. only to get up again three hours later.

He put 198,000 miles on his old GMC Envoy.

“Someone actually bought that from me,” Smetanka said. “It was tough but when you love what you do, you'll make the commitment to be there.”

His coaching staff will take time to assemble as he interviews Mahoney's assistants and some coaches he has in mind.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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