Fox Chapel selects Ravotti as coach
Former Steelers linebacker Eric Ravotti was deactivated to make room on the roster for the return of cornerback Rod Woodson from an injury for Super Bowl XXX in 1996.
Last night, Ravotti was activated as head coach of the Fox Chapel football team.
Ravotti, a Freeport and Penn State standout who played a reserve role for the Steelers from 1994-96, faces the task of rejuvenating a program that has struggled over the past decade.
Ravotti, 39, of Pine Township, hopes to increase player turnout by using his pro background to make the Foxes coaching staff attractive to potential players.
He said he plans to bring aboard a number of assistant coaches with pro resumes, including former Steelers punter Josh Miller, who does radio commentary for 93.7 The Fan.
Ravotti declined to provide other names at this time.
"We want to offer coaches with major college and pro experience," Ravotti said. "We'll try to offer a unique situation. They'll be taught like a professional. It will be like they are on a professional-style team. We'll run some of the most current stuff. We hope to present something new to players."
Fox Chapel must increase the size of its roster to compete in the Quad East Conference with perennial powers Central Catholic, Penn Hills and Woodland Hills, according to Ravotti.
Ravotti said Fox Chapel loses a number of football players to Central Catholic and Class AA Shady Side Academy, which is located in Fox Chapel, on a regular basis.
Ravotti replaces Bryan Deal, who compiled a 15-42 record and one WPIAL playoff appearance (2008) in six seasons. The Foxes finished 1-8 overall and 1-5 in the Quad East Conference this past year.
Last season, Ravotti served as a volunteer assistant at Class AA Freeport (7-4), which advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals. He coached the Yellowjackets' defensive ends and tight ends.
"I believe he'd be a good fit anywhere," Freeport coach John Gaillot said. "He's about principle. He's not strictly football. He brings out the best in everybody. He was definitely a huge addition here. He'll be sadly missed. I'm very happy for him."
Before joining the Freeport staff last season, Ravotti was a consultant for a number of WPIAL high school teams for two years. He said he offered mainly personal training advice during the offseason.
"We're very excited about the possibilities of the things he can do," Fox Chapel athletic director Mike O'Brien said. "He comes in with proven playing and coaching experience. Hopefully, he can take what Bryan Deal started and take it to the next level."