Reitz’s father-son combo reunited as Hempfield coaching staff coordinators

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Friday July 22, 2022 | 3:20 p.m.


One is old school, determined to stop the run and enjoying a good shot down the middle.

The other is the new wave. Spread the field, go shotgun and make the secondary guess.

Ray Reitz and his son, Ryan, watch high school football from different angles, but they’ve been working together this season as members of Hempfield’s coaching staff.

The father-son combo reunited after coaching five years together at Latrobe from 2009 to 2014.

Ray Reitz, 66, Jeannette’s former head coach – he coached his son there – was the Wildcats head coach before spending the last five seasons as an assistant at Greensburg Salem.

Ryan Reitz, 34, left Jeannette two years ago to join Mike Brown’s team at Hempfield as offensive coordinator.

His father is the defensive coordinator.

“He gives me defensive perspective,” Ryan Reitz said. “And I can help him watch the offense. It’s nice to be back coaching with him. The fire is still there. »

Ray Reitz, who is again struggling with health issues after fight against leukemia in 2017, coached at Jeannette, his alma mater, for 26 years – five as head coach when he led the Jayhawks to two WPIAL championships and a PIAA title with Terrelle Pryor as quarterback.

He and his son were on the sidelines Thursday in Latrobe, wearing matching bucket hats and romping with old friends and colleagues at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association’s Larry Sellitto Memorial 7-on-7 Championship.

“It was a good opportunity at Hempfield,” said Ray Reitz, who started as an assistant at Ellwood City in the late 1980s. “Hempfield has good kids and they work hard. Working with Ryan is fun. We talk about the game all the time. He asks me about covers, and I ask him about (offensive plays). I need coaching. It’s good to get something going. »

Brown, entering his second year with the Spartans, who are dropping significantly in Class 5A after a few disreputable years in 6A, said two Reitzes are better than one.

“It sure is,” he said. “Ryan is doing a great job with our offense. With Ray, it seemed too good to be true to have him on the team. Ray grew up with my dad (Bill Brown). We are like a family here.

Bill Brown also helps staff.

“He’s like our director of football operations,” Mike Brown said. “With Ray and Ryan they can learn from each other – how do you do this or that?”

Following in his father’s footsteps as a coach has always motivated Ryan Reitz, a former lineman who brought an innovative, spread-infused approach on offense to Jeannette and Hempfield.

“I was lucky (former coach) Roy Hall took me in. Who knows if I would be otherwise?” said Ryan Reitz. “He was like a second father to me.”

Hempfield has a number of coaches with Jeannette and Penn-Trafford ties. Other assistants include Mike Mariotti and Trevor Petrillo, who are from Jeannette. Brown, Joe Lauricia and Tyler Zimmer are Penn-Trafford alumni.

“They call us the ‘Warhawks’,” Ryan Reitz said. “Warriors and Jayhawks.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is an editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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