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Gene Matsook

Coaching ∙ Rochetser

 

 

 

 

Little brothers often receive items that were once the possession of their older siblings, be it clothing, a car, a baseball mitt or a bike. But Gene Matsook received a rather unique hand-me-down from his brother, Dan, in 2000. He succeeded his brother as the head football coach at Rochester High School.

Gene Matsook made the most of his new possession, turning the Rams into a statewide power. Since taking over as Rochesterís coach, Matsook has led the Rams to two state championships, four WPIAL championships and six Big 7 Conference titles. The Rams have also been the PIAA runner-up twice, and made two other appearances in WPIAL title games. Eighty percent of his players have gone on to play college football, including seven at the NCAA Division I or I-AA level. Three of his players have been selected to play in the prestigious Big 33 Game and three other were chosen for the East-West All Star game.

Through his first nine seasons as the Ramsí head coach, Matsook has won an impressive eighty-one percent of his games (100-22), including a 49-10 mark in Big 7 Conference play. He is 34-7 in playoff games (WPIAL and PIAA) and 27-5 in the WPIAL playoffs. The Rams have advanced to at least the semifinal round of the WPIAL playoffs in eight seasons and have accumulated 10-or-more wins in a season seven times. With the success have come the accolades. Matsook was the Associated Press Class A Coach of the Year in 2004; the Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2000 and 2001; The Big 7 Conference Coach of the Year in 2000, 2002, 2005 and 2006; The MAC Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2000, 2004 and 2005; and The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Class A Coach of the Year in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004. Matsook was the head coach of the winning Pennsylvania team in the 2003 Penn-Ohio Stateline Classic and was the assistant coach in the 2005 East-West All Star game. Matsook served as president of the MAC Coaches Association from 2007-2008 and has been a guest speaker at many banquets including a speech at Purdue University. He was also inducted into the Lawrence County Hall of Fame in 2007. A 1981 graduate of Shenango High School,

Matsook was a three-sport letterman in football, basketball and baseball for the Wildcats. After playing football for a year at Thiel College, Matsook transferred to Slippery Rock University, where he earned a degree in Health and Physical Education. While he has made a name for himself coaching football, he also found success as a basketball coach at Freedom High School from 1994-1998, leading the Bulldogs to the WPIAL playoffs for the first time in 16 seasons. Prior to becoming Rochesterís head football coach, Matsook was a Rams assistant from 1986-1999, the last five as offensive coordinator. Matsook joins his brother, Dan, as a member of the Beaver County Hall of Fame. Matsook lives in Rochester with his wife, Bernadette, and teaches at Freedom Area Middle School.