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Rich Niedbala

Coaching ∙ Western Beaver

 

 

 

 

For the better part of 40 years, Rich Niedbala made a noble mark on Beaver County athletics, most notably as one of the top football coaches in the WPIAL. A three sport star at Beaver Falls High School, Rich capped his scholastic career by being named a Wigwam All American quarterback in 1959. He also won All Star honors for two years in basketball. Rich matriculated at the University of Miami in Florida, but in the spring of his sophomore year a broken leg played havoc with his playing time. He did, however, play backup to All American quarterback George Mira with the Hurricanes. Following graduation, Rich assisted at Beaver for six seasons and was named head coach of the Western Beaver program in 1971. In his 27 years on the job, Western compiled a 172-112-4 record. His Golden Beavers have won WPIAL championships in all three decades he has coached (1976, 1983, and 1994), and he is just one of five coaches in Beaver County history who can lay claim to at least three district coaching titles, the others being Don Yannessa, Joe Hamilton, Pat Tarquinio, and Carl Aschman. In addition, Rich took four other squads to the WPIAL championship and his 1994 team played for the Class A PIAA state title. The honors have been many for his coaching expertise: Rich was recognized as Section Coach of the Year eight times, was invited to coach in the Big 33 and Penn-Ohio All Star Games, and was named Coach of the Year twice in the Midwestern Conference. Rich has also coached the Golden Beaver baseball team for 20 years and served as the school’s athletic director for more than fifteen years.