Bob Palko Coach Deflects Credit for Success

By White, Mike | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), December 21, 2012 | Go to article overview

Bob Palko Coach Deflects Credit for Success


White, Mike, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


The West Allegheny football team did not have a player with big statistics and didn't have anyone being recruited by Division I colleges.

West Allegheny coaches often referred to this starless team as a squad with a bunch of no names.

But by the end of the WPIAL season, West Allegheny's coach had his name on an elite list of coaches.

Bob Palko meshed all the unheralded players together into a championship team. You could say Palko has a sixth sense for this championship stuff. West Allegheny won the WPIAL Class AAA championship and Palko became only the sixth coach in the history of the WPIAL to win six titles.

For his achievements, Palko is the Post-Gazette Coach of the Year. The award takes into consideration all coaches in the WPIAL and City League.

The only other WPIAL coaches to have six titles are New Castle's Phil Bridenbaugh, George Novak (Woodland Hills and Steel Valley), Art Walker (Mt. Lebanon and Shady Side Academy), Clairton's Tom Nola and Braddock's Chuck Klausing.

Although Palko has won six championships, many feel this might have been his best coaching job.

"It was a like a breath of fresh air with these guys this year," Palko said. "You couldn't wait to get to practice. You really didn't want the season to end.

"I think what happened was, as we developed through the year, the kids didn't really care who got credit or whatever. It was refreshing. It didn't matter who carried the ball and who didn't. They didn't care who got the tackle, as long as five, six or seven guys were around the ball. All they cared about was winning. It was pretty cool to watch and see how it all went down."

But Palko doesn't think he did anything special. He is rubber man. He deflects compliments to his assistant coaches. Palko does not call plays for the offense and does not run the defense or make defensive calls. Dan Marshall is the offensive coordinator and Bryan Cornell the defensive coordinator.

Many high school coaches either call the plays on offense or run the defense.

"It used to be that I would either take the offense or defense, but for a boatload of years, I haven't taken either," Palko said. "I just thought that was the way to do things as a head coach. Don't get me wrong. I miss not calling plays or defenses, but I don't think you can see the whole picture on the field. I think there are too many other things to take care of. …

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