Bill Cherpak, grew up in Munhall, the youngest of three children. He was a star lineman at Steel Valley in 1982 when the Ironmen won a WPIAL title under George Novak, now at Woodland Hills.

After Pitt, his life was a dead issue, literally. He had no plans to coach but was instead getting ready for mortuary school. But Thomas Jefferson football coach Jack Garrity knew Cherpak from his Steel Valley days and asked Cherpak if he could help players in the weight room and also be an assistant coach.

Cherpak stayed at Thomas Jefferson for a few years under Garrity, and the Jaguars went 27-6 from 1991-93. Cherpak then coached at Woodland Hills under Novak in 1994; Thomas Jefferson went 2-8 that year.

 

Cherpak got the Thomas Jefferson job the next year, went 8-3 his first season and the Jaguars have been clawing opponents ever since. Cherpak's overall record in 13 years is 132-28.

 

"One of the things we've tried to do is create a whole program, and not just focus on one good group coming through," Cherpak said. "Plus, we've had so many brothers come through here and I think they all want to live up to what the other teams did."

 

Cherpak credits Novak and former Pitt offensive line coach Joe Moore as having the greatest impacts on him. Cherpak's name has come up in recent years as a possible assistant coach at Pitt. He admits he has thought about moving on to the college ranks.

"I don't want to leave just to leave," he said. "I didn't want to leave because there was more to do