Monessen coach Pacak notches 50th win
MONESSEN — Anyone who knows Andy Pacak will readily admit he is an extremely likeable guy.
He has a low-key demeanor and a wry sense of humor that, when he allows it to show, tends to elicit hearty laughs from those around him.
But when it comes to his role as football coach of the Monessen Greyhounds, well, it is definitely a love affair with the fans.
Some love him and some love to criticize him.
It’s something he has gotten used to over his seven years coaching the most tradition-rich program in the mid-Mon Valley.
“The thing with that is you kind of mature a little bit as you get older,” said Pacak, whose 9-1 Greyhounds are preparing to meet Springdale in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL Class A playoffs Friday night at Penn-Trafford.
“Monessen fans are very passionate about their teams and I can understand that,” he said. “But you have to realize that we have never done things any different than we always have.
“It’s society that has changed. People are more self-centered and absorbing. Very few people care about the big picture. They only care about what you have done for them lately.”
In last week’s impressive 33-0 shellacking of Chartiers-Houston in a first round playoff contest, not only did the Greyhounds advance, they also hit a milestone.
The team gave Pacak his 50th career win.
In seven season at the helm, Pacak’s record is 50-22, a .694 winning percentage.
Only legendary coach Joe Gladys, who built a 153-64-8 record (.680) from 1959-82, got to 50 wins faster.
Gladys picked up his 50th win his 66th contest, six games quicker than Pacak.
Pacak said Monessen Athletic Director John Sacco informed him before the game that his next win would be his 50th.
“I found out before the game,” he said. “Before that, I had no idea. And I never gave it a thought.”
Pacak said winning 50 games means more to him for his staff and players than it does personally.
“It means a lot of people have done what they were supposed to do and I just stood back and observed,” he said. ‘I’m happy for my staff and the kids, but as a head coach, that stuff doesn’t mean much.”
He added that he doesn’t think he has done anything special.
“I just think I’ve done what legendary coaches like Mr. Gladys and Mr. (Jack) Scarvel would expect coaches at Monessen to do,” he said. “It’s a tradition that they built and we are supposed to carry it on.”
Pacak, whose teams have qualified for the playoffs in six of his seven years, said Friday’s game against Springdale will provide a real barrier for the Greyhounds.
The Dynamos, dating back to 2003, have ended Monessen’s season four times in four tries in the playoffs, including three times with Pacak on the sidelines.
Monessen’s last win over Springdale came way back in 1987 (26-0) when they were rivals in the Eastern Conference.
“The thing about them is that they have developed an offense and perfected it,” Pacak said. “In the tapes we saw, I don’t think they threw one pass and they haven’t had to.
“We need to be disciplined and do our jobs defensively and we will be fine.”
As for the fans who rarely want to give Pacak the benefit of the doubt — win or lose — the coach displayed some of that wry humor he is known for.
“You can say the vultures have been at the door before. Well, maybe I need to make friends with the vultures,” he said, smiling. “Because I don’t think they have ever left.”