‘A bright, positive light’: Friends and family remember Southmoreland coach Ron Frederick

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The last football game Rob Frederick saw his coaching brother Ron was not a Southmoreland game.

Instead, it was a youth football league game in which Ron’s son, Colin, played.

Rob said he was “thrilled” to see Ron coaching Colin. There was more pep in the proud father’s step than this game.

“He was just smiling from ear to ear,” Rob said. “I’ve never seen him so lively and so happy coaching a game of football, and that didn’t come as a college coach, but as a coach to his son. I think that’s is something that will stay with me forever.

Ronald Frederick Jr. died suddenly on February 3 of what is believed to be a heart attack. The Mt. Pleasant husband and father of three was 40.

Frederick, who had been Southmoreland’s football assistant coach since 2017, discovered he was set to become the program’s next head coach just a day before his death.

As an alumnus of Southmoreland, Frederick dreamed of one day being its head coach.

On Thursday, that dream came true when the school board voted unanimously to posthumously appoint Frederick as head coach.

Tim Bukowski, Frederick’s close friend and Southmoreland coach, described the hiring as a joyous and tearful scene.

“Seeing his dream come true, and his family, friends and players watching, was a moving moment,” Bukowski said. “I give credit to the school and the school board because they made sure this happened.”

Frederick graduated from Southmoreland in 1999. He played college football at the University of Tulsa and the University of California.

After graduating from the University of California in 2004, he returned to the Pittsburgh area, where he coached at Southmoreland, Charleroi and Ringgold.

Friends and family describe Frederick as a kind and supportive coach. Dan LaCarte, who coached with Frederick at Charleroi and Ringgold, said Frederick had taken coaching to “another level”.

“He was a bright, positive light for the kids,” LaCarte said. “It wasn’t about wins and losses with Ron. … It was about making children productive and positive citizens. It boosted their self-esteem.

LaCarte recalled that Frederick would bake hundreds of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for players to help build strength, or spend time molding a “not very talented” player into a starter.

Ron has helped lead Southmoreland to the playoffs twice in the last four years.

The program hadn’t made the playoffs in 40 years.

Bukowski said Frederick was very proud of this accomplishment.

“(The football program) has really become a great atmosphere,” he said. “Our stadium was full and the program was on track. He was going to work hard to get to the next level, but he achieved a lot in his four years here.

Off the pitch Ron was “lively, funny and family oriented”, said his brother Rob. “You couldn’t help but smile” when you were with his brother.

“He was the person you wanted to be with. The person you wanted to sit next to at the Thanksgiving table. The person you wanted to hang out with at all times because he always made you smile and laugh,” he said. said Rob.

Luke Mollis, who coached Frederick at Charleroi, said Ron was always someone he could trust.

“Everyone has good friends…but I don’t think everyone has a ton of friends that you can call and rely on for something,” Mollis said.

Frederick was a great family man, according to his brother. The four men remember the love Frederick showed for his wife, Liz, and his children Sophia, Colin and Dylan.

“I think if I can lead my life the way Ron led it, I think I’ll do pretty well for myself and my family,” Rob said.

Frederick enjoyed visiting the Outer Banks and Disney World regularly with his family. LaCarte noted that Frederick’s positive and uplifting spirit made the coach “a bit like a Disney character,” himself.

Frederick’s funeral was held Monday at the Mount Pleasant Church of God. His family have asked the bereaved to donate money to Southmoreland’s football scheme.

“Football brings a community together like nothing else, whether it’s winning championships or something like that,” Bukowski said. “It’s very nice to see everyone coming together to support.”

Maddie Aiken is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Maddie by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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