DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. — Over the years, the Big 33 game has seen some elite talent. But, there have been some elite coaches helping develop those players over the course of their high school playing days.
Only a select few of them get selected for the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
This year, five more names were inducted, including Bishop McDevitt's Jeff Weachter. It's an honor he couldn't have imagined when he started out as head coach at Lebanon Catholic.
"They had the state's longest losing streak at six years. My first year, we extended that to seven years," laughed Weachter. "So I would've thought there's no way I'd be here."
Weachter will be the first to admit, even when he applied for the opening at Bishop McDevitt, it was a bit of a hail mary.
"In years three and four at Lebanon Catholic, we gave them their first back-to-back winning seasons in 30 years. Some jobs opened and I applied for them. The McDevitt job opened and I applied for it. I was very surprised that I got the job, and I've been here 25 years since."
Whether it was at 2200 Market Street or 1 Crusader Way, he has won, including his first state championship last season, which, even after all that time as a coach, came with some new territory.
"You don't realize how much work is after the state championship," said Weachter with a smile. "The rings, doing your banquet, we went down to the capital and got recognized by the state Senate and the House of Representatives, Dauphin County commissioners had us down, and then the Bishop had us over at the Diocese."
The Hall of Fame honor means so much to Weachter because the PSFCA has helped create connections that mean so much to him.
"Lance Deane is doing such a great job over at Central Dauphin East and Jesse Shay has been doing a great job at Red Lion. Jesse goes back to those Lebanon Catholic roots," recalled Weachter. "I coached him at Lebanon Catholic and then he joined my staff here. I mean, that's what you do it for. Wins and losses are nice. This Hall of Fame is nice. The State Championship is nice. But, in the end, that's what really matters, the relationships you build."
And if you think for a second that after a state title and now a Hall of Fame honor Coach Weachter is ready to hang up his whistle, think again.
"It takes a lot away from your family. My wife has been awesome. But, we kind of worked some things around and from January to mid-March, I went home almost every day after school and spent some time with my wife. It was nice," said Weachter. "So, as long as I can continue that, I think I'm going to coach a couple more years because I really do enjoy it and I really enjoy helping the kids out."