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View Full Version : A Q&A with Coach Grimm


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09-14-2006, 01:05 AM
By The Tribune-Review
Thursday, September 14, 2006

Russ Grimm has earned four Super Bowl rings, three as a player and one as a coach with the Steelers. He is currently in his sixth season as the offensive line coach for the Steelers, and he also serves as the team's assistant head coach. As part of the 100th anniversary of the WPIAL, the Tribune-Review is honoring past football stars, including Grimm, who went on to fame, fortune and achievement in college and the pros. Grimm, a Scottdale native and 1977 graduate of Southmoreland High School, has a field named in his honor. The Southmoreland School District will officially rename the school's football stadium, Russ Grimm Field, on Friday in honor of the All-Pro offensive guard, who started 11 seasons for the Washington Redskins. Grimm was a first-team selection to the NFL's 1980s all-decade team, and he was among the 10 finalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. The 47-year-old Grimm, who is a member of the Western Pennsylvania Hall of Fame, was an All-American center at Pitt.

Grimm was a high school quarterback and linebacker at Southmoreland. He originally went to Pitt to play linebacker, but was moved to the offensive line during his sophomore season.

What's your memory about playing high school football in the WPIAL?

That, to me, is really what's great about Western Pennsylvania. The WPIAL is made up of small towns where in the fall, instead of sitting on the front porch watching all the traffic go by, everybody goes to the high school stadiums to see some of the guys playing high school football. It's a good caliber of football. A lot of guys come out of the WPIAL and go to Division I schools. A lot also go to Division II schools that you don't hear about. It's a good hot-bed for football.

What's your fondest memories of games that you played?

There are a lot of games when you think back. Mt. Pleasant was our big rival. We weren't very good my senior year, but that was the last game of the year and we won that one. You make a lot of friendships and that's what you miss the most. With some of the guys in high school, not everybody is the most-talented in the world, but you still appreciate the effort.

What about your days as a quarterback?

It's amazing. I enjoyed playing quarterback. When I left high school, I was 215 (pounds). I was a quarterback, and a linebacker at Southmoreland, and I went to Pitt as a linebacker. But after two years, they switched me over to the offensive line and I had to learn a new position. Some guys develop a little later in life, but I kept getting bigger and still am. I enjoyed making the switch to the line.

How about your days being a 'HOG' for the Washington Redskins?

I enjoyed playing in the pros. I was lucky enough to get into a situation with a new staff coming in. We had a lot of young players make that football team, and we developed some chemistry with some guys who played for a lot of years.

Was linebacker what you always thought you'd be in college and the pros?

I always wanted to play linebacker. (Jack) Lambert and (Dick) Butkus were guys I loved watching play.

What are your thoughts about Southmoreland naming the stadium after you?

It's nice, it really is. It's humbling in a way. When you think back, I tell people all the time that I'm glad to be from a small town. They teach you family values. I always said that I had teachers who worried about a little bit more than just A's and B's. They liked to see you do well off the field. I also had coaches who taught you more than Xs and Os. They taught you things about life. At that stage of your life, you're starting to mature into an adult and you look for guidance from a lot of those people. Not only your parents, but teachers, coaches and some friends that kind of steered you in the right direction.

What's the difference between players of today and players from your era?

The biggest thing is the size of the kids nowadays. Parents are more aware of nutrition, health and things like that. Before, if a kid was big and sloppy, he was pushed to the side. Now, parents are more conscious of getting the right nutrition for kids at an earlier age. Kids are bigger and stronger; their health is a lot better. At the other end of the stick, there are a lot more options for kids now days. Soccer is a growing sport. Lacrosse is a growing sport. You have the Nintendo stuff and things like that. When I was in high school, you either played football or you played in the band in the fall. We didn't have a ton of options.

Your kids played sports. What are they doing?

I have two boys at Virginia Tech playing football, one is a senior (Chad) and the other is a redshirt freshman (Cody). The twins (Devin and Dylan) are 16 and both good athletes (who play soccer, field hockey, football and lacrosse). They both have won a couple state championships in Virginia.