When his football career ended, former Rochester, Penn State and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Derek Moye thought that he might want to get into coaching, but he wasn’t even really looking when Mike Warfield offered him a spot on the Aliquippa staff a year ago.
One year later, Moye has shot through the ranks and has accepted a new position as the head coach at Western Beaver.
The success Moye, Warfield, and Aliquippa had with installing a new, spread offense was immediately noticeable. The Quips won their first PIAA state championship since 2003 and several of the Aliquippa players credited the offense with helping them get recruited at the next level.
“Having that opportunity to have that opportunity to go to Aliquippa for a year and be back around football and be around the kids was definitely something that made me realize how much I love coaching,” Moye said to Pittsburgh Sports Now. “I loved it there. The people, the community, the rest of the coaching staff, the kids. It was a great experience for me to be back around high school sports and to be lucky enough to be around such a good team and a football-oriented community. It made things easy and it made things fun.”
So when Western Beaver athletic director Ryan Matsook needed a new head coach, he didn’t have to go very far to find his first option.
“I have know Ryan Matsook for a while,” Moye said. “He coached me in high school. Just kind of talking to him, he asked if I’d be interested. Just thought about it a little bit and ended up deciding to move forward.”
Western Beaver went 3-7 last year after making the playoffs in 2017, but was a young team that will return most of its core.
“I know we have some decent athletes that are coming back,” Moye said. “Ryan has a lot of good things to say about the kids, personality-wise. It’s going to be a process. It’s not going to be an overnight thing.”
Moye will take the knowledge of the offense he and Warfield installed at Aliquippa with him, but he isn’t sure what type of style he’s going to use until he gets a better handle on the players he’ll be working with.
“It’s hard to run a spread offense and throw the ball around if you don’t have a guy that can throw it and receivers that can catch it,” he said. “In high school, more than anything, it depends on the players that you have. You have to play to the strengths that you have.”
Moye said he’s taken some coaching philosophies from many of the coaches he’s played for — and he’s suited up for some good ones — Joe Paterno, Sean Payton and Mike Tomlin to start. But his biggest influence is not the biggest name.
“I think I’ve probably taken a little from a lot of them,” Moye said. “The one that comes to mind first is Richard Mann. He was the Steelers wide receivers coach and he’s an Aliquippa guy himself. He just had so much knowledge about football in general and obviously the position of receiver. He was an older guy but he was able to connect and be relatable to us as players and also find a way to get his coaching points across to us.
“Just being around him for two years was an invaluable experience.”