For some teachers, coaching provides another chance to inspire

Social studies teacher Mr. Reilsono also coaches football at Baldwin.

Christopher Reilsono is able to tap into his own memories as a player when coaching Baldwin football. 

“I started playing in fourth grade, and having the opportunity to coach brought back countless memories” to use when coaching current players, said Reilsono, a Baldwin assistant coach. 

Reilsono is one of several Baldwin teachers who is currently coaching. For him, as with other teachers who coach, a love of the sport and a desire to be a role model provides motivation.

Reilsono has been coaching Baldwin football for 17 years. He started playing football in fourth grade and continued until he was a freshman in college. 

“I’ve learned many valuable lessons through my coaching career, but the ability to overcome obstacles and the value of hard work have been some of the things that have stuck with me,” Reilsono said. 

Being a high school coach also means getting a chance to influence and inspire young people. 

“I consider my greatest achievements to be the students I put out into the world,” West Mifflin baseball coach Thomas Simcho said.

Simcho also said another great recent achievement was winning a WPIAL title last year against Montour. 

Rich Fochtman, meanwhile, has been coaching basketball for 16 years and has been the assistant varsity coach for Brentwood’s boys team for the past six years. He enjoys seeing the growth and improvement in the students’ skills.

He pushes players to succeed and do their best while staying focused and calm. 

“I try to be pretty laid back, especially on game days, and learn to deal with any problems that happen,” Fochtman said. 

This style has worked well for him in the past. Fochtman helped his Brentwood team go to the state playoffs. 

He said he has learned many of his techniques from Baldwin computer teacher Daniel Thayer, head coach of Brentwood boys basketball. In addition to coaching at Brentwood, Thayer has coached at Baldwin and in North Carolina. 

Madison Tonini, meanwhile, is currently an assistant track and field coach at Baldwin. She has always enjoyed track, especially when she made it to states and nationals as a student at Butler Senior High School.

Tonini said confidence plays a huge part in success. She wants to push the athletes to be the best they can be while also trying to build up confidence for them. 

“Some goals I set for the team is to have as much confidence as you can, as well as making sure you know what you’re setting yourself up for,” Tonini said.