Published Date Written by Noelle Barrett
Andrew Erby may have just gotten his first shot at the top spot on Steelton-Highspire’s football sidelines, but for years he’s called the field home.
Erby, a Steel-High alumnus who has filled the role as defensive coordinator for the past three seasons and assistant coach, was hired as the Rollers’ head football coach by an 8-0 vote of the Steelton-Highspire School Board on Thursday, Feb. 20.
His hiring came just a week after Tom Hailey resigned from the post to make way for younger coaches to have an opportunity.
Hailey recommended Erby in his resignation letter, and was happy the district supported that.
“It was just my suggestion, but it’s good to see the young man get an opportunity,” Hailey said. “He knows the game, and I’m sure he’ll be able to handle anything.”
Erby, who was a linebacker when he suited up for the Rollers, was an easy choice, especially considering his involvement on and off the field.
“Coach Erby has a good track record, and he is extremely well-respected by the students,” said Superintendent Ellen Castagneto.
Erby volunteers with youth football programs, and is also a positive behavior facilitator at Steelton-Highspire Elementary School.
“It was a good feeling to be selected being that I’m a Steelton-Highspire alumni and that I played for Coach [Rob] Deibler,” Erby said. “I’ve been in the program my whole life. It’s been one of those things I’ve been working to.”
After graduating from Steel-High in 2000, Erby went on to play at Delaware Valley College, Doylestown, where he was an All-American linebacker.
While the wins and championships are nice, Erby said his main goals and reason for coaching aren’t related to athletics.
“I want them to compete academically in the classroom first and foremost,” Erby said. “We’ll be a young team, and we’ll have a good turnout, but I want them to be respected across the board.”
Success both on and off the field will have to be a collaborative effort, one Erby is excited about.
“That’s one of my goals that I’m focusing on – working with the teachers and the student body to prove that we can be student athletes across the board,” Erby said. “I want them to have opportunities to go to college and reach their goals.”
Erby already has trust and respect from the team, and having someone they are familiar with will help make the transition easier, Hailey said.
“His rapport with the kids is second to none,” Hailey said. “They love to play for him, and he’s going to get the most out of them.”