By Dave Crawley

SPRINGDALE (KDKA) — Chuck Wagner’s high school coaching career began at Oakmont High in 1961.

In 1992, he came out of retirement to take on a Springdale team that had lost 35 games in a row.

He turned that team around. The Dynamos have now made the playoffs10 straight years – winning the WPIAL championship in 2003.

Approaching 77 years of age, he has finally called it quits last week.

However: “I’m going to maintain the office here, and be here indefinitely.”

It’s a promise he makes to high school junior Sean Dugan and senior Chris Liberto. It’s a promise he has made to his players for 50 years.

“Regardless of whether they want to go on to school with just academics,” he explains, “or go on to a school academically and football-wise, or go get a job, I try to help them any way I can. And it doesn’t end there.”

His loyalty to his players is reciprocated.

“He’s like a father figure to me,” Sean Dugan says. “I look up to him. If he wasn’t there, I don’t know where I’d be.”

Chris Liberto agrees. “He always says ‘Hang in there tough,’ and that rubs on us. And that’s what we say to a lot of people. Hang in there tough, you know.”

That’s easier said than done, when time came to tell his team goodbye.

“With the help of the players I did get my poise back,” the coach says. “And we moved on with the meeting. But yes, it was extremely difficult.”

“Thank yous” add up in a 50-year career. But for Coach Wagner, one person stands out.

“That is my wife, Dee. And I thank (her) very much.”

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