The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

November 15, 2012

VIDEO | UPJ wrestling coach uses same approach in hospital as on mat

JOHNSTOWN — Pitt-Johnstown’s wrestlers know just how tough Pat Pecora is.

They see it during every practice, as the longtime coach pushes them mentally and physically as far as they think they can go – and then pushes them a bit farther.

So, when David Fogle and Travis McKillop, found out over the summer that the Hall of Fame coach had lung cancer, they came to a similar conclusion: The disease never had a chance.

“At first it was tough, but when it came down to it, Coach is a tough guy,” said Fogle, a 133-pound junior from Forest Hills.

“He’s mentally prepared for any challenge that comes his way. Just being hopeful and faithful, knowing that he’ll get through it, because he teaches us self-reliance and perseverance through anything. He’s a man of his word and he lives his life like that. I wasn’t really worried. We knew he’d be fine. He’s a tough man.”

Season preview: Young Mountain Cats looking to make their mark

For McKillop, who had just completed his freshman year as an All-American 174-pounder under Pecora, hearing the diagnosis was difficult.

“When I found out, my heart stopped,” McKillop said. “Coach is the reason I came here. He’s like a second father to me. I put my heart and soul and I trust him to death. Anything he tells me to do, I do and I do it as soon as he tells me to do it. I don’t second guess him at all.”

He also never second guessed Pecora’s will.

“I just had this gut feeling that he was going to get through that,” McKillop said. “He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever met.”

On Wednesday, as the Mountain Cats prepared for their first dual meet of the season on Friday at West Liberty, the 59-year-old Pecora was there, running the workouts as he has for the past 37 seasons.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • Pirates 0720 Pirates rally to keep sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsburgh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
    Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • LAG 0720 AAABA League playoffs: Laurel Auto Group moves closer to advancing

    Second-seeded Laurel Auto Group fell behind early against No. 3 Berkley Hills Renegades on Sunday afternoon at Roxbury Park. But Laurel’s players didn’t lose their composure.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Urtz, Pope lead AAABA League award votes

    Logan Urtz hadn’t fielded a ground ball as an infielder or swung a bat in a game for a couple seasons.
    But you can’t take the former infielder out of a starting pitcher.

    July 20, 2014

  • mart & lag Martella’s, LAG sending top arms to mound

    Nathan Pope will occupy a spot traditionally reserved for a Pete Vuckovich Award winner on opening night.
    The Martella’s Pharmacy right-hander will get the ball on opening night of the 70th annual All American Amateur Baseball Association Tournament on Monday at Point Stadium. First pitch is at 7:30 p.m.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bishop Guilfoyle, Somerset tapped as LHAC’s best

    A few football seasons ago, Bishop Guilfoyle and Somerset probably weren’t near the top of any preseason polls or banter in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference.
    Times have changed.

    August 1, 2014

  • Steelers kick contract to Suisham

    Shaun Suisham doesn’t seem to mind kicking at Heinz Field.
    The most accurate kicker in Pittsburgh Steelers’ history parlayed his consistency into a four-year contract extension that runs through the 2018 season.

    August 1, 2014

  • Gorden, Joe Tribune-Democrat sports staffer departs after 44 years in newsroom

    Joe Gorden’s temporary assignment to The Tribune-Democrat sports department concluded on Thursday night after more than four decades.
    Gorden retired after 44 years at the newspaper, all but three of them in the sports department.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Steelers 0731 Steelers’ Brown eyeing encore to breakout season

    Antonio Brown rolled up to the dorms at Saint Vincent College last week in a Mercedes conversion van.
    It’s fitting in a way. Five years into a blossoming career, the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver is playing the role of dad – OK, maybe slightly older brother – to a group long on talent but short on experience.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bucs stand pat at non-waiver deadline

    The Pittsburgh Pirates will receive some welcome additions to their roster in the coming days.
    The faces, however, will be familiar.

    July 31, 2014

  • Blairsville pegged as team to beat

    As Heritage Conference football coaches assembled at United High School during Wednesday’s media day event at Thomas J. Madill Field, the near-consensus opinion is that Blairsville – under second-year coach Rick Artley – is going to be the team to beat once the season begins on Aug. 29.
    After the Bobcats, the forecasted picture gets a little foggier.

    July 30, 2014