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Knoch hires grid coach

Tim Burchett
Peters Twp. assistant Burchett taking over football program

JEFFERSON TWP — Tim Burchett, a middle school teacher in the South Butler School District and an assistant coach at Peters Township the past five years, has been hired as head football coach at Knoch High School.

Burchett’s hiring was approved at Wednesday’s South Butler school board meeting.

“Tim really stood out in the interview process,” Knoch athletic director Kurt Reiser said. “He’s coached in successful programs under good coaches. His demeanor stood out and he’ll work at building relationships with the kids.

“It’s a plus that he teaches in our district. He already knows a lot of the players.”

Burchett, 33, was part of a Peters Township staff that coached the Indians to the WPIAL Class 5A championship game in 2019 and 2020. He was offensive line coach and offensive coordinator there. He also served as an assistant coach at Bethel Park for one year and at his alma mater, Trinity, for two.

“I’ve wanted to be a head high school football coach since I was 12,” Burchett said. “I loved coaching at Peters. With all the success we’ve had there, it was hard to give that up. But this is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

“I’m in my third year of teaching up here. I’ve been making the commute to Peters every day after school, 40 miles or so, because I felt I was in the right situation and didn’t want to leave. Coaching at Knoch ... maybe I’ll get a couple more years out of my car,” he joked.

Burchett admitted to having interviewed for head coaching positions at other schools before, “maybe two per year for the past five years,” he said. “I’ve been the bridesmaid a few times, turned down one job because it didn’t feel right ... I told Kurt when I was hired that this might be my only shot. I want to do it right.”

There were close to 20 applicants for Knoch’s head coaching position. Five were brought in for interviews.

“We did three rounds of interviews and Tim stood out in that process each time,” Reiser said. “We are very excited to get him. We’re very confident he’ll get the program going in the right direction.”

Burchett plans to change Knoch’s philosophy on offense as well as defense. He said a fresh start is needed for all concerned.

“We will go to more of a spread formation because I think it’s important to be able to throw the ball in high school football,” the coach said. “Defensively, I’m not saying we’re gonna blitz on every play, but we will be an aggressive, attacking defense. We’ll see what our kids’ strengths are and adjust accordingly.”

Though they haven’t been officially approved by the school board, two assistants have already been hired by Burchett. He said he plans to pursue other coaches he’s worked with.

Burchett’s goal is to have a diverse staff in terms of expertise and age.

“I want people smarter than me,” he said. “If I’m the smartest guy in the room, I’m in the wrong room. I want coaches who aspire to be head coaches.

“We don’t get paid a lot of money, but it is a privilege to be in a position to help a kid realize his goals. I’ll never take that lightly.”

Burchett succeeds Brandon Mowry, who was 8-19 in three seasons at Knoch. The Knights were 2-8 last season.