When football Coach Tom Loughran reached his 200th win on September 20 when the Foxes defeated Hampton 16-13, it was another great milestone in an illustrious career that has spanned a total of 45 years, 32 of them as a head coach and winner of two WPIAL and PIAA championships. But when he spoke to his players right after the Friday night victory, he told them, “This isn’t about me, it’s about you. These 200 wins are the result of kids like you.”
Coach Loughran has spent his entire adult life teaching youth and challenging them to reach levels they might not have otherwise thought possible, whether it was in the classroom teaching math, or on the field. He has touched the lives of thousands of young people over the years, and as Mike O’Brien, Fox Chapel Area’s Director of Athletics says, “It is all about the kids with Tom.He’s just such a good person. He genuinely cares about these kids and making them accountable to their team, family, and school community. He is always willing to lend a hand to anyone who needs it and has done a lot of very good deeds for a lot of people, without expecting anything in return.”
When Coach Loughran joined the Foxes five years ago, he knew he was up for a challenge. But if you know Coach Loughran, you know how competitive he is and how much he loves a challenge. His first year here was tough; the team finished 1-8. After only two years, Couch Loughran led the 2017 team to a 6-5 record. It was the program’s first winning season in more than 10 years, and they advanced to the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs. That same year, Coach Loughran was named as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ WPIAL Class 5A Coach of the Week for orchestrating the Foxes’ victory against perennial powerhouse Woodland Hills.
High Praise for Coach Loughran
Since coming to Fox Chapel Area, Coach Loughran has always said, “I don’t want to change the culture. I want to create a culture.”
Considering the comments said below by his players, peers, and fellow coaches, the coach has done just that, and much more that will remain with them as life lessons for many years to come.
“It meant everything to go out there and win for Coach. We knew that the milestone was there and wanted nothing more than to get it for him. Each and every day I see the work ethic, preparation, and coaching that has gotten coach to 200 wins, and as a team we are so grateful to have a coach like him. Personally, Coach Loughran has taught me how to deal with adversity, and how to keep positive even when things go bad, which is a skill that will be invaluable in whatever I do in life.” – Shane Susnak, senior
“Personally, Coach Loughran has influenced me more than any coach I’ve ever had. He’s pushed me a lot, which has motivated me to be better. He honestly just brings the best out of all of his players because he knows we all have potential to do great things, and he puts a lot of faith into us. As a 17-year-old, that means a lot to me.” – Justin Rice, junior
“For Tom, football has always been about more than wins; it’s about family. Over the 30 years I’ve known him, starting with when I was a water boy when he became the head coach at South Park, Tom has always demonstrated the highest integrity and is a very honest, patient, and fair man. One thing he always said that’s stuck with me, and that I’ve continued to use as a life lesson, is that you should always prepare to succeed, even if the odds seem insurmountable. He teaches players to conduct themselves with dignity on the field and reminds them that what they are doing is very hard, and not something that everyone can do, so to take pride in that. He never accepts your least, and that’s a good thing.” – Coach John Moritz, who has been on Coach Loughran’s staff since 1996, and was involved in both WPIAL and state title championship teams as the defensive running backs coach
“It was great to get a win, especially because it was Coach Loughran’s 200th. Coach Loughran invests a ton of time into our team, including helping kids become well rounded people on top of coaching football.” – Alex Wecht, senior
“It feels great to be a big part of getting such a legendary coach to get his 200th win. Week-by-week he comes in with a winning mindset and sets us up in position to do our best and get a W every Friday night. He’s a competitor and a coach that loves to win and to finally get his 200th win for him is something that my teammates and I have wanted to give him. It’s an accomplishment that he deserves. Coming to practice and learning from him has not just helped me on the field, but also off the field. He’s taught me how to go about life and the right and wrong paths you should take along the way. He’s been my coach ever since I got to the high school, and he’s not only taught me how to play the game of football, but how to be a gentleman.” -Sam Brown, senior
“Tom is very appreciative of all the boosters do to support the players. He is collaborative and always asking what needs to be taken care of and how he can support us. Tom and Dink (his wife) support our fundraising efforts and they are always there for the Carnivores event and bring a whole bunch of their friends to support us. You could not ask for a more thoughtful coach than Tom. He truly cares about each player and wants to see them succeed individually, and as a team. He has a heart of gold.” Jodi Susnak, football boosters’ president and player mom
“Tom was always good enough to coach at any college, but he never wanted to because he’s a family man and didn’t want to spend that much time away from them.” – Bob Sporio, longtime assistant coach for Coach Loughran at Fox Chapel Area and South Park