If Central Bucks West High School in Doylestown, Pa., needed any more of a reason to cheer against the Pittsburgh Steelers, they got one more when graduate Mike Pettine Jr., was named the 15th full-time head coach of the Cleveland Browns last Thursday.
Deep in the heart of Philadelphia Eagles territory, the community at C.B. West could not be happier for their former quarterback.
"Certainly, it's very exciting, and the entire Central Bucks and Doylestown communities are very proud of Michael Jr.," said Sean Kelly, athletic director at C.B. West. "Coach (Mike) Pettine (Sr.), his father, is such a huge legend around here and has done so many things for the school. To see that kind of success is great. People are very excited and happy for him.
"Anytime you speak with either of the Pettines, you can tell their passion for football is so great and that their drive to succeed is phenomenal. Not only do you look at Michael Jr., but you look at the other members of NFL staffs that have been successful. You look at the staff of the Buffalo Bills and you had three Central Bucks West graduates on that staff (last season).
"Pettine Jr., obviously, took that to another level, realized his goal and didn't let anybody tell him, 'No.' No one around here is surprised. Everyone around here is extremely happy to see him be so successful."
And when it comes to Sundays in the fall, in addition to their support of the Eagles, the C.B. West community will have a vested interest in what happens for the orange and brown.
"You're definitely going to have some people rooting for the Browns, that's for sure, just like the way we had people rooting for the Ravens, the Jets and the Bills," Kelly said. "Certainly, we've been rooting for a lot of those guys to do well.
"There's always a rooting interest down here. Certainly, there will be a rooting interest for the Cleveland Browns. I don't think that will be a problem."
Following his playing career at C.B. West, Pettine Jr., went on to play free safety at the University of Virginia. After he hung up his helmet and stepped off the field one final time as a player, Pettine returned to the sidelines, first, as an assistant coach for his father at C.B. West before moving on to become the head coach at William Tennent High School (1995-96) and later, North Penn High School (1997-2001).
During his tenure at William Tennent, Pettine led the team to a school-best nine-win season in 1996. He later mentored the North Penn Knights to 45 victories, including 11 in the 1999 season.
"When we saw the results that Michael Jr., had at William Tennant High School and North Penn High School, I don't think anyone around here doubted his coaching ability," Kelly said. "And with the pedigree he comes from with his father and the tradition that he had to live up to, I don't think there was ever a doubt that he would be successful at any level.
"When he left North Penn High School and took that leap to the Baltimore Ravens, people said, 'Oh, that was a risky move,' but I think the people that knew Michael best knew that he was going to be successful in whatever he did."