Whitehall-Coplay Press

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Senneca takes over as WHS football coach

Thursday, January 24, 2019 by Steve andres Special to the Press in Sports

Whitehall’s new head football coach Matt Senneca has been playing and coaching football for most of his life, and he believes that an important aspect of success is building a strong culture.

He wants the players to buy into that culture, and once that groundwork is laid, and players start to take ownership of the program, good things begin to happen.

A bulwark of that ownership is when players start to make sure they’re all on the same page, and that means a full commitment, whether it’s in the weight room or on the field. And if someone begins to slack, other players make sure to let them know that it’s not all right.

“Once the player starts doing that, you know you got a good thing going,” said Senneca.

Senneca has been a part of a number of successful cultures, including as a player at Allentown Central Catholic where he played for Jim Morgans. He was also a quarterback at Penn Stare, and later was the head coach at Wilson Area High School for two years. His other stops include coaching stints at Parkland, Liberty, and most recently, he served as Emmaus’ offensive coordinator.

He has a lot of winning under his belt.

Senneca said that in each of those situations, you take something from them and incorporate it into you want to do. He said that you’d be hard pressed to find a player that wouldn’t want to run through a wall for coach Morgans. That’s the type of relationship he wants to build with his players.

“That’s kind of what I’m shooting for,” he said.

Senneca was recently hired as Whitehall’s new head coach, culminating a search that began after Brian Gilbert announced his retirement last May. He replaces Justin Kondikoff who led the team this past season on an interim basis, going 2-8.

Whitehall has a rich football tradition and Senneca said that history really attracted him to the program. He said he played against Dan Koppen and knows many of the players and coaches through his many years on the opposing sidelines.

He wants to continue that storied history and bring his own stamp to it. While he hasn’t set any concrete goals at this stage, their main thrust will be to compete for an Eastern Pennsylvania Conference title and a district championship.

“It’s a very competitive league,” said Senneca. There are no bye weeks. So you have to come every week ready to play.”

Senneca, a former quarterback, has been able to mentor a number of outstanding area signal callers during his coaching career, including Liberty’s Anthony Gonzalez and Dan Persa. This year he helped guide former Zephyr quarterback Ethan Parvel who led Emmaus to the brink of a District 6A title last fall.

Senneca said that he’s appreciative of the support he’s received from the administration and athletic department. They welcomed him with open arms, and after meeting everyone associated with Whitehall football, it was evident how much they cared about the program.

He also briefly met with the team, and is looking forward to getting into their offseason program. That begins with work in the weight room, followed by spring ball, and then transitioning to 7-on-7 drills at camps during the summer, which ultimately leads to preseason practice in August.

It’s part of building a strong culture.