Program aims to coach boys into men through athletics

LATROBE, Pa. — A program put on by the United Way, FISA Foundation and the Pittsburgh Steelers made a stop at training camp in Latrobe on Wednesday.

The goal is to coach boys into men.

Coaches and athletic directors from around the area are going beyond the values instilled on the field and translating it into the game of life.

"They're very impressionable and I think the key is to build upon their self respect and wanting to do what's right," said Bob Nelkin with the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

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"Using sports to help the development of our youth is a perfect marriage in my opinion," said Danny Rooney with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Hall of Famer and former NFL player Don McPherson was Wednesday's keynote speaker, taking his experience from the culture of athletics, and shattering the stigma of masculinity in life and relationships.

"Part of this message is giving men the opportunity to talk as men: what it means to not only be a tough guy, but a whole loving, caring man," McPherson said.

Dan DeRose, the basketball coach for Penn Hills, says he sees the struggles within his team and community every day.

"Maybe if they had the right influence or had somebody trying to educate them and give them knowledge, then maybe their lives could've been saved."