In more than a decade as an assistant football coach, Dave Keefer has coached just about every position on the field.
He is now taking on a new role -- head coach.
Keefer was named the new coach at Greensburg Salem on May 22. Keefer had been an assistant coach at the school the past eight seasons under Casey Cavanaugh, who resigned in March citing "family circumstances."
"We are very pleased with our choice," said Greensburg Salem athletic director Lynn Jobe. "We're very excited. We're an education-based athletic program and he fits perfectly."
Keefer, 38, is a 1993 graduate of Mount Pleasant and 1998 graduate of IUP. He lives in Mount Pleasant and is a sixth-grade teacher at Greensburg Salem Middle School.
"It's a tremendous honor," Keefer said. "This school has a long tradition. Us and New Castle go back and forth for most [all-time] overall wins in the western half of the state. We've been playing a lot longer [than a lot of other schools], but traditionally, we've been a strong program. And when you look at the number of coaches we've had, [there hasn't been many], so I'm very honored to be one of them."
One point Keefer is quick to talk about is that he had the fortune to be an assistant under several successful coaches. In addition to Cavanaugh, Keefer was a graduate assistant for Frank Cignetti at IUP and an assistant for Art Walker Jr. at Central Catholic. Keefer was on Central Catholic's staff when the Vikings won the PIAA Class AAAA championship in 2004.
Keefer said he knew in his playing days that he wanted to become a coach, adding that the coaches he played for and then coached with were also aware of his aspirations of one day becoming a head coach.
"I wanted the opportunity to lead a team. I felt like I was never a great player, but I had the attributes that would make me a good coach," Keefer said. "When I was playing, a lot of [the coaches] talked to me like I was a coach. People I coached with knew I wanted to be a head coach. I've been fortunate to be around great people who have helped me out."
This wasn't the first time Keefer had tried to get the head coaching job at Greensburg Salem. He applied for the position in 2005, but the job was given to Cavanaugh. Keefer and Cavanaugh had coached together at Hempfield and were -- and remain -- good friends.
"We kind of had a mutual understanding that if one of us got the job, they would bring the other on as part of their staff," Keefer said.
That deal came to fruition, as Keefer was an assistant under Cavanaugh -- most recently as the defensive coordinator -- through last season.
Keefer is as versatile as they come. When he was at IUP, he was an assistant secondary coach. At Central Catholic, he at one time or another coached the running backs, tight ends, linebackers, defensive ends and defensive tackles. At Greensburg Salem, he coached the offensive and defensive lines, as well as the wide receivers and defensive backs.
When Keefer was hired as head coach, he said some of the first congratulatory phone calls he received were from Cavanaugh, Jim Jones and Paul Murphy, all former head coaches at Greensburg Salem.
"They said the line is always open and the door is always open," Keefer said. "There are going to be situations when I lean on these guys."
Keefer said Greensburg Salem did not have a very big senior class last season, meaning there will be a significant amount of returnees who either started or saw extended playing time.
Keefer added that there won't be many changes made schematically, other than adding a few of his own wrinkles.
"Our program isn't broken. It doesn't need to change," he said. "I'm just going to put a personal touch on it. We just want to stay consistent."