Ed Feeney was a man of few words, both in his daily life and his career as an assistant football coach at Seton-La Salle High School.
"One of his favorite things to say was 'Keep it simple stupid,'" former Rebels coach Lou Cerro said. "We always kept that up on the white board in the locker room."
While his words may not have come in abundance, the ones he did use touched all of the players and people in his life.
Mr. Feeney died Monday of an apparent heart attack. He was 54.
He was the oldest of four siblings, and he had to watch over them after his father died at age 42 of a heart attack while they were all in grade school.
"He was really good about being the oldest," said Nancy Rizzo, Mr. Feeney's sister. "Family always came first. He was very helpful and supportive to my mom."
Mr. Feeney was a graduate of South Hills Catholic in 1977 and Duquesne University in 1982. He was a longtime employee of the Pittsburgh Brewing Co. beginning in 1979, working in addition to being a student and member of the Duquesne football team. Mr. Feeney always held a job from a young age, according to Ms. Rizzo, most recently as a maintenance worker for the Baldwin-Whitehall School District.
He followed his passion for football to the sidelines as a line coach at Seton-La Salle. He was an assistant for 17 years. Although he was typically very reserved, he could fill the locker room with laughter.
"He was really mild mannered," Mr. Cerro said. "But when he got on a roll, you couldn't stop him."
The Rebels football program meant a great deal to Mr. Feeney. He developed close relationships with many of his players, especially the linemen.
"He was just one of the greatest guys," Mr. Cerro said. "He was great with the kids and stayed in contact with them."
"He looked at the players as very much a part of his family," Ms. Rizzo said. "He always followed them regardless of where they went."
In addition to his passion for football, Mr. Feeney loved cooking, gardening and being Irish.
"He loved his Irish heritage," Ms. Rizzo said. "He really had to. His mother was a Sweeney and his father was a Feeney."
Mr. Feeney's family suggests memorial contributions be made to Seton-La Salle High School in memory of coach Ed Feeney.
Jordan Greer: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1621.