HOW IT STARTED
Courtney and I started dating after our Junior year prom at North Catholic High School, located in the northside of Pittsburgh. Courtney has been very supportive and loves the game of football. But more importantly, she loved seeing how people from various backgrounds, cultures, and belief systems come together for the common goal to #Rise Together. By coming together Courtney and I have been able to see how many lives have been impacted for a greater cause than winning football games. We have seen this through true love and care of others off the football field. Seeing players supporting one another during the good and hard times of life.
In November of 2018 Courtney and I had many discussions about the motto of the Saint Vincent College Bearcat Football Team and how we wanted the motto to circumference coming together Academically, Athletically, Socially, Spiritually, and in the Community. We wanted to make sure #Rise Together will be the start of growing in all five phases to leave a legacy by ultimately serving and impacting others lives for the greater good life.
During the time of establishing the #Rise Together motto we had seen how this truly impacted our own life. Courtney had a due date of December 21st. But a routine doctors appointment sent us into the hospital at 1 AM to be induced to have our son, Carter on November 30, 2018. We prayed and believed in God’s Plan to have the baby early. But shortly after birth Carter was taken to the NICU and spent the next 5 days receiving care from several nurses and doctors. We continued to trust God’s Plan as the medical providers worked together.
On Tuesday, December 4th I received a phone call while in the NICU from Father Myron Kirsch, the Saint Vincent College Athletic Director. I stepped outside the NICU to speak with Father Myron. Father Myron offered me the opportunity to be the Head Football Coach at Saint Vincent College. He explained that I could take the time to speak with Courtney and call him back. So, I walked back into the NICU to tell Courtney and as I did the doctor was explaining that Carter was making great strides and would be released to the step-down unit for the next day. In a three-minute span God answered our prayers and showed how others can impact your life as you #Rise Together. On December 5, 2018 I completed the paperwork and accepted the Head Football Coach Position and Courtney, Carter, and I went home from the hospital.
This officially started #Rise Together.
The ultimate goal is to #Rise Together. You #Rise Together Academically, Athletically, Socially, Spiritually, and in the Community. #Rise Together is leaving a legacy to serve and impact others lives in growing to be a better, man, husband, and father for the greater good by sharing a special bond in life as we love one another.
THE PHASES OF #RISE TOGETHER
The 3 P's Of #Rise Together
BEARCAT FOOTBALL FAMILY
Student-Athletes and Coaches from various backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs uniting as one.
The five core values of Faith, Positive Attitude, Worth Ethic, Compete, and Sacrifice are seen throughout our everyday lives as we #Rise Together.
THE RESULTS OF #RISE TOGETHER
LEAVE YOUR LEGACY
“Better Man, Husband, & Father”
Be Grateful and Always Say Thank You
Always Look Someone in the Eyes
Hold Doors for People
Say Yes Ma’am / Sir
Say No Ma’am / Sir
Say Hello to People in Passing
Always Clean Up After Yourself
Clean Up After Others
Hold Positive Conversations, Not Negative
Include People, Don’t Exclude
Give Credit, Take Blame
Treat Women with Respect
LOVE ONE ANOTHER
“Love one another, as I have loved You.” - John 15:12
Head Coach Football Coach at Saint Vincent College
A standout quarterback for the Bearcats during his playing days, Aaron Smetanka was hired as the third head coach in the Saint Vincent College football team’s modern era on Dec. 5, 2018. He enters his third season as head coach in 2021.
Smetanka brings a record of 5-9 into his third year, after guiding the Bearcats to a 2-2 record during an abbreviated 2020-21 season that was played in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the four games, punctuated by a 35-6 victory over Bethany in week two and a 56-26 home win in the season finale against Waynesburg, the Bearcats ranked third in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference in both scoring offense (29.8 points/gm) and total offense (382.5 yards/gm). Defensively, the Bearcats’ allowed just a 44.4 percent conversion rate on third down, ranking second in the PAC, while they finished fourth in the league with six quarterback sacks.
Individually, 10 players earned All-PAC honors, highlighted by center Colton Belmont’s First Team selection and Second Team picks Mike Stasko (RB), David Marshall (RB), Cam Norris (OLB) and Jared Gonzalez (P). Belmont was also recognized with All-Region honors by D3Football.com, while Stasko rolled up 370 rushing yards and four touchdowns to end his career as the Bearcats’ modern era all-time leading rusher with 1,877 yards.
In 2019, Smetanka’s first year at the helm, the Bearcats recovered from an 0-4 start to win three of their final six games. He recorded his first victory on Oct. 12 with a 41-18 decision at PAC rival Thiel, while the Bearcats ended the season on a high note with a 27-10 home win over Bethany College.
Seven SVC players were honored with All-PAC recognition following the conclusion of the 2019 team, including First Team selection Christian Witchey (punter) and Second-Teamers Belmont and Stasko. Stasko set new team records with 907 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, while linebacker Izaak Gray recorded six quarterback sacks to graduate as the team’s all-time career leader with 16.5 QB takedowns.
Smetanka rewrote the record books during his career as the Bearcats' quarterback, before going on to play professionally for the Erie Explosion of the Continental Indoor Football League. Smetanka's coaching career began in 2012, and it includes a three-year stint as an assistant at Saint Vincent, while he most recently has served as head coach at Greensburg Central Catholic High School in 2017 and 2018.
A two-year starter under center for the Bearcats (2010-11), Smetanka remains the program's modern-day career record-holder in passing yards (4,117), attempts (536), completions (331), and touchdown passes (31). Voted the team's offensive most valuable player in both 2010 and 2011, Smetanka was also a First Team All-Presidents' Athletic Conference selection in each season. As a senior and team co-captain in 2011, Smetanka led the Bearcats to their most successful season since the team's rebirth, as they went 6-4 in the regular season and qualified for the Eastern College Athletic Conference's Southwest Bowl. In 2014, Smetanka was named to the PAC's 60th Anniversary All-Time Team, which recognized the top football players in the conference's long history.
After graduating from SVC, Smetanka began his coaching career as the quarterback coach at Peters Township High School for the 2012 season. Following a one-year stint, he returned to his alma mater to join the Bearcat coaching staff as quarterback coach, a position he held for three seasons. Smetanka held a variety of responsibilities in this role, as in addition to coaching the team's quarterbacks, he was heavily involved in recruiting, scouting, and breakdown of game film, while also providing positive guidance and mentorship to the Bearcat players.
During his first stint on the Saint Vincent staff, Smetanka also starred under center for the Erie Explosion from 2013-14. As a rookie in 2013, he guided the team to a perfect 10-0 record and the CIFL title. A year later, Smetanka was named the Continental Indoor Football League's Offensive Player of the Year, leading the Explosion to a 9-2 record and their second consecutive league championship.
After spending the 2016 season on the staff at Chartiers Valley as passing game coordinator and quarterback coach, Smetanka was named the head coach of Greensburg Central Catholic in January 2017. He oversaw all aspects of the Centurion football program, as in addition to his head coaching role, he coordinated both the offense and special teams, while also serving as quarterback coach, strength and conditioning coach and equipment manager. During his time at GCC, a total of 21 Centurions were named all-conference.
In addition to his coaching experience, Smetanka has been a coach and speaker for the Coaching Boys into Men program for the past two years, an initiative aimed at promoting healthy relationships, building leadership skills and decreasing violence among high school boys. Smetanka was chosen as a featured speaker at the 2018 Coaching Boys into Men Summit, and was named the national MVP Coach of the Year, earning recognition from the United Way in its 2018 annual report.
A native of Allison Park, Pennsylvania, and graduate of North Catholic High School, Smetanka earned a bachelor's degree in business management from Saint Vincent's Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government. He resides in Penn Trafford with his wife, (Courtney), son (Carter) and daughter (Kennedy).