State College football coach Matt Lintal was named Friday as one seven assistant coaches for the annual Big 33 Football Classic, according to the list released by the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association.
This is Lintal’s first time coaching in the annual all-star game, which normally takes place in June and now pits some of the top players in Pennsylvania against the best from Maryland. Lintal is the only District 6 coach to earn a spot on the staff.
“Obviously, it’s a tremendous honor,” Lintal said. “It’s a game with so much prestige and history. To be able to be a part of that is a tremendous honor.”
The Pennsylvania head coach is Manheim Township’s Mark Evans. Other Pennsylvania assistants include New Castle’s Joe Cowart, Beaver Falls’ Ryan Mastook, Cumberland Valley’s Michael Whitehead, Neshaminy’s Steve Wilmot, Phoenixville’s Evan Breisblatt and Emmaus’ Harold Fairclough.
Lintal guided his Little Lions this past season to a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinals appearance, where they fell to eventual state champ Pine-Richland, 49-21. State College finished the season at 10-3, marking the fourth time in Lintal’s four years his squad made the state tournament.
The coach wasn’t quite sure on the details of how he made the Big 33 staff. He assumed someone on the central Pennsylvania committee, maybe from Hollidaysburg, floated his name — and then the decision-makers opted to go with the Centre County product.
“I look at it as a great reflection of the hard work of our entire coaching staff and our players and our strength coach — and everybody — that’s really a part of making our program successful,” he said.
Lintal discovered the news Friday on Twitter. If somebody sent him an email, he hasn’t gotten it yet — not with the moving process with school and his 3-year-old son’s birthday. But that doesn’t mean he was any less grateful.
His hope now is that one of his players can join him at the all-star game. No Little Lion has competed in it since he became head coach.
Regardless, he said there’s plenty of thanks to go around for his honor.
“It’s not just me,” Lintal said. “Mine is the name that shows up, but there’s a lot of other people that deserve the credit for that. ... I believe we have the best coaching staff in the state.”