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Where are they now? Jeff Filkovski

Penn-Trafford grad can't pass on football

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

By Rich Emert, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Baseball's loss has become college football's gain. More specifically, the University of Cincinnati's gain.

Jeff Filkovski
Led Allegheny College to Division III title in 1990

That's where Penn-Trafford High School graduate Jeff Filkovski has been coaching since 1996. He is the Bearcats' quarterback coach and has the longest tenure of anyone on head coach Rick Minter's staff.

But baseball was his sport of choice coming out of Penn-Trafford. He went to Miami Dade North, a junior college in Florida, after graduating from high school in 1987. The idea was to play baseball there and ultimately wind up at a Division I college.

What Filkovski discovered that fall in Florida was that he missed football.

He had been Penn-Trafford's starting quarterback for three seasons and wanted to throw post-pattern passes more than hit two-seam fastballs.

"I left after one semester," he said. "Allegheny College had been talking to me when I was in high school. When I got home I called the [football] coach there to find out if they were still interested in me."

He attended Pitt-Greensburg the spring semester and enrolled at Allegheny in Meadville the next fall.

Filkovski played football and baseball at Allegheny and led the Gators' football team to the NCAA Division III national title in 1990. What's amazing is that was Filkovski's only season as a starter, but he made the best of it completing 159 of 258 passes for 2,152 yards and 22 touchdowns as Allegheny went 13-0-1 and defeated Lycoming in the championship game.

Filkovski was the Football Gazette's Division III Player of the Year.

"It was a great experience and the thing about that team was we were all really close," he said. "The senior group we had that year was really special."

A psychology major, Filkovski decided to give coaching a try after graduating from Allegheny. He landed a job as a graduate assistant at Holy Cross and worked with the wide receivers. He did that and worked a couple of part-time jobs for four years.

He wanted to land a job as a full-time assistant, but also was considering a career change. That's when he got a break thanks to a Notre Dame connection.

Minter was looking for a graduate assistant to work with receivers at Cincinnati. He knew then-Holy Cross coach Peter Vaas who recommended Filkovski.

Filkovski served as a graduate assistant in 1996-97 at Cincinnati and then was hired full time in 1998 as the tight ends coach before moving over to work with the quarterbacks the past two seasons.

Under his direction, Cincinnati junior quarterback Gino Guidugli has blossomed into one of the best in Conference USA and has rewritten the Bearcats' record book.

Filkovski also has done a solid job recruiting Western Pennsylvania for the Bearcats. Starting linebacker Jason Russell is from Woodland Hills, sophomore guard Joel Yakovac is a Mt. Lebanon graduate and defensive backs Daven Holly and Antoine Horton are from Clairton and Rochester, respectively.

"I enjoy the recruiting part of the job and talking to high school players about our program," he said. "We've gotten some great guys from the Pittsburgh area and that's not easy when you have to recruit against Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia. But we think we've got a lot to offer."

All of this has made Filkovski, 35 and single, an up-and-comer in the college coaching ranks. He has thought about becoming a head coach and running his own program.

"I have dreams and aspirations, but for now I'm happy at Cincinnati," he said. "I was here through some hard times and it has been worthwhile to see the program grow and become successful.

"It would have to be a really good job to get me to leave here right now. But who knows what might come up down the road."

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