Radnor Scores Touchdown with New Head Football Coach Hire Kyle Yeiter

When Athletic Director Mike Friel asked Kyle Yeiter if he would like to be the next head coach of Radnor Football, the middle school teacher emphatically replied “you bet I would like to be the next head coach of Radnor.” This moment occurred over a month ago—Yeiter’s excitement and drive hasn’t ceased since.

Yeiter led the special teams unit at Archbishop Wood High School, one of the many positions he held before stepping on as Radnor’s head coach. Photo from Kyle Yeiter.

The sun has set on Tom Ryan’s 15-year tenure as Radnor Football’s head coach, but the program’s future is as bright as ever. Ryan’s reign as shot-caller marked an era of evolution, as the teaching veteran brought Radnor to their first PIAA District One playoff win in history and established a winning culture surrounding the program. According to the since-January retired coach, his program’s primary goal was to “[teach the team how] to do things the right way and [how] to be good people,” proving how the sport of football is more than a game to members of Radnor’s community.

Numbers-wise and culture-wise, Ryan’s team was definitively successful, something he attributes to “surrounding [himself] with coaches who not only know the game, but also care about and treat kids the way they are supposed to be treated.” Coach Yeiter seeks to emulate this humanizing style of coaching, something he has long looked forward to over his teaching career in Radnor.

“When I got out of college,” Yeiter explained in an interview, “I had always wanted to be a head coach of football. As I’ve been at Radnor these past six years, however, that dream has shifted to wanting to become the head coach of Radnor football.” Yeiter had been offered head coaching positions at two local schools, but the football veteran “could best see [himself] being a head coach at Radnor.”

Yeiter is from Northeast Philadelphia and has been in the Philadelphia area public school system his whole life. He “figured out pretty early” that he wanted to spend his life educating individuals at the high school level and was very excited to be brought onto Radnor’s teaching staff, initially as a long-term substitute teacher. After being at the middle school for a year, Yeiter “fell in love with Radnor and with interacting with kids in middle school,” calling Radnor “[his] home.”

Yeiter has lots of experience coaching. He feels “super confident” when it comes to the X’s and O’s, citing experiences he has shared with his brother—who will also be joining Radnor’s coaching staff—relating to watching film, meeting other coaches, and “loving the sport of football.” Yeiter played at Ursinus, coached as a quarterbacks and defensive backs coach at Father Judge High School, spent four years at Cheltenham High School as defensive coordinator, and led the special teams at Archbishop Wood High School. While the new hire is young, he has lots of experience calling plays in all aspects of the game. 

Yeiter “knows that the bigger question is how [he] is planning on teaching the kids,” in addition to the technical aspects of the sport. The experienced teacher knows that a big part of allowing kids to learn is “keeping them organized and preparing them for anything,” something he wishes to bring from the classroom to the field.

One unique and exciting aspect of how Yeiter’s program will pursue this goal comes in the form of new technology. The team has been running virtual installs—getting all members of the team on the same software platforms—on team members’ devices and utilizing both Zoom and YouTube to meet with and teach players. Yeiter’s brother, Mike, has also developed an app unique to the team, meant to keep everyone on track with plays. This application of technology to the sport will allow Yeiter and his staff to put into place their “specific progression as to what each player needs to learn over the course of the season.”

Yeiter’s goal for the team is to “build Radnor into the best football program in the Central League.” The coach emphasizes that this doesn’t necessarily mean “having the most wins at the end of every season,” but rather means “being the best run program from the buy-in from players and coaches to the ways we lift, practice, watch film together, and have each other’s backs.” Yeiter wants to “learn and grow and elevate the program to a college-level type of experience.” 

Head Coach Yeiter and Offensive Coordinator Larry DiSipio have already been in talks about summer workouts, during which they and other members of staff will begin to build the program. The goal of summer training will be to get in both lifting and agility work, as well as [develop] a strong understanding of both sides of the ball. Yeiter wants “the team to learn football better than any other team out there,” and his goal is to have base offense, defense, and special teams systems installed prior to the season. “The goal is for this system to be installed over those two months [of summer] so we can get going when the season actually starts,” says Yeiter. “Everything we do every week will be structured and purposeful; it won’t just be ‘oh, let’s do this this week.’ The other coaches and I are getting together currently to plan everything out.”

Ryan’s squad takes home victory in the 125th meeting of Radnor and Lower Merion’s fierce rivalry. Photo from Margarita Moreland.

Yeiter has plenty of exciting plans in place but understands it will take a lot to fill Ryan’s shoes. “Coach Ryan is legendary, especially in Delaware County,” he says. One aspect of the job Yeiter is ready to learn is the college recruiting side of football, something Ryan did “extremely well,” according to the new head coach. “Upon looking at the list of college players who have played football for Coach Ryan, it is pretty obvious how hard he worked to make sure all the kids who wanted to play in college had the opportunity.” Ryan has been very helpful to Yeiter in the transition, passing along the latter’s contact information to all college coaches the program has a relationship with. Yeiter was keen to mention how Ryan’s “number one priority is the kids” and that “having that relationship with the kids will be the biggest thing to live up to.”

Yeiter is very aware that just as his relationship with the athletes is important, the athletes’ buy-in drives the program’s success. “From what I have seen so far [at our informational meetings], the work has been beyond impressive,” proclaimed an animated Yeiter. “After the first week of working out, I called my brother and said that we wouldn’t have to be on these guys about working hard.” The coach referenced how the team has been “laser-focused in Zoom meetings and always asking questions.” Yeiter attributes this discipline to Ryan: “they know a lot and have been coached very well. It is exciting that there are many good signs.”

As the sun has admirably set on Ryan’s reign, it invigoratingly rises on Yeiter’s. A likeness between the two eras is each coach’s level of passion for supporting Radnor. Ryan describes high school football as “an amazing experience for not just the players and coaches but for the entire community,” and Yeiter wishes to prove himself as one who “loves Radnor and understands the community.” The new head coach has big shoes to fill, but all signs seem to point towards success shining on Radnor football.