University of Buffalo football coach Marty Spieler is not shy about his pride for his Woodland Hills roots.
In fact, he attributes much of his current day success to his years as a Wolverine and being a member of the Woodland Hills community. A 2000 Woodland Hills High School graduate, Spieler took many lessons from the football program, on and off the field.
“Woodland Hills football taught me the value of a player on a team and the value of that team in the community. Everyone has a role and I learned early on to be the best player in that role at your level,” Spieler said. “Not everyone can be the star, or the head coach, but you need a full roster of players who are fully reaching their potential.”
Spieler, who grew up in Braddock Hills, stresses that Woodland Hills football provides a sense of pride and belonging to the community— a sense of belonging that a lot of players across the district, the state and the country are not always fortunate enough to feel at home. However, once these players go away to camp and bleed, sweat, fight and play together, it provides them with ground to stand on.
Following his career at Woodland Hills, Spieler went on to play ball at Allegheny College, a small liberal arts school in Meadville that is known for its tough curriculum and high-level academics. Spieler chose Allegheny to challenge him both academically and athletically. His combined experiences at Allegheny and Woodland Hills led him to his career in college football coaching.
“Coaching football is so much more than Xs and Os. Coach (George) Novak has shown the importance of a coach to the Woodland Hills community. Your responsibility is to provide a positive experience to every player on that field,” Spieler said, speaking about his inspiration to become a coach. “Coach Novak and his staff provided the discipline needed to become successful at life after football. Woodland Hills football taught me how to work hard and that is a tribute to Coach Novak, (Larry) Whitehurst, (Dennis) Damico and the rest of his staff.”
In addition to the high school influence to coach football, Spieler was highly intrigued by the challenges faced at the collegiate level.
“In not many professions are you evaluated by wins and losses in front of anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000 people and on the amount of preparation and your plan for the week,” Spieler said. “It is a high-stress profession that comes with a high-risk/reward. That drives me.”
After coaching at Georgia Southern University, his own alma mater of Allegheny College and the University of Cincinnati, Spieler is now in his third season with the University of Buffalo Bulls, where he is the tight ends coach and special teams coordinator.
The future looks bright for Spieler, and he has some big dreams that he hopes to attain. He would like to become a head football coach and wishes to continue challenging himself to perform at the next level.
“I do this to prove to myself, my family, my community that I can perform at the highest level week in and week out while having fun doing it. Growing up, kids went out and played football for fun— I get to do it for a career! Who wouldn't want to do that?”