Bartlett takes on Tyrone soccer job

Alex Bartlett is a physical education teacher at Tyrone Area Elementary School.

The May 2018 graduate of Penn State University is also the soccer program director at the Northern Blair Recreation Center.

Just 22 years old, the 2014 Bellwood-Antis graduate has added another title to his resume as the Tyrone Area School Board voted him as the new head coach of the varsity boys soccer program on April 9.

“We’ve seen what Alex has been doing with students in our district as a phys ed teacher,” Tyrone athletic director Luke Rhoades said. “He’s taken on a leadership role at Northern Blair with the soccer program there, and the kids really respond to him.”

It is believed that Bartlett is the youngest soccer coach currently in the PIAA.

“I was surprised at the opportunity,” Bartlett said. “The opportunity came up and I definitely wanted to take it. I definitely wasn’t going to shy away from it.”

Bartlett is no stranger to Tyrone soccer as he took advantage of the co-op program that Bellwood has with Tyrone, and was apart of the soccer team with the Golden Eagles.

During his junior season, Tyrone lost in the District 6 semifinals before winning the Mountain League title and advancing deeper in his final season but suffering defeat in the championship game.

Bartlett, who also played basketball and ran track for the Blue Devils, attended Penn State Altoona where he played under coach Maurice Taylor for two years.

“I’m very happy for him. I think he has the potential to do a great job,” Taylor said. “He was a very coachable player in terms of he wanted to listen, he wanted to do better. He came into the college environment very hungry. Whatever you gave to him, it was pleasure to sit back and watch him do what you gave to him.”

Bartlett was a starter at center midfielder from the moment he stepped on campus, and he was a big part of the turnaround the Lions saw from his freshman year where they went 4-14 to his sophomore campaign which saw the team go 13-5-2.

“When he left to go to the main campus, I didn’t want to see him leave,” Taylor said. “He wasn’t the strongest guy out there but he was just shear smart, soccer skills and desire. He wanted to be better and he was a great teammate. He got his coaching license before he even left college and to this day, he still asks questions.”

This past fall, Bartlett was an assistant coach with Tyrone, which gives him an advantage of already knowing his team.

“We have a great team coming back. We lost a few seniors that meant a lot to the team and the program, but we have a really great core coming back,” Bartlett said. “We have the Mountain League MVP back in Corey Johnston, who is a phenomenal player. We have a bunch of great pieces too. A solid defense and some dedicated players to develop a culture around the program. I think the guys we have coming back are experienced, and I think they’re going to buy into what we’re all about.”

Despite being a first year coach, Bartlett is confident in his teams ability and isn’t shying away from the expectations he has for his program.

“My goal is to win our league and make a run at playoffs,” Bartlett said. “We’re going to be very experienced with probably six or seven seniors and five or six juniors. I think we can do some damage this year.”