Ralph Still (2014)

Following in the footsteps of a talented older brother and tapping into a sense of the history of Fayette County athletics, Ralph Still forged an outstanding career at German Township High School.

Chuck Muncie  

“I played sports all my life,” Still said. “I’ve always looked up to my older brother Raymond and all the things he did in high school. He played football and basketball too. I just wanted to follow in his footsteps and I just happened to be blessed with talents in both sports.

“He was seven years older than me and he would never let me beat him. In order to get better I had to strive every day to get better just to be able to be close to him. He helped me a whole lot.”

Still started as a sophomore and junior at quarterback for the Uhlans and switched to running back his senior season.

German went 6-2-2 his sophomore year. German slipped to 4-5 in 1973, but bounced back with a 9-1 mark in Still’s senior season. The only blemish was a 34-7 loss to eventual WPIAL champion
Jefferson Morgan.

“The Jefferson Morgan game was one we looked forward to,” Still remembered. “They had a very good nose guard whose last name was Culp, and we put in a special play to block him and the first two plays we ran our fullback and next we called the special play and we doubled down on him and blocked him and the hole was wide open and I came running through and probably gained 15 yards and got hit on my knee and I was out from that point on.

“I went out very early in the game, and I wound up missing a great part of the basketball season because of that.”

Still’s high school numbers are staggering. He passed for 2,020 yards in his career and rushed for 2,550 yards while scoring 43 touchdowns.
He garnered All-State, All WPIAL, All Tri County Conference and All County honors and played in the 1975 Big 33 game. Pennsylvania lost to Ohio 16-14 in the Big 33 contest.

“German Coach Mickey Tippett was my mentor,” Still recalled. “I think everything that happened in my career was because of him. I met him in fifth grade, and he coached me from fifth grade until I was a senior in high school.”

Still’s basketball numbers are even more remarkable. He finished his career with 1,316 points and that total would have been a lot higher if he hadn’t missed most of his senior season with the knee injury he suffered in football.

The Uhlans posted a 16-6 record in Still’s sophomore campaign and won the section title. They suffered a 2-point loss to Edgewood in the WPIAL title game and almost advanced to the PIAA title game until they fell to Ferndale 73-49.

With only Still and Spencer Epps as returning starters in 1973-74 the Uhlans went 16-7 and won another section title.

Still avenged the loss to Edgewood the previous season with a 40 point effort in the WPIAL Class C championship game, as German won 68-58. German was ousted in the PIAA playoffs by Union 66-55.
“That championship team was unusual. We had three left-handed starters and I guess a lot of teams were confused about how we went to the basket,” Still opined.

“Epps and I played off of each other and Howard Freeman was our board man and we just had a whole team effort and everybody knew what their job was and was able to get where we had to go, especially with the coaching we had with Coach Ed Colebank.”

Still has a vivid memory of his record setting 40 point performance against Edgewood.

“There is a story behind that,” Still explained. “Edgewood’s coach came to scout us at our last game of the season against Mapletown. He didn’t know he was sitting next to my brother. My brother told him, ‘all he does is just shoot from outside.’

“That was senior night and I was a junior and coach started all seniors and I really didn’t get a chance to get in the flow and we were losing after the first quarter. He didn’t get a good scouting report on me.
“Edgewood had beaten us the year before. We were ready for them. That was a night everything I put up went in. Everything went right and I hit almost everything that night.”

Still won the district scoring title as a junior with 647 points for a 28.1 scoring average and eclipsed the German single season scoring mark set by the great Sam Sims.

“I was aware of him and I never met him,” Still stated. “I knew all about him – he was great. I was aware of other players from Fayette County, Yates, Sepic, Robinson and Hobgood. That fueled my desire to excel – I wanted to be like them.”

Because of the knee injury his senior season, Still’s numbers slipped and the Uhlans finished with a record of 11-11.

When still graduated in 1975 over 50 schools pursued him for football and basketball.

“Pitt offered me a dual scholarship for football and basketball,” Still reported. “I found out I couldn’t do both. My last three choices were Pitt, Michigan and Ohio State. Mickey Tippett swung me to Pitt.

“He told me if I want to go to a school that’s going to win the national championship in the next five years – go to Pitt. I grew up watching Big Ten football and wanted to go to the Big Ten, but Pitt was a good choice.”

Still played JV quarterback in 1975 and was red shirted in 1976. He was the third receiver in 1977 and the starting flanker in 1978 and 1979. The Panthers were 9-2-1 in 1977 and defeated Clemson 34-3 in the Gator Bowl.

In 1978 Pitt went 8-4 and lost to North Carolina State 30-17 in the Tangerine Bowl. Pitt posted a record of 11-1 in 1979; the lone loss was to North Carolina 17-7. The Panthers beat Arizona 16-10 in the Fiesta Bowl and finished ranked number seven in the nation.
“In 1977 I was third team receiver,” Still said. “I was the flanker in 1978 and switched to split end in 1979. I caught Dan Marino’s first collegiate touchdown pass, a 24 yarder against Kansas. I had three TD catches in that game.

“I knew Marino was good, just his command as a freshman and the type of pass that he threw. To go on and be the Hall of Famer that he is, I don’t know who knew it at that time.”

In 1978 Still caught 13 passes for 149 yards and one touchdown. In his senior year, he hauled in 43 passes for 580 yards and seven touchdowns.

Still is disappointed that Pitt and Penn State don’t play anymore.
“That’s a disappointment,” Still observed. “My senior year I got to play against them and we beat them 29-14 and that was probably one of the best things I have ever experienced, that and playing against Notre Dame.”

Still played for Johnny Majors and Jackie Sherrill at Pitt and holds both in high regard.

“I didn’t know how much talent was at Pitt until I got there and it was an eye opener,” Still explained. “I had injuries going into my freshman year and hurt myself again in the summer. My sophomore year I pulled both quad muscles, and I was red shirted.

“Through the whole thing, you are getting pushed because new talent is coming in every year, and you get put on the backburner. My only recourse was to get on the scout team and show them what I could do, and I did and that’s how I got back in the picture again.

“I enjoyed playing for both Coach Majors and Coach Sherrill, because they were men of their word. They said I would get an opportunity to play, and I eventually did get to play. An opportunity to play is all you want.”

Still graduated and was cut by the Seattle Seahawks and passed on an opportunity to tryout with the USFL Philadelphia Stars. He entered the insurance business and coached high school football as an assistant at Uniontown and Valley and was head coach at German in their last year of existence.

He was offensive coordinator at Wilkinsburg High School and then moved to Georgia because of his insurance job in 1993.

Now living in Brandon,FL with his wife of 35 years Carmen, Still, 58, works in the trucking industry. He has two grownup sons, Damon and Anthony, and three grandsons.


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