Gene Huey (2015)

Former Uniontown Red Raider Gene Huey spent 19 seasons as running backs coach for the NFL Indianapolis Colts, the most for an assistant in
franchise history.

John “Wally” Schroyer  

Huey coached 304 games with the Colts, also the most for an assistant in franchise history. In the last two decades, he has worked with 1,000-yard rushers and Pro Bowl running backs such as James – the franchise’s all-time leading rusher – Faulk and Addai. Each of those players made the Pro Bowl with the Colts.

Huey, 67, was an all-around athlete at Uniontown playing football and basketball and running track. He played on the Raiders 1964 State Championship basketball team.

Huey began his coaching career at his alma mater, Wyoming, in 1970 and has had coaching stops at New Mexico, Nebraska, Arizona State, Ohio State and Indianapolis.

When he reflects on his long coaching career the long road always come back to where it all started in Uniontown. Huey was a part of the “Golden Era” of Uniontown athletics.

“We had some great people before us like Sandy Stephens and Bill Munsey and certainly Ernie Davis and the Davis brothers and all the people in South Union, North Union and Uniontown you can almost combine it.

You had some great athletes who were great role models for us and I had a chance two summers ago when I was back to visit Ron Sepic and he’s another guy who’s done very well in sports and certainly as a dentist.

“We’ve had those kinds of people over the years there, and not just athletes. I look at a guy Leonard Masi who lived on Daniels Street and was one of our high school custodians and I had a paper route and I would go down Daniels Street and stop and have a meatball sandwich and a salad at the Macozzi house and then have dinner at Leonard Masi’s house and he would talk football. He was a very
compassionate man.

So all those people – Ruby Laskey, Bus Albright, Al Grandy – all those people were very important in a lot of our lives as far as our growth. Nancy Jenkins who ran the playground at East End and Joe Thomas a policeman and Spider Minor is the king of them all for me.”
Stephens also was a big influence on Huey.

“I sit and think about what Stephens meant to me in my playing and certainly in my coaching,” Huey reflected. “All the influences that I grew up with in Uniontown that were very positive – certainly I use them in my own coaching and teaching and that’s where I got it right back here from all those people.

Miss Sis at Sis’s restaurant on Main and Grant –she and her husband Ernest I never knew their last names, but you could always go in there and get some great advice from him and a good piece of sweet potato pie from her along with the advice.

Those are the people that were very instrumental in the shaping of my life along with my parents and grand parents.”

The great Uniontown teams stick out in Huey’s memory.

“We had some great teams, particularly football and basketball. We won the 1962 championship in basketball and in 1964 we won it in again. I only played on the ‘64 team, but my cousin Ben Gregory who is now deceased was on the ‘62 and ’64 teams.

When he passed away it was like losing a brother - that’s how close we were.”

Huey played college football at Wyoming, playing both defensive back and wide receiver, he set 13 receiving records and he is the only player in Western Athletic Conference history to win all-conference offensive and defensive honors. He was a co-captain for the Cowboys and played on three conference championship teams.

“Fred Answine was an assistant football coach at Uniontown under Lee Kaltenbach and had contacts at Wyoming because he played baseball out there,” Huey said. “I owe him a lot for getting my name to the proper people - one of which was Paul Roach who recruited and coached me there.

That’s how a got out there. I took a train with a one way ticket out of Connellsville in 1965 and went to Wyoming and loved every bit of it and still do.”

Huey was a fifth round draft choice of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1969 and had NFL experience over the next two seasons with Minnesota and San Diego.

“The NFL career was short,” Huey explained. “It was short and I was forced into an early retirement, but it was a good experience at the time and I was with several teams and then I was out of it as quickly as I went in, but no regrets because it gave me the opportunity to get into coaching where I’ve been since.”

Huey was aiming at a coaching career and Uniontown played a big role in fulfilling that ambition.

“My best experience ever with coaching – I shouldn’t say ever, but what led me into that. I go back to Uniontown,” Huey stated. “It always comes back full circle. Jeff Rush who is the head of the Akron Credit Union and is from Uniontown and his brother Jerry was a policeman who lived over on Daniels Street whose wife is Leonard Masi’s daughter.

Jeff Rush was my baseball coach when I was in third grade and we maintained contact and he was instrumental in me wanting to get into coaching because he made coaching fun and those are things that imprint on your memory, but again the best one I’ve been with and been coached by – Spider Minor is the one. I owe him a lot just for the way he treated us all.”

It has been a great coaching ride for Huey with some great stops along the way.

“By the grace of God I had the chance and the opportunity to work at those places,” Huey explained. “I thoroughly enjoyed it and was able work at Ohio State and coach at Nebraska for 10-years with a great man in Tom Osborne and New Mexico and Wyoming and Arizona State.

There have been some fine places to coach and work at and great staffs and athletes to work with.”

Huey spent 19-years coaching at Indianapolis and had a simple formula for his longevity.

“Well, you come to work and you do your job, like you’re supposed to do it,” Huey said. “You’re accountable and responsible and honest and truthful with the people that you work for and by the grace of God you’re still here and you stay out of politics.

That’s simple enough for me and my important thing is you have no axe to grind and you’re not stepping on people’s shoulders trying to get somewhere. You’re just trying to do the best you can do with the job you have and that’s all I’ve tried to do.”

Huey was extremely disappointed when he was let go by the Colts after the 2010 season.

“I was surprised because I had been here 19 years and certainly felt like I had contributed and the guys I was responsible for over those years like Roosevelt Potts, Marshall Faulk, Edgerrin James, Dominick Rhodes, Joseph Addai and Donald Brown contributed to the Colts,” Huey stated. “I certainly feel like over the years that I’ve been here that I’ve tried to do my job in my area the best that I could, to make sure that we had consistency and a good product with the players that I coached and was responsible for.”

Minnesota offered Huey a coaching spot soon after news broke that he had been fired. Then Vikings coach Leslie Frazier was an assistant on the Colts staff for two seasons (2005-06), so he was familiar with Huey.
“When I thought of the prospects of going up to Minneapolis and leaving my family and all that hit and I was anguishing about it,” Huey said. “It took me a couple of nights and a lot of prayers and I thought to myself that family is important and I had been gone a lot with this job. I had a teenaged daughter and son and I thought it’s time to spend time with them and take early retirement. I had a great run in football and it’s unfortunate the way it came to an end. I thanked Frazier for thinking of me enough to want to hire me. I thought about it and I’m at peace with my decision.”

Huey stills has family in Uniontown – his sister and two nephews and he tries to get back into town as often as he can.

“It’s great to come home whether your coming down route 51 or coming from Brownsville and you hit that rise and you see Jumonville and see the courthouse and it brings back a lot of memories and it will
forever be imbedded in my heart and mind. It’s a great place to have come from.”


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