Bill Power* (2014)
The man who helped put Uniontown on the map in high school football, William K. Power Sr., died Thursday, Dec. 14, 2006, at the Redstone Highlands Senior Living Community in Greensburg. He was 90.
Born on a farm in Fort Royal, Tenn., and raised in Burgettstown, Washington County, William Power was the son of Clarence N. and Florence Rosen Power. His father was employed in a local zinc factory.
Power left such a mark as a football coach that in 1994, the stadium in Uniontown was renamed Bill Power Stadium.
And a year later, he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Scholastic Coaches Hall of Fame.
Following graduation from Washington & Jefferson College, his career began in 1937 at Avella High School, Washington County, where, besides coaching the football and basketball teams, Mr. Power taught history.
Power then coached at Point Marion High School from 1944 to 1948 and compiled a record of 28-6.
He accepted a position as a history teacher and head football coach at Uniontown High School and he led the Red Raiders to gridiron glory.
One of his players was Francis “Moose” Machinsky, who was a key member of Uniontown’s undefeated football team in 1951. Machinsky was the first team All-State his senior year and later starred at
“He came to Uniontown in 1948,” Machinsky recalled. “I got to know him in ninth grade when the season was over because I was on the freshman team. But what a guy - I can’t say enough about him. Without him I would have never gone to college.
“There is no question about it because I was going to take the wrong subjects and he came to my parents’ home and said ‘baloney here’s what you want to make him take’, and they did.”
“My father insisted that his players keep their grades up,” said his son, William K. Power II, of Ross. “He felt that as important as sports were, their education came first.”
Two of Power’s best players were quarterback Sandy Stephens and running back Bill Munsey, who both went on to star at the University of Minnesota. Both are deceased, but in interviews before their deaths, both players remembered their old coach fondly.
“We had two great teams that I played on,” Stephens recalled. “My sophomore year we kind of learned what the game was about, and from that point on we never lost a game that I played in. I missed two games and we lost two games in my junior year because I was out with broken ribs.
“In my senior year we were undefeated (10-0). Coach Bill Power was a great influence on all of us. He made me a better player.”
Munsey pointed out that Power was the driving force behind those great Red Raider squads.
“Coach Power was tough, but fair,” Munsey said. “He demanded your best on the field and in the classroom and I thank him for what he did for all of us.”
Machinsky echoed those sentiments.
“I think of his personality, he wasn’t a holler guy,” Machinsky said. “He motivated by doing - he would smile. Yeah, he worked at it and he meant business, but he had a way about him that was incredible.
“Everything he did it seems like he did it with a purpose or had it mapped out. He knew what he wanted and where he wanted to go.”
The Raiders came together in the early 50’s with Power leading the way.
“Uniontown hadn’t had much for a number of years,” Machinsky recalled. “We came from junior high at Ben Franklin and Lafayette and when we got together down at the senior high school our sophomore year it was just a real meshing of talent.
“There was a lot of talent and to give you an idea I think we had eight guys that finished in 1951 that went on and either got a full scholarship or a partial college scholarship.
“That’s unheard of - that’s incredible. When I went to Ohio State and talked to other players, they would say we had one or two players who were good at our high school and here we had eight guys that went on and played college ball and really had better lives because of it.
“We got the education and got a little better job and made a little bit more money and God only knows what would have happened to me if I hadn’t done what Coach Power said.”
In his 15 years as head football coach at Uniontown High School from 1948 until 1962, Power’s teams had a record of 107-35-2. They captured one WPIAL title and three Western Conference championships. He coached three undefeated squads - 1951, 1957 and 1962.
Uniontown High School paid tribute to Power before a basketball game in 2007. Before the start of the game, fans were able to view a large photograph of Power as they entered the gymnasium.