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Friday, February 15, 2013

A Mattis is on the Sideline Again - Introducing the ASI Panthers

From 1941 to 1951, Dick Mattis coached the football team at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, PA to an 81-18-1 record.

That's not a misprint.  81-18-1 is correct.

After Mattis retired from coaching, Fritz Brennan, one of his assistant coaches continued the LM gridiron dominance in the suburban Philadelphia region for many years to follow.
ASI Panthers head coach Bill Mattis
Now, another Mattis is trying his hand at football coaching.  Dick Mattis' grandson, Bill Mattis, Jr., is the head coach of the ASI Panthers, an expansion team in the Indoor Gridiron League (IGL), a developmental football league in Philadelphia. 

Now entering its third season, the IGL, which is "powered" by Arena Football League's Philadelphia Soul, is a recreational and developmental football league endeavoring to provide "a legitimate opportunity for athletes within the community to pursue their personal dreams of playing professional football."  Mattis,  the owner of AllStarInc, an athlete representation agency in suburban Philadelphia, represents many aspiring young players at different levels of football, while also providing representation, marketing, and publicity services for many retired professional athletes including Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer Paul Hornung, Chicago Bears Hall of Famer Gale Sayers, NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, and Heisman Trophy winner John Cappelletti.
As for his place on a football sideline, Mattis is hoping some of his grandfather's skill set has been passed along to him.  "As a family, we're very proud of what Dick Mattis accomplished at Lower Merion.  If any coach could be half as successful as he was, it would be a great achievement."

Trying his hand at football for the first time, at nearly 51 years old, is another challenge facing the newest Mattis to coach on the sideline, but he doesn't appear to be worried about that.  "I've coached baseball, softball, basketball and soccer.  It's all about learning and adapting.  There's also a lot of psychology and salesmanship needed.  I was a rarely used player back in high school, but I learned a lot back then from some pretty good coaches."

After finishing ninth grade at Lower Merion School District's Bala Cynwyd Junior High, Mattis played baseball, basketball, and football at Lower Merion's arch rival, Radnor High School from 1977-1980. It was an interesting trade of uniforms especially considering Mattis' family background.
"Fritz Brennan's kid, Johnny, played at Radnor before I got there, so it wasn't an unprecedented move."  Mattis laughed while saying, "My old friends at LM definitely gave me a hard time about being a traitor, but it was fun when we played against them."  He went on to play baseball at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, serving as team captain for three years.

Mattis' most successful coaching stint was when he coached the Upper Darby Blue Storm Girls Travel Soccer team for an eight-year span.  His daughter, Christine, now a senior at Widener University and a starting pitcher on the women's softball team there, was a player on the team and the squad took on many high level opponents over the years.

"We didn't keep track of the records but we won a lot of games...a LOT more than we lost.  Those girls were an incredible bunch and I miss those days of coaching them.  The families were so great in their support, it really made for a lot of fun times."

2013 Concept Uniform for the ASI Panthers
The family sports involvement continues with the ASI Panthers, as the team's player personnel director and general manager is Mattis' son, Will.  A baseball player in high school, Will has been helping his father with the football side of AllStarInc, specifically with recruiting, and has shown not only great promise, but a keen eye for talent, even placing some players with European teams.  "Will knows his stuff.  People better forget the fact that he's only 20 years old.  He does the job, knows the players, and delivers a roster that is very good.  I have no doubt we'll have a very good team."

Does Mattis see this football coaching thing becoming a new full time job?  Probably not.  "I doubt it.  I have too much going on for that!  Seriously though, we'll take it one year at a time and see how it goes.  It's not an easy job, that's for sure."
If family history is an indicator of success or failure, the ASI Panthers definitely have the correct family running the show.
The Panthers regular season games start in mid-April.  More information about the team can be found at the ASI Panthers Facebook page ( page and also at the AllStarInc website by visiting  If you would like to become a "Panther Partner," contact Bill Mattis at 484-477-2622 for more information.
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Korinne M. Jackman contributed to this story. 

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