From the NFL to New Pond Village: Fred Glatz’s Remarkable Journey
Now enjoying a serene retirement at New Pond Village with his wife Joan, Fred Glatz reflects on his achievements and football legacy.
Photo credit: The Pittsburgh Steelers
Fred Glatz started playing football in high school, much to his father’s dismay. “He didn’t let my two older brothers play because he was afraid they would get hurt,” Fred said. Playing in secret, his father later found out while he was still in high school. “He found out and he didn’t do anything about it, he just let me do it.”
Fred was drafted to play for the Steelers, his hometown NFL team, in 1956. “I was enthused, I was happy and I didn’t know if I could do it or not,” said Fred. Less than a year after joining the team, Fred received life-changing news, he was drafted into the Army.
Football in Unexpected Places
Although he was originally “not too happy about it,” Fred was able to keep football as the centerpiece of his life. “I fortunately went right into the Army and played and coached there. I played positions I never played before. My division went to Europe and there was nobody left but the old-timers, so I became the quarterback, the linebacker and the coach.” Mirroring his experience in the NFL, Fred’s time in the Army ended after about a year, but his time playing football did not.
Fred went back to his hometown and attended the University of Pittsburgh, studying for a master’s in physical education. There, he met his wife Joan and played for their college team. After receiving his degree, Fred and Joan made their way to Massachusetts so Fred could continue his football career, this time on the sidelines as a coach. He told Joan about an opportunity to coach a high school team in Massachusetts and after thinking about it, she decided to go too. “I went with him and we got married and we never came back. We stayed up here all this time,” said Joan.
Fred had a storied career as the head coach of St. John’s Prep in Danvers, MA, with the winningest record in school history at 107-41-7. He guided teams there to multiple titles including a state championship and a 1982 Division 2 Super Bowl win with his sons on the team. He’s in the St. John’s Prep Athletic Hall of Fame and the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame. The field at St. John’s is named after him.
A Tranquil Chapter Begins
Surrounded by children and grandchildren, both local and far, Fred and Joan now live an easy life at New Pond Village, a continuing care retirement community located in Walpole, Massachusetts. These days, Fred spends his time visiting family and doing his puzzles. “He will spend hours on them. He has made oodles of puzzles,” said Joan. Although the couple have made a home in Massachusetts, the two remain diehard Steelers fans. Fred jokingly noted that as far as the Patriots go, “they are just another team.”