Franco applies for job at Tyrone
By Michael Boytim
Wednesday was the last day resumes were accepted in Tyrone for the school’s head football coaching vacancy, and at least one of the applicants is a familiar one.
John Franco, who went 190-37 in 18 years at Tyrone and led the Golden Eagles to three PIAA high school football championship games, winning one in 1999 over Mount Carmel, confirmed to the Mirror he applied for the position Wednesday night.
The Tyrone job is just one of several high school football coaching vacancies in the area that have yet to be or recently have been filled.
Franco is currently still the coach at Penn Cambria, where he is 4-16 over two seasons but nearly got the Panthers into the playoffs last season. Following an 0-10 start to his time in Cresson, Penn Cambria went 4-6 last season and lost a nailbiter, 16-12, to Forest Hills in the season finale.
“I’ve talked with the Penn Cambria folks,” Franco said. “I’m waiting to see what happens at Tyrone. I’m interested, and I’m going to talk with them about it. I’ve spoken with the athletic director, principal and superintendent at Penn Cambria, and they know I’m going to look into it, because it’s Tyrone. It’s the only team I’d be interested in, because of my roots and history there. So I’ll go down there and we’ll talk about it, and we’ll see.”
Franco left Tyrone after the Golden Eagles lost the state championship game in 2011 and returned to Altoona the next season, where he’d started his head coaching career. He coached at Altoona until stepping down in February of 2016. Franco spent some time with another former Tyrone coach, Steve Guthoff, at Saint Joseph’s Academy before taking the Penn Cambria job before the 2017 season.
When Guthoff left Tyrone after the 2013 season, Franco’s name came up as a possibility despite his position coaching at Altoona. Eventually, Tyrone hired Franco’s former defensive coordinator Jason Wilson, who held the job until earlier this month when the board opened the position.
Tyrone athletic director Luke Rhoades said interviews for the Tyrone job will take place next week and that the school expects to make the hire official at the Feb. 12 board meeting.
Here are some updates on some of the other schools that will have new coaches in 2019.
Altoona Area High School athletic director Phil Riccio said the end of the day today will be the last chance for applicants to submit their interest in the Mountain Lions’ job. The school is hoping to have a coach in place by the end of February or the start of March. The position, previously held by Nick Felus, was opened earlier this month.
The job requirements in the advertisement for the position include a minimum of five years experience as a head high school football coach or coaching at the collegiate level.
Mike Hudy, who went 39-39 in seven years at Huntingdon, resigned on Jan. 8 after meeting with his players. Hudy’s son, Andrew, is a senior who just wrapped up his high school football career.
Resumes will be accepted until Feb. 5, and Huntingdon athletic director Dean Grenfell said the school would like to hire a candidate at the Feb. 18 board meeting.
Richard Braniff, who went 4-16 in two years as the head coach at Glendale, resigned in December. The Vikings defeated Williamsburg, 46-0, in their opener this past season before losing their final nine games.
According to Glendale athletic director John Matchock, letters of interest were accepted until Jan. 11, and the school is planning to hire a coach at the Feb. 19 board meeting.
In recent hirings, Williamsburg replaced Bob Hearn with Blue Pirates junior high coach Ryan Hileman, and Everett hired Dave Lightner to take over for an outgoing Winston Redman. Lightner was the Warriors’ defensive coordinator last season.
If Franco gets the Tyrone job, that would open up the Penn Cambria job. One interesting possible candidate could be Felus, who graduated from Penn Cambria in 1996 and confirmed to the Mirror he’s still interested in coaching.
Forest Hills is also looking for a football coach after Don Bailey retired at the end of last season following 45 years on the sideline with the Rangers. The application deadline for that position is today.