Monessen, football coach Shane Swope part ways after 1 season

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Friday, October 23, 2020 | 4:29 PM


Monessen and Shane Swope are going separate ways after a college try of a 2020 football season.

The school announced Friday that it is parting company with Swope, the Greyhounds’ first-year head coach.

Swope called the decision a “mutual break-up,” and said there are no hard feelings on either end.

A shrinking program could hardly stand to lose another person, but now it has a coaching vacancy to go with minimal returning players.

Roster numbers continued to trend downward as the team had 12 players who were healthy and eligible late in the season.

In one of the team’s final practices, six players showed up.

The Greyhounds reached a tipping point and, with no other choice, had to forfeit their final three games. They finished 0-7.

The team’s last game was Oct. 2 — a 30-6 loss to Mapletown.

Injuries, player departures and grades cut numbers down from a promising 27 over the summer.

Swope also is dealing with some personal issues and said he could not give 100% to the program in the immediate future.

“We would like to thank coach Swope for the time and effort he has put into our program over the past year and due to personal reasons, he can’t continue with his head coaching duties and responsibilities,” Monessen principal Eric Manko said in a statement. “The steps he has taken to start to rebuild our program have not gone unnoticed. We believe that we have a strong core of underclassmen who are willing to be positive leaders both on the playing field and in the classroom.”

A lot of what happened was out of Swope’s control, and the program simply could not take another hit — no matter who was running it.

Former coach Mikey Blainefield had similar issues, and it forced him to resign in 2019 after three seasons.

Blainefield recalled days when Monessen had teams with 50 or more players. By the end of the 2019 season, he had 13.

The situation looked dire but Swope came on board with big plans for a turnaround. He renovated the locker room, jazzed up the uniforms and helmets and vowed to rekindle a proud tradition.

But it wasn’t to be.

“It’s in the best interest of all parties if we go our separate ways,” Swope said. “While this is not what I wanted, it’s what needs to happen.”

His son, freshman quarterback Shane Swope, has transferred back to Yough, along with his two siblings.

The elder Swope thanked administrators for the opportunity to lead the team in his first head coaching job. He previously served as an assistant at Yough.

He called the experience a privilege.

“While our time together was brief, I built some great relationships,” he said. “I promise you, I gave everything I had to offer to the proud city of Monessen. “I am beyond blessed and grateful for my time here.”

Manko said the hiring process will begin immediately and he hopes to have a replacement by December.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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