Riverview fires football coach Matt Bonislawski

Saturday, January 20, 2018 | 11:47 PM

Matt Bonislawski was proud of what he accomplished in his two seasons as Riverview's football coach, so it came as a surprise to him when he found out his time was coming to an end.

Bonislawski, who in his first season led Riverview to its first WPIAL playoff appearance in nearly a decade, said the district informed him last week his position would be opened.

“It came as a shock, to be honest,” he said. “We were there for two years. I got there in June my first year, so we didn't really have an offseason. We only really had one full offseason. I thought we were building something good. The parents I talked to felt we were moving in the right direction.

“The players, I got to speak to them a little bit, and they weren't too happy about it. I feel bad, especially for the seniors, because this is going to be their third coach in four years.”

Bonislawski said he was told he could reapply, but he will not. When asked for a reason, he said, “You'd probably have to ask them.”

Athletic director Mario Rometo could not be reached for comment.

“I learned a lot of valuable lessons while there,” Bonislawski said. “Probably the most important one would be as long as I ever coach again, I will never have a parent of a current player on staff.

“As long as we are coaching, we will put the team in front of any individuals, and we will hand out postseason awards based on performance and not worry about political fallout,” he added later.

A former star quarterback at Highlands who played collegiately at Connecticut and was Highlands' athletic director from 2007-13, Bonislawski took over for Jason Cappa at Riverview in 2016. The man known as “Bones” led Riverview to a 5-14 record and a WPIAL Class A playoff berth in 2016 as a wild card — the Raiders' first postseason appearance since 2007. Riverview lost to Rochester in the first round.

The Raiders finished 2-7 last season as a member of the Eastern Conference with state champion Jeannette, WPIAL runner-up Imani Christian and WPIAL semifinalist Clairton.

“I'm proud of the way the kids worked the last two years for me,” he said. “I thought we always worked hard.”

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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