With numbers dwindling, Monessen football coach Mikey Blainefield steps down

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Sunday, December 22, 2019 | 11:44 AM


Monessen finished the football season with 13 players.

Six are seniors.

Barring an unlikely boom in participation, that does not bode well for the proud program’s future.

With possible dire times ahead, coach Mikey Blainefield handed in his letter of resignation after three seasons.

The writing on the wall was in large, bold letters, and Blainefield, who is concerned about his players, did not want to stick around to see what happens next.

Numbers are trending downward, and Blainefield believes there is a disconnect between the youth and high school programs. He doesn’t expect growth in the program until changes are made.

“I feel that our kids were suffering from the poor handling and the lack of support for the program,” Blainefield said. “I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Blainefield, a former all-conference player at Monessen, was a wide receiver and defensive back for title-contending teams that fielded about 50 players and played in front of large crowds.

Times have changed, and it troubles alums such as Blainefield who don’t want to see tradition crumble.

“We did not have a middle school team this season,” Blainefield said. “I strongly believe that a co-op is the next logical step. I have nothing planned for the near future (personally). I just want to take some time off to spend with family.”

Blainefield had a 14-17 record with two WPIAL Class A playoff appearances. The Greyhounds lost to Jeannette both times, 49-0 in the first round 2017 and 18-14 in the ‘18 quarterfinals — following a Tri-County South co-championship.

It’s worth mentioning standout quarterback Devin Whitlock, now a sophomore, transferred to Belle Vernon this year.

Monessen athletic director Gina Naccarato said the district will conduct a search for Blainefield’s replacement after the holidays.

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

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