In an email Monday, Tyrone Area School District Superintendent Cathy Harlow confirmed that the Board of Directors will vote on opening the head varsity football coaching position at Tuesday’s meeting.
The job has been held by Jason Wilson since 2014.
“We believe this is the best direction to take at this time,” Mrs. Harlow said.
Wilson took over the program five seasons ago after Steve Guthoff resigned following a two-year campaign. Wilson led the Golden Eagles to a 12-2 record in his first season, becoming the most successful rookie head coach in program history. His team won the District 6 2A championship before losing in the PIAA quarterfinals to Hickory.
The Eagles were just as strong in 2015, finishing 9-3 after bowing out of the District playoffs with a semifinals loss to Juniata, but the program has struggled since then, posting three consecutive losing seasons.
Tyrone opened 2016 4-2 before a 1-4 slide down the stretch, including a 24-17 loss to Bedford in the District semifinals, led to the program’s first losing season since 1992.
The Golden Eagles sputtered throughout the 2017 season, finishing 3-8, though still managing to make the 2A playoffs, where they lost to Central.
In 2018, the program seemed to be rejuvenated by a 4-0 start, but six straight losses to end the season shut Tyrone out of the postseason for the first time since 1994.
It’s possible that the board could vote not to open the position but Wilson seemed prepared for the job to come open when reached Monday night.
“It’s been a difficult couple of years in a tough conference,” he said. “I thought we always competed. We just couldn’t get over the hump the last couple of years in a few of our tough games.”
To Wilson’s point, several Mountain League teams that Tyrone dominated for years have had generational talents come through over the last two seasons. Bellefonte, a team Tyrone had beaten every season from 1993 through 2015, won a District championship in 2016. Bald Eagle Area, which hasn’t made much of an impact on the scholastic football scene since the 1990s, won a District championship last season, when the squad earned its first win over Tyrone since 1994.
Even Penns Vallley, which had never beaten Tyrone since the teams first met in 1999, toppled the Golden Eagles in 2018, a season when the Rams went 8-4 and qualified for the District 6 playoffs.
Wilson said no matter the vote he would like to stay involved in coaching high school football, though he may take some time to evaluate his options.
“I may even take a year off (if the position is opened) since I’ve been coaching right out of high school,” said Wilson, who graduated from Tyrone in 2004, winning a District title as a player in 2003. “Obviously, I’d like to be a head coach at my alma mater, but I still feel I have a long career ahead of me if I have an opportunity elsewhere.”
Wilson’s career record at Tyrone is 33-25.