NEW BETHLEHEM — Redbank Valley High School didn’t look far to replace their longtime head football coach Monday night.
In a unanimous vote by the School Board of Directors, previous assistant coach and high school social studies teacher Blane Gold was hired to step into the spot vacated by Ed Wasilowski, who resigned following this past season.
Gold is a 2007 Franklin graduate who attended Grove City College and graduated in December of 2012. He landed at Redbank Valley in October of 2013, joined the program in 2014 and coached on the junior varsity staff along as the offensive and defensive line coach.
“Growing up playing football, I had the neat opportunity to play with someone who went to go on to play in the NFL (Nate Byham) and ever since then, I’ve wanted to teach, live and be a head coach in a community and not many can say that at age 29,” said Gold.
Gold slides into a position held by Wasilowski for quite awhile. The transition should be smooth as he indicated that longtime assistants Jason and Mike Kundick will return to the staff. The rest of the staff will be completed in the coming months.
He’s looking to build on what’s been already established at Redbank Valley.
“One thing that’s enticing at Redbank Valley is the history,” Gold said. “We’ve had a winning record every year (since 2013). That’s very consistent and for a single A school to have 35 kids on the roster is a luxury.
“For me as a young coach, it’s a great program to start with. Because of what Waz has done, there’s a consistency and tradition and ability to build on those things and take it further. We’ve won two conference championships in the last four years, but the one thing eluding us is success in the playoffs.”
The Bulldogs last reached the district final in 2013 when they ran into a buzz-saw Clarion team. The last D9 title for the Bulldogs was 1996.
Gold was a defensive end and long-snapper at Grove City under head coach Chris Smith, finishing his career there mostly as a special-teamer after working through a knee injury.
He calls former GCC assistant coach Tom Wilson a mentor who taught him valuable lessons.
“He taught me that as a coach he wanted every single guy saying at the end of the season that it was worth his time,” Gold said. “If kids want to play in college, they need to get there, use their athletic ability, but most importantly become men of integrity in whatever they go into professionally. Sports taught me a lot.”
Gold’s first coaching job out of college was at Oil City for two seasons under Matt LaVerde before going back to Franklin for the 2013 season under Tom Haines. He was hired to teach at Redbank Valley that fall then eventually shifted his coaching career to where he now teaches.
The Bulldogs were 7-4 last year, losing to eventual champion Coudersport, 52-7, in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs. While they’ll lose some key players to graduation, Gold likes the mix they’ll have back next fall.
“We’re really excited of personnel ... we have most of our offensive line back and to be honest, we’ll probably be in our last year in Class A, so there’s sense of urgency, getting back and being competitive in the playoffs. The only way for that to happen is to get better so we can hang up a banner for that district championship. With the guys coming back, and I think we’re the biggest Class A team in D9. We’ll take that and pursue that.”
Gold is the 11th different coach for the Bulldogs since the jointure began in 1950.