The Funding Zone Scoreboard


Written by: on Tuesday, February 12th, 2019


John Franco was Tyrone’s football coach from 1994 through 2011.

Written by Kerry Naylor

**Note, this was written yesterday. Tonight the Tyrone School Board voted to hire John Franco as the Head Coach.”

Officially, John Franco ended his relationship with the Tyrone football program seven years ago in 2012.

Technically, he never left.

If you ask the coach who led Tyrone during the most successful run of its nearly 100-year history, there was always a piece of him in Tyrone, even when he was coaching somewhere else.

“It’s where my heart always was,” Franco said Monday night, just a day before he was set to be voted in as the Golden Eagles new football coach, a position he held previously from 1994 through 2011.

The Tyrone Area School Board released the agenda for its February 12 meeting on the district website Monday, and listed on the docket was approving Franco to replace Jason Wilson, whose position was opened last month.

“The decision to hire Coach Franco was based on his prior coaching experience and ability to build a competitive football program,” said Tyrone Area Superintendent Cathy Harlow on Tuesday. “We are excited to have coach Franco return to Tyrone.”

Wilson had taken over as head coach in 2014, replacing Franco successor Steve Guthoff, and his first two years were an undeniable success. The Eagles won the District 6 2A championship in 2014, making Wilson only the second rookie head coach in program history to win a District crown, but the program began to slide two years later. From 2016 through 2018 Tyrone posted three straight losing seasons, culminating in a six-game slide to end 2018 on the outside of the District playoffs.

It was the first time the Eagles failed to make the postseason since 1994.

That prompted to Board to begin looking for new coaching candidates, and Franco, who had coached at Penn Cambria since 2017, was at the top of the list.

“I’ve missed Tyrone football since the day I left,” Franco said. “When I left it was purely for financial reasons. I may not have liked it, but it was something I had to do. It was nobody’s fault, and I always continued to follow Tyrone football, regardless, and I kept in touch with most of the coaches. I’ve been away, but not that far away, and I’m happy to be back.”

When Franco left in 2012, it was on the heels of one of his most successful seasons. In 2011, Tyrone went 14-2 and played in the PIAA 2A championship game, but as a teacher in the Altoona Area School District he could do more to contribute to his retirement pension by coaching at Altoona, where he had been the head coach from 1986-1993, going 40-45-2.

In his four-year return to Altoona from 2012-2015, the Mountain Lions went 17-23 while competing in the WPIAL.

After leaving Altoona, Franco worked on the staff of Steve Guthoff at St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy before taking over at Penn Cambria in 2017.

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