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Namey shows the true spirit of a champion DAVE KONOPKI OPINION

Mike Namey’s coaching career won’t come to a conclusion with a Hollywood ending.

The longtime Meyers football coach won’t be carried off the field at Hersheypark Stadium in December with a state championship trophy in his hands.

In fact, if this is indeed Namey’s final season on the sidelines, his coaching career will come to an end following his most difficult season in the past 17 years.

And there’s nothing the classy coach could have done to prevent it.

The Mohawks entered the season with a combined 20 starters returning on offense and defense – and with high expectations. Namey and the Mohawks counted on making a run at the District 2 Class A championship.

They didn’t count on the injuries.

Six different starters have seen their season come to an abrupt end with an injury – everything from ACL tears to a broken elbow to torn ankle ligaments. In addition to those injuries, four other Mohawks have missed at least one or two games with injuries.

And this week, the flu has paid a visit.

“I’ve never had a season like this,” said Namey, who took over the program in 1992. “It’s been a very difficult year. Things have happened that are out of our control. Our kids really worked hard during the off-season, only to see that shattered to a degree.”

The 44-year-old Namey was named the school’s athletic director in June. The Wilkes-Barre Area School District policy prohibits athletic directors from serving as coaches but if an active coach takes over the duties as AD, the district usually gives him an opportunity for one final season.

“I’m treating it like this is my last season,” said Namey, who has 79 career wins. “I have to. I need to prepare myself personally and for the person who eventually becomes the next coach.”

The Meyers football program has been a large part of Namey’s life for more than three decades. He served as a ball boy for a few seasons before joining the Mohawks as a player in 1979. Namey was an assistant coach under legendary head coach Mickey Gorham before taking over the reins in 1992.

There have been a few tough years, but there’s also been a lot of success. The Mohawks won three consecutive Wyoming Valley Conference division championships from 2001-03, as well as a District 2 Class 2A title in 2001.

Despite its 3-4 record, Meyers will qualify for the postseason for the ninth consecutive year.

Even more important, under Namey’s guidance 16 Mohawks earned a full athletic scholarship to Division I or I-AA programs. At least another two dozen other players went on to play at Division II or III schools.

With all of the challenges facing the Mohawks, Namey might be doing his best coaching job this season. And it has nothing to do with wins and losses.

“This is the best classroom a young man can enter,” said Namey. “You’re going to have adversity in life. Things aren’t always going to go the way you hoped it would. I think some of the things we’re going through will help prepare these kids for life experiences. And that’s where they really need to succeed, in life.”

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