The vacancies in the Wyoming Valley Conference football continued to grow as Lake-Lehman’s Carl Kern became the fifth head coach resign.
Kern, who coached the Black Knights the past four years, cited a lack of commitment from his players in the offseason as a main factor. Kern is the fifth WVC coach to resign since the end of the season, but isn’t against coaching elsewhere.
“If the right thing comes around or interests me, sure I’d like to stay around,” Kern said.
Kern thought he had the idea situation at Lehman, his alma mater. The Black Knights finished 0-10 in his first season, but 2-8 in his second and lost two games by three points or less.
Kern saw those players dedicate themselves in the offseason, resulting in a 9-2 finish in 2008 and a District 2 Class 2A playoff berth, the program’s first postseason game since 1997.
“We thought after that, the kids would see if you work hard you will reap the benefits,” Kern said.
But once those players graduated, Kern said the others didn’t inherit the same work ethic. The team finished second in a passing competition in the Lehigh Valley in the summer of 2008, but Kern couldn’t get enough players to attend this year’s event.
“There are a handful of kids in the weightroom up here right now,” Kern said. “There are five of them, but five isn’t enough. And they’re good kids. Even the kids that aren’t in the weightroom are good kids, but I just can’t convince them there’s a little bit more they need to do.
“No matter what I say to them, no matter how I talk to them, they don’t believe in it.”
The affable Kern described himself as an old school coach who learned from two of the biggest legends in the game. He played at Lehman under George Curry and then at Ohio State from 1970-1973 under Woody Hayes.
“The coaches I played for and been around, they knew there was no easy way,” Kern said. “It took hard work and commitment.”
Kern compiled a 15-26 record at Lehman. He said this past season was disappointing. He believed the Black Knights could finish 6-4 – possibly even 7-3 – and no worse than 5-5. Instead, the team ended up 4-6.
Four other schools are also looking for head coaches.
Nanticoke’s Lou Cella resigned prior to his team’s season finale due to health reasons. He missed the entire season after suffering a heart attack in August.
GAR’s Tony Khalife and Meyers’ Mike Namey resigned after accepting administrative positions in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District. The school district prohibits administrators from coaching.
Hazleton Area’s Rocco Petrone also resigned to concentrate on his duties as the high school principal, a position he accepted prior to this season.