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High school football notebook: Knoch, Monessen hire head coaches

Bill Hartlep
| Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, 4:06 p.m.

The South Butler School Board on Wednesday night hired Frank Whalen as head coach of the Knoch football team.

Whalen takes over for Mike King, who resigned after 19 seasons and a 86-103 record.

“I'm humbled to take over for my trusted friend, Mike King, and eager to work with the great kids at Knoch once again,” Whalen said.

Whalen, who was a Knoch assistant coach from 2008-14, spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Geneva College, where he was an all-conference nose guard from 1983-85. He was an NAIA All-American his senior season.

Whalen also has spent time as an assistant coach at Shippensburg, King George High School in Virginia, Stafford High School (Va.), Valley and Hempfield.

At Knoch, he was the defensive coordinator for five seasons, helping the Knights reach the WPIAL title game in 2011.

Monessen hires Blainefield

Monessen named Mikey Blainefield as its new football coach this week. He replaces Joe Salvino, who resigned after two seasons and a 6-13 record. Salvino also coaches the Greyhounds basketball team.

Blainefield is a 2004 Monessen graduate who went on to play at Georgetown. He has been an assistant coach the past six seasons at Monessen.

Connellsville opening

The Connellsville football program is looking for a head coach again after Tim Karpiak resigned this week after one season. Karpiak had replaced Dave McDonald last offseason after McDonald led the Falcons for five years.

Other WPIAL football programs with coaching vacancies include Brownsville, Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, Greensburg Central Catholic, Kiski Area, Mt. Pleasant, Springdale and Woodland Hills.

Big 33 under new management

The annual Big 33 Football Classic will have new leadership this spring after the Big 33 Foundation announced Wednesday it was dissolving, a few weeks after executive director Dave Trimbur died suddenly.

It will be run by the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association, which also oversees the annual East-West all-star game.

Plans are in place for the 60th annual Big 33 Football Classic to go on as planned. The game is scheduled for May 29 at Hersheypark Stadium.

The player nomination deadline was Monday. Teams are expected to be announced in early February.

Bill Hartlep is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at

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