Monessen native Mikey Blainefield was hired Tuesday night to take over his alma mater’s football team.
Blainefield was hired as Monessen High School’s head coach, succeeding Joe Salvino, who resigned in November after two seasons that produced a 6-13 record, including 1-9 this past season.
“For me, it’s fulfilling a legacy,” Blainefield said. “I have a deep affinity for the game of football and particularly this program.
“I feel that with my experience and knowledge of the game coupled with my philosophies, I truly believe that I have something to share.”
A 2004 Monessen graduate, Blainefield was a four-year starter for the Greyhounds and a two-year All-Tri-County South selection.
A standout wide receiver and defensive back, Blainefield helped lead Monessen to the top ranking in the state his senior year before the Greyhounds lost in the WPIAL quarterfinals to Springdale.
Blainefield continued his playing career at Georgetown University, where he earned a degree in Healthcare Management and Policy in 2009.
During his senior year at Monessen, Blainefield was recruited by then-Georgetown assistant coach and current Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead.
While at Georgetown, Blainefield saw the field in all three phases of the game: offense, defense and special teams.
“I was primarily a defensive back and on special teams,” he said. “Occasionally, I took snaps on offense at the H-Back position.”
After graduating, Blainefield returned to Monessen and began coaching at the midget league level and progressed from there. He was on Andy Pacak’s coaching staff for four years and on Salvino’s staff the last two seasons.
Monessen is coming off of its worst year in program history as it went 1-9 overall and 1-6 in the Tri-County South. The Greyhounds’ lone victory was 40-7 at Jefferson-Morgan Sept. 9. The Greyhounds have missed the WPIAL Class A playoffs in each of the last three seasons, which is unheard of in tradition-rich Monessen.
Over the last three seasons, the Greyhounds have only won 10 games on the field but it had to forfeit four wins in 2014 for using ineligible players.
Blainefield was Monessen’s offensive coordinator last season, when the Greyhounds averaged 18.1 points per game. He knows his role will change, as will the public perception.
“I think becoming a head coach is something that any coach with a love for the game aspires for,” he said. “You are relieved of some limitations in exchange for a larger responsibility.”
When Salvino resigned, Blainefield took over Monessen’s offseason weightlifting and training duties.
“We started right after Halloween,” he said. “And we have been nonstop.”
Blainefield said his main goals for the Greyhounds have more to do with life skills than wins and losses.
“My goals as coach are to ensure that our athletes acquire and develop the attributes that can make them successful on the football field,” he said. “And I believe wholeheartedly that those same attributes will make them successful in life.”