(Editor’s note: This piece was first posted in June, a week after former Elco head coach Mark Evans resigned his post. On Monday, July 9, the Raiders hired Rob Miller as their new head football coach.)
BY JEFF FALK
MYERSTOWN – If the past has taught us anything about Eastern Lebanon County High School it’s that its administration is loyal and prefers its coaches teach within the school district. If indeed that is the case, then John Carley is the leading candidate for the Raiders’ vacant head football coaching position.
Carley, Elco’s defensive coordinator for the past decade, certainly has interest in the job vacated by former head coach Mark Evans’ departure to Manheim Township High School last month. On Monday, Carley confirmed that he had indeed applied for the job and that he has been scheduled for an interview with an Elco administration headed by athletic director Doug Bohannon.
The Elco school board is expected to act upon Bohannon’s recommendation at its July 9 meeting.
“It’s a great place to work,” said Carley. “I’m ecstatic to be here. There’s a lot of qualified people out there. Coach Bohannon has to do what he thinks is best for the school district and the kids. I’d be grateful for an opportunity to be part of the process.”
The timing of Evans’ leaving left very little time for Bohannon to fill the vacancy. Remember that the start of fall practice for the 2012 season is less than 45 days away.
And while Carley is the most qualified applicant from within the district, there is apparently a handful of good applicants who have shown interest in the position from outside of it.
“They got a number of qualified applicants,” reported Carley. “They’ve got a decision to make. I just hope I’m part of the process.”
After 14 seasons, Evans resigned his position to take a similar job at Class AAAA Manheim Township High School. During one of his exit interviews, Evans made it very clear as to whom he would like to see become Elco’s next head coach, stopping short of giving him his full endorsement.
“I hope I don’t give him the kiss of death by endorsing him,” said Evans of Carley. “But I hope he gets a chance to see what he can do. It’s my opinion, my humble opinion that he would make a very good head coach.”
“I was very happy with Mark,” said Carley. “We’ve worked very closely together over the last 13 years. That’s (going to Manheim Township) was he has to do. I wish him the best.”
When Carley first arrived in Myerstown he served as an assistant coach under Jim Weaver. He also served a similar role for Mark Kirk.
Carley then joined Evans’ staff, after he took over for Steve Oliver.
Carley has never been a head coach or even applied for a head coaching position.
“I’ve been an assistant for 20-21 years, under three different head coaches,” said Carley. “I feel like I’ve learned a little from each one of them. Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to put that to use.”
“I’ve seen a spring in his step,” said Evans of Carley. “I’ve seen an excitement in him. Absolutely he’s interested.”
Over the past 24 years, Carley has been a technical education teacher in the Elco school district. He has also held the titles of assistant head football coach, defensive coordinator and ‘Evans’ go-to coaching guy’.
“Whatever Mark needed from me is what I did,” said Carley. “Mark and I’s working relationship was really neat. He put faith in me and let me do my job.”
“John Carley has been my right-hand man,” said Evans. “He’s been a good friend and a great coach.”
Last year, Elco went 3-7 overall. But this season, the Raiders return eight starters on both sides of the ball.
“To be quite honest, I’m very passionate about the game of football,” said Carley. “And I’m passionate about the kids at Elco. This is where I want to be. I have a great repoire with the kids at Elco.”
“John’s a good competitor,” said Evans. “He’s very prepared. And he’s been a loyal servant to the district.”