BY JEFF FALK
It might be intentional. It could be coincidental. Or perhaps it’s just the natural course of things.
But at no time in the past has the Lebanon Valley College football program featured as many coaches with ties to Lebanon County as it does right now.
LVC is more than a staple in Lebanon County, it’s a contributing part of the community and culture. And as such, the importance of local football is reflected – and reflective – at the Annville campus.
“As I look at it, it looks like you’re right,” said Jim Monos, the Flying Dutchmen’s 23-year head coach and a native of Shippensburg. “Some were guys who coached at the high school level, or were guys who wanted to take the next step. We benefit because they work awfully hard to achieve that. As a coach, I want to help them progress. But I was told when I was young, ‘You don’t take a job to get another job. That’s a mistake’.
“What I’ve got, whether intentional or not, is a nice blend,” continued Monos. “I’ve got a group of seasoned guys, and a group of younger coaches with passion. From a realistic standpoint, to put a staff together, you’ve got to get guys who are local and who can get here.”
By one count, the Lebanon Valley College football program currently staffs nine coaches with ties to Lebanon County – who are either originlly from the locale, coached here previously, or both. The Flying Dutchmen staff also features three former head coaches of Lebanon County scholastic programs – Jack Beidler, Bill Giovino and Joe Buehler.
Another common denominator is that many of Lebanon Valley’s coaches are LVC graduates. In some places, that’s known as loyalty.
The Flying Dutchmen are currently 4-4 overall and 4-3 in the Middle Atlantic Conference.
‘First of all, if I know someone already, that to me is an advantage,” said Monos. “I’ve got seven young men who played for me at Lebanon Valley College, so I know those guys already.
‘The second thing is I’ve got four former head high school coaches,” added Monos. “Two of the three coordinators were both head high school coaches. Now there’s a difference between high school and college, but they know what it’s like to be a head coach.”
Buehler, Palmyra’s head football coach from 1996-2000, has been the Flying Dutchmen’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach for the past 12 seasons.
Buehler has all the makings of a future college head coach. All that is required is a desire to do so and an opportunity.
“When we watch film, it takes me a while to know what an opponent is doing,” said Monos. “The majority of the time, Joe knows it right away. What he’s done with the offense, he’s taken it to another level. And the players have bought into it. We’re simple, but yet we’re complex. The players love it. They know there’s an advantage to it. That’s why I think we’ve done so well with it.
“He’s a very bright young man. He’s got us headed in the right direction,” Monos continued. “But I think I’ve got two guys like that. Both Joe and Vince (defensive coordinator, Pantalone) would be outstanding head coaches. They’re both really solid leaders. Joe is also our recruiting coordinator, and he gets it. He knows what kind of kids we need here. There’s no question in my mind that he’d be an outstanding head coach at the college level.”
Beidler, who has worked with inside linebackers during his seven seasons as a defensive assistant, was the head coach at Northern Lebanon for 11 years. Giovino, a 1988 graduate of Lebanon Valley, head coached at Lebanon High from 1999-2005 and is now assisting with the defense.
In his eighth season of coaching the Flying Dutchmen defensive secondary, Corey Wenger graduated from Elco, where he starred as a wide receiver and defensive back in the early 1990s. Currently mentoring LVC running backs and kickers, Matt Gross has held assistant coaching positions at Lebanon High, Cedar Crest and Elco.
“They’re teachers of the game,” said Monos. “You get all kinds of guys. But if you have guys who scream and holler all the time, they don’t know how to teach. I learned that at a young age, as an assistant coach.
“We have that combination with seasoned guys, and bringing young guys into the fold,” added Monos. “Disagreements that occur, occur behind closed doors, and when we come out, we’re on the same page. Every year we sit down and talk about that. I don’t see everything. There may be things going on that I’m not aware of. But their connections with players, they get to know them as human beings. Players don’t care how much you know. They want to know how much you care.”
Andrew Hurst and Tyler George are former Annville-Cleona and Elco stars, respectively, who went on to play football at Lebanon Valley, and are now coaching there. A former assistant coach at Lebanon High, Frank Isenberg is in his first season of coaching the offensive line at ‘The Valley’, and Mark Costello, who’s been a part of the Flying Dutchmen program for 12 seasons, is a graduate of Palmyra.
“Some people have accused me of being a control freak,” said Monos. “I feel I’m somewhere in between being a hands-on guy and a delegator. I really have delegated more responsibility this time around. I’ve learned a few things. I’ve learned from experience.
“If I have someone recommended to me, then I want to meet that person,” continued Monos. “I feel like there’s a risk factor involved if I don’t know them. In terms of qualifications, loyalty is big. I can teach them what I want them to do, but they’ve got to be with me. Some of the young guys I’ve hired have grown already. If there’s ambition involved, that’s a good thing. They love coaching and want to be a part of a good program. And if the program is successful, they can benefit.”
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2015 Lebanon Valley College Football Results
|9/3/2015||Franklin & Marshall College||Annville, Pa.||L 37-42|
|9/12/2015||*||Misericordia University||Dallas, Pa.||W 37-7|
|Coach To Cure MD Game|
|9/19/2015||*||Stevenson University||Annville, Pa.||L 14-17|
|9/25/2015||*||Widener University||Chester, Pa.||L 17-27|
|10/3/2015||*||Lycoming College||Annville, Pa.||W 41-38 (OT)|
|10/10/2015||*||FDU-Florham||Annville, Pa.||W 56-14|
|10/24/2015||*||Wilkes University||Edwardsville, Pa.||W 48-17|
|10/31/2015||*||No. 24 Delaware Valley University||Doylestown, Pa.||L 21-28|
|11/7/2015||*||King’s College||Annville, Pa.||1 p.m.|
|11/14/2015||*||Albright College||Reading, Pa.||1 p.m.|