NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT) – Blane Gold is a man who is always thinking of others before himself. This is true in all cases with those who are educators and coaches, but seriously, he is quick to credit nearly everyone else before himself.
(Photos by Ryan Kunselman)
The Franklin, Pennsylvania native graduated in 2007 and went on to play his college ball at Grove City College. With the Wolverines, he played defensive-end and learned many valuable football tactics, but the most important thing he learned was how to approach coaching football.
“I was fortunate to have some great coaches throughout my career, including Tiger LaVerde, Matt LaVerde, and Dave Smith. Each of them were fantastic high school coaches, and were the first ones to make me realize I wanted to coach football and become a teacher.
At Grove City, he was fortunate to play for a defensive line coach who changed his life by the name of Tom Wilson. “Coach Wilson treated each and every player the exact same. He invested the same energy into the starters as he did the last guy on the bench. I loved that approach, and I credit him for being the one who excited me most for my next chapter in football which was coaching.”
For a few years, Gold coached at Franklin and Oil City before landing a spot on the Redbank Valley Bulldogs Staff. A few years later, he became the head coach. The last 23 months have been incredible for Redbank Valley football as they have made two D9 title games, won one of those District 9 titles, and even won a state playoff game. Additionally, they almost secured a second state playoff game, but lost in a hard fought game with District 10 champion Reynolds.
Gold was named the District 9 Coach of the Year and the TCW/CE Coach of the Year as a result of his accomplishments.
When talking about his short run so far as Redbank Valley’s Head Football Coach, Gold talked a lot about the community, players, and his staff who have all played a tremendous part in his success. “It has been incredible how much support has been given to all of the sports teams, especially this year, by those in the community. Having three D9 champion teams in a small school is very impressive.”
Gold went on to compliment his players for staying locked in and motivated despite not knowing if there would be a season or games each week. “In July, we were not allowed on school property, but our guys were getting together four days a week still to condition and stay ready. That is a testament to our leadership and also the growth and strides our team has taken. This season meant a lot to them.”
While Gold’s Bulldogs fell in the D9 championship in 2019, they were a crew on a mission in 2020 with their eyes set on capturing the first D9 title for the program in 24 years. Despite some bumps in the road, including the entire line being in quarantine ahead of the rematch with Coudersport, the Bulldogs stayed locked in and focused. It took great weeks of practice for those both at home and who could practice in person in order to prepare for the triple option offense run well by the Falcons.
The Bulldogs also overcame adversity by starting two different quarterbacks late in the season, but they rallied behind each other and were able to win some games despite shifting players around and relying on the “next man up” mentality.
“Coming into this season, us coaches knew we could have something special if we were given the chance to play. We did great gameplanning, and the guys worked hard all season long. They did not want to experience that hurt again like they did in 2019.”
Going into 2021, Gold sees some viable opponents who could provide a challenge in the Bulldogs hopes to repeat as D9 champs. “Union/AC Valley, Smethport, Brockway, and Coudersport are all great programs with great athletes. We are going to get everyone’s best shot, but we have a great collection of guys coming back next season.”
Gold also gave a lot of credit to the coaches and coordinators who helped make this team a success the last two seasons. “It took everyone,” Gold said. “We shared responsibilities, and it has worked out in our favor. Having a collection of former college players also plays to our advantage.”
There are three main goals Gold has in his time as a small school football coach. “I want to build men of integrity, win D9 championships, and help athletes play college football. I think there is plenty of talent in D9 who does not realize they can play college football, and I want to help those guys have that change.”
Gold spoke about his number one mission as a football coach, building men of integrity, a little bit more. “It is not something that stops. It is something they must continue their whole life.” A goal like this for a small school football coach is refreshing to hear because truly, few in these small areas are going to play big time football.
Gold is a high school social studies teacher at Redbank Valley High School, and admits this year has been interesting as an educator to put it mildly. He acknowledged the tremendous job his colleagues have also done teaching in person and remote, and is thankful to be at a school district like Redbank with top notch educators who care about the level of education the students receive.
Next month will mark two years for Blane Gold as a head football coach, and the impact he has made in his short time is undeniable. He is building something bigger than football, and his presence in New Bethlehem have been key for the school and football program.