Dwayne Downing can envision himself returning as a head high school football coach someday.
But for now, family priorities have taken him out of the Wyoming Valley Conference coaching ranks.
Downing ended his five years as Bishop Hoban’s head coach earlier this week by accepting an assistant coaching position at King’s College. He will work with the defensive backs.
“With my kids going to school, I don’t know if I will have the time to do everything it takes to be a head coach,” Downing said. “I love football and I see this as an opportunity to stay engaged, learn a little bit and help King’s out.”
Downing’s son, Kyle Flemings, will graduate from Hoban this year and play football at the University of New Hampshire this fall. His daughter, Allie Downing, will also graduate from Hoban and play volleyball at Susquehanna University.
Downing was an assistant for one year at Hoban under Greg Skrepenak before becoming head coach in 2002. Although his career record was 25-24, the former Penn State defensive back was instrumental in building a program that was struggling just to field a team into a District 2 Class 2A playoff squad in 2004.
The Argents finished 3-7 in 2006.
Hoban will merge with three other Catholic schools in Luzerne County and become Holy Redeemer. Downing said he considered applying for the Holy Redeemer position.
“I wasn’t absolutely sure about staying at Holy Reedemer,” Downing said. “I just reached out and tried to get better in the offseason, and I went down to watch King’s a little bit (in spring practice). While I was there, coach (Rich) Mannello said there might be an opportunity. We kind of talked about it, and it just made sense.”
Downing had resigned as Hoban’s coach after the 2005 season, but decided to return. His best season with the Argents was 2004, when they went 9-0 in the regular season before losing 23-6 to Dunmore in the district playoffs.
“Obviously, I loved being a head coach, so yeah I’d love to get back,” Downing said. “And I think I will someday. I’d certainly like to be a head coach again, but I don’t want to shortchange anybody. I want to fully commit, do a good job and be proud of the job I did.”
Downing will be the fourth former WVC head coach on Mannello’s staff. The others are Jan Cechak (Tunkhannock 1999-2001), Rich Gorgone (Lake-Lehman 1981-1999) and Tom Oldziejewski (Tunkhannock 1983-1995).