Oneonta High School football is about to find itself under new leadership.
Coach John Mushtare announced Saturday, Nov. 9, at the team’s postseason banquet he would not be returning for an eighth season in 2020.
“It was a good time for me personally and professionally, and it was easy to make this move in terms of knowing the program is going to be in great hands because of the talented coaches in the program and talented players in the pipeline,” Mushtare said.
“I didn’t want the program waiting around to see what I would do next fall. I thought it was best that we get the news out to players and parents so the school could take the next step early.”
Mushtare said he was finishing his administrative education and would be applying to school administrator positions.
Oneonta High School Athletic Director Jerry Mackey said he had spoken with Mushtare about his decision, but had not received an official letter of resignation. The resignation cannot be made official until approved by the school board in early December.
“There’s never a good time because you’re always invested in kids, but they have good numbers on modified and junior varsity, and varsity was a lot of underclassmen,” Mackey said. “You want whoever is going to take over to have a fighting chance.
“I think he is doing the honorable thing to give that to the kids and the next coaching staff.”
The 2019 team featured four seniors on a roster of 31, and finished the season at 2-7.
Mushtare’s teams finished with a cumulative record of 18-47. His first three seasons produced a 4-23 record, but the 2016 team (3-6) earned the program’s first playoff appearance since 2009, and the 2017 team reached the playoffs again with a 6-4 mark.
“It’s a bittersweet decision because even though it’s the right time, I’m going to miss those guys, the coaches and the players. It’ll be a sad day to see them out there without me with them,” Mushtare said. “I know that Oneonta football is going to improve and get better every year. The culture is a good one at this point and the kids there want to be there and improve and get better.”
Potential candidates have not yet been announced.