For nearly three decades, Nanticoke boys soccer hasn’t had a head coach besides Mark Matusek.
That will come to an end for the upcoming season as Matusek, the longest-tenured coach in the Wyoming Valley Conference, informed Nanticoke Area athletic director Ken Bartuska that he would not be returning for his 30th season as head coach of the Trojans.
Matusek, who couldn’t be immediately reached for comment on Thursday, piled up more than 250 wins since the program’s inception in 1989.
Matusek racked up several division titles in his 29 seasons, with Meyers being runner-up to the Trojans on a few occasions, and the Mohawks getting the best of Matusek a few times as well.
“Any time you have a coach with that kind of tenure, you have a great coach,” said Meyers coach Jack Nolan, now the longest-tenured coach in Division 2 of the Wyoming Valley Conference. “Any time you have a coach that’s been around a long time, he gets the best out of his kids.
“I was actually a little upset because they are going up to Triple-A this year and up to Division 1, and we wouldn’t get to play them. … Him leaving is going to be a big loss for the league and the program and the sport.”
Even when the Trojans didn’t have a division-winning team on the field, Matusek’s teams were always tough to beat.
Just a few years ago in 2016, the team finished with just seven wins in the regular season but managed to win two matches as the No. 9 seed in the District 2 Class 2A Tournament. That included ousting top-seeded Blue Ridge to reach the semifinals before losing a one-goal game to Wyoming Seminary.
“We all have those couple years when we’re rebuilding and you know it’s going to be a struggle, but Mark was always competitive,” Nolan said. “And you always had to have your team prepared because you knew it was going to be a tough game.
“That’s a testament to Mark and his knowledge of the sport and how much he gets out of the kids. He’s put a lot of time and effort into it and deserves all the accolades he’s received, and the time off in his retirement.”
The Nanticoke Area athletic department is currently accepting applications for the open position until May 22.
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