UL football coaching situation uncertain

MORRISTOWN – Mark Cisar’s Union Local Jets have only won two of their last 30 football games, but players speaking out Tuesday said final scores and playoff appearances are not the only measures of success.

“I don’t think you should base someone’s job just on wins and losses at the high school level,” said senior linebacker Brandon Winesickle while addressing members of the Union Local Board of Education during the Tuesday special meeting.

“He is a good role model,” Winesickle said of Cisar.

Cisar, a star quarterback for the Magnolia Blue Eagles in the early 1990s, did not attend the meeting. He recently turned in his resignation after he said some school board members told him they did not want him to return next season.

Since assuming control at UL in 2006, Cisar has taken the Jets to their only two playoff appearances in school history. This included a playoff victory against the rival St. Clairsville Red Devils in 2008.

However, since defeating the Red Devils again in 2009 during the final Belmont County “Fair Game,” Cisar’s Jets have tasted victory a grand total of five times.

Board President Ed Stenger emphasized Tuesday that board members had made no decision on Cisar’s future as the head football coach. Superintendent Kirk Glasgow said board members would likely make a decision on Cisar’s status during the next regular meeting, which is set for 6 p.m., Dec. 20 at the high school.

Junior defensive back Travis James joined Winesickle to tell board members to consider more than the records.

“You guys need to listen to us more than to others,” he said.

Zack Palmer, a 2012 graduate who played running back for the Jets during his time in the program, passionately spoke out for the coach.

“Mark Cisar cares about us. He offered me a place to stay when things were going wrong at home,” Palmer said.

Cyle Cole, an assistant coach under Cisar, asked board members to consider the personnel the Jets had this year, noting that very few seniors were available to the team. Throughout the season, the Jets had several freshmen and sophomores in the game to scrimmage against more mature opponents.

“Mark Cisar is a good man. I doubt you will find a better one,” Cole said.

During a recent school board meeting, the board approved Cisar to replace Rich Mercer as the Jets’ baseball coach. Tuesday, Mercer, a former assistant football coach at the school, said whoever the board hires to coach the football team needs more support.

“Things are not going to get better here by just showing up in August with your red and white on,” he said in reference to the school’s colors. “You need to develop a program. You need to get in the weight room.”