, Muskogee, OK

January 18, 2014

Future of Roughers’ football coach hits rumor mill

By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor

— “My phone has exploded.”

That was Josh Blankenship’s text back to me Friday morning when social media reports began surfacing that the Muskogee High head football coach was leaving for the University of Tulsa to join his father Bill’s staff, some saying as an offensive coordinator, others as quarterback coach, and yet others a hybrid mix of the two.

This has happened before, the first time before he even coached a down at Muskogee. Anytime there’s been an offensive opening, it happens.

And before, there was always a denial forthcoming, a sometimes-tired denial, and a reaffirmation of a “call” to this job.

Friday’s response was vague. Exploded phones, I responded, doesn’t indicate a yes or a no. How about some clarification, coach?

No answer, by text or by ring.

Which, said one caller to me who happens to be a Blankenship supporter, is the scary part – just as the program seemed to turn a corner last fall on the eve of a division of Class 6A by enrollment, separating Muskogee from the Unions and Jenkses in coming years.

The only official comment coming from Hurricane Nation was SID Don Tomkalski’s, who said Blankenship has not been hired. Offensive coordinator/wide receiver coach Greg Peterson, it was announced Thursday, will not return next year. There is, therefore, a position on staff that Blankenship would seem to be fit for, not to mention the inside connections. But Tomkalski said, all the focus this weekend is on recruiting functions.

Another area writer tweeted that “it could happen soon.” Radio shows were reporting an “open door” for son to join father. Equal Opportunity Employment being what it is, I don’t think that door is as wide for the rest of us, if you get my drift.

Muskogee superintendent Mike Garde, in Tulsa for business on Friday, said he had not heard a thing.

Could there be something in the works? Yes. Specifics on such matters take time to hammer out.

Could this all be social media–induced frenzy? Yes. Maybe Josh’s phone really did explode.

What is known, or isn’t, is a yes or no from Blankenship himself. When, in the past, it’s come rather rapidly.

Should he depart, it widens the vacuum initially created by the vacant athletic director spot. Blankenship had been assisting in those duties.

Muskogee’s football banquet, postponed by weather the first time, is Sunday. If there’s going to be a time to assure his kids, or say farewell, that gathering would seem logical.

Stay tuned.