MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 19, 2014

Roughers coach moving on: Coach tells players in Saturday meeting he’s TU-bound

By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor

— Muskogee head football coach Josh Blankenship told his players Saturday that he is stepping down after three seasons, and it’s apparent his next landing will be at the collegiate level.

Reports began circulating Friday that he was on the verge of taking a position on his father’s staff at the University of Tulsa. Those reports are not yet confirmed, but at least one player confirmed that in a players meeting on Saturday, he indicated that’s where he will wind up.

Adonis Talbert, a junior receiver, said Blankenship met with the team about 2 p.m. Saturday.

“It was depressing, especially for those who were closer to him more so than others,” he said.

Joshua Medrano, another player and son of offensive coordinator and line coach Jason Medrano, said about “half the team, maybe 20 or so” responded to a “group message” sent Friday via text to meet at the Indian Bowl fieldhouse on Saturday.

“He told us he was going to work with his dad. He didn’t say exactly what,” Medrano said. “We were a little surprised. I think most of us thought he’d stay a couple more years with the split of 6A but he’s moving on and I hope he does well at TU. He said the program here was respected around the state and we’d get a good coach.”

Attempts to reach Blankenship by phone calls and text messages have been unsuccessful since rumors began surfacing from a University of Tulsa Internet discussion board page on Friday.  When asked about the rumors in a text message Friday morning, Blankenship initially responded by text to the Phoenix  that “My phone has exploded.”  Asked again in text if that meant yes or no, he did not respond.

The Muskogee program is scheduled to have a football banquet on Sunday afternoon at Bedouin Shrine Temple after the initial date was postponed due to bad weather.

Last week, Tulsa head coach Bill Blankenship said offensive coordinator Greg Peterson would not return. KYAL 97.1 aired repeated reports Friday that the vacancy could open the door for the younger Blankenship, who played for his father at Union and later had a stint as a quarterback at Tulsa before finishing his collegiate career at Eastern Washington. He then was an assistant coach on his dad’s staffs prior to his leaving Union for TU.

Josh Blankenship came to Muskogee after serving as Union offensive coordinator from 2008-10 under Kirk Fridrich. His best year was his first, going 4-6. He was 1-8 in 2012 and 3-7 in 2013, though finishing with back-to-back wins including a victory over Bixby that knocked the Spartans out of the fourth and final playoff spot in District 6A-2.

Mike Garde, Muskogee superintendent, did not immediately return calls. Garde said Friday that he had not heard anything from Blankenship. There is a regular board meeting set for Tuesday, at which time a resignation could be accepted.