The St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy football program has new leadership, and it comes with a long history of success.
Steve Guthoff was named the Wolves’ new head football coach, the school announced Friday afternoon, and John Franco also has been named to the staff.
“We are pleased to welcome both Steve Guthoff and John Franco to the Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy community as our new varsity football coaches,” principal Chris Chirieleison said in a statement from the school. “These gentlemen have worked quite well together in the past, and we are excited that the future of our football program is in their capable hands. I know first-hand how beneficial it can be to reunite with a mentor when assuming a new leadership role, and I am confident that coach Guthoff will make the most of this opportunity to do so with his mentor, coach Franco.”
The pair bring over 60 years of coaching experience. Both join St. Joseph’s after working together at Altoona. Franco resigned in February after posting a 17-22 record over four seasons as the Mountain Lions’ head coach, including a 3-6 record last fall.
Franco has been a head coach for 31 of his 38 years on the football sideline. He also was the coach at Altoona earlier in his career, totaling 12 seasons there. He had his greatest success at Tyrone, leading the Eagles to the PIAA Class AA finals three times, the last appearance in his last season there in 2011, and winning the state crown in 1999.
Franco also was inducted into the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2009.
Guthoff was an assistant with Franco not only at Altoona but also at Tyrone, and took over the Eagles program for two seasons after Franco returned to Altoona. He has worked at a number of high school and college programs since he was first on the sideline at Holy Cross High School in 1985, including leading the Bellefonte program for two years in the late 1990s.
“It’s time for the Wolves to take the next step by fielding a competitive team and winning football games,” Guthoff said in a statement. “The goal of the football program at Saint Joe’s is to win state championships.”
Guthoff is also a guidance counselor at State College Area High School.
Both coaches attended Catholic schools growing up, and Franco also coached at Bishop Guilfoyle in Altoona, part of the same Archdiocese as St. Joseph’s.
“We are fully committed, without exception, to building a football program consistent with the four pillars of faith, scholarship, leadership and service,” Guthoff said. “These are values unique to Saint Joe’s, and they provide a framework for success that extends far beyond victories on the football field.”
Guthoff replaces Dave Carson, who stepped down after leading the team to a 2-7 record last season, his third at the helm for a school that opened its doors in 2011.
St. Joe’s athletic director Chad Walsh is optimistic about the program’s future.
“I know that the focus will be on developing fundamentals,” Walsh said, “and am confident that our families will appreciate the approach that these two veteran coaches will bring to the varsity football program.”