OPINION: John Banaszak’s contract extension is the right move, for now


Collin Wilson

Robert Morris University’s head football coach John Banaszak signed a one-year contract extension last Friday. Banaszak was set to conclude his last season of his three-year contract.

With the extension, Banaszak will seek a turnaround from a career 7-24 record as head coach of the Colonials. Coming off the first conference victory of the 2016 season — where the Colonials managed to continue their defensive tear — Robert Morris picked off two Central Connecticut State throws, returning one for a touchdown, and added three sacks to the mix.

Craig Coleman, M.D., RMU’s director of athletics, must admire the tenacity Banaszak brings to the defense and special teams, which have been the strengths of the Colonials throughout his tenure.

Sophomore wide receiver, and special teams star, Dante Satcher ranks second in the nation in return yardage with 43.1 yards per return. Banaszak has taken over Satcher’s unit for the Colonials and has done wonders in adding new weapons that may be lacking elsewhere.

The loss of key players and injuries have plagued Robert Morris’ offense this season and in seasons past. With offensive coordinator Mike Miller concluding his first season as coach, the RMU athletic department feels there is an improvement in the making.

The top four all-purpose leaders in yardage for this squad are Satcher, Malik Wells, Warren Robinson and Tim Vecchio. Satcher, Wells and Robinson are each sophomores, while Vecchio, who leads RMU in receiving, is a freshman.

Banaszak will return a lot of young, but experienced, talent, and if sophomore quarterback Matthew Barr can stay healthy, Robert Morris will see a familiar starting core for the first time in years.

Was this the right move?

Only time will tell whether or not Banaszak was the reason behind the Colonials’ mediocrity, but record wise, the signs do not show very much promise.

Yes, injuries have been unfortunate to say the least, and players such as All-NEC receiver Kyle Buss and running back Rameses Owens have not seen the field in quite some time.

If the athletic department feels Banaszak needs another year to grow with players who have shown promise this season, then the 2017 campaign should be intriguing. Miller and longtime defensive coordinator Scott Farison are expected to return.

The extension put a halt to the questions of moving on from Banaszak, but if the Colonials do not show a change early next season, do not expect to see the front office to look the same for much longer.