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Mars opening up longtime grid coach Heinauer's position

Mars head football coach Scott Heinauer, right, gets congratulations from assistant coach Dave Mayer after his 200th win with the Planets against Greensburg Salem in 2020.

ADAMS TWP — Mars Area High School athletic director Scott Heinauer has been the Planets' head football coach since 1992.

Whether he returns for a 31st season in the fall is now in question.

The Mars school board has elected to open up the school's football head coaching position and will likely do so at Tuesday's board meeting.

“Our superintendent (Mark Gross) told me Friday this was going on,” Heinauer, 61, said. “I don't know much beyond that. I wasn't given any reason for it. All I know is I was told I can reapply and I plan on reapplying.”

The Planets are coming off a 2-8 season in 2021. That ended a run of 16 consecutive WPIAL playoff appearances by the program under Heinauer's guidance. Mars had been to the playoffs 19 times in 20 years under him and had two appearances in the WPIAL championship game.

Heinauer's overall record at Mars is 203 wins and 118 losses. He is one of 33 WPIAL coaches with 200 career wins.

He figures on remaining the school's athletic director.

“They're going to come up with a new contract for the athletic director in February,” Heinauer said. He added this is the first time in 30 years the head football coaching position has been open.

“I have no idea what this process is going to look like,” he said of the upcoming coaching search. “I'm curious to see the posting when it goes up. I have no clue what they're going to do.

“My plan was to coach a little while longer and develop some sort of plan for someone to take it over. I'd be happy to formulate some type of exit plan for myself, if that's what the (board) wants to do. I would love to do that.”

Heinauer admitted to being “totally surprised” when receiving the news of the coaching job being opened up.

“I didn't see this coming,” he said. “If I can keep the job, I will. If not, I can always just retire and move forward.”

Scott Heinauer