Bob Palko has resigned as Mt. Lebanon High School football coach.

The 2021 Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year resurrected the Blue Devils’ program during his four-year tenure.

Within three years of his hire in 2019, the Blue Devils were champions after a 21-year drought. Under Palko, Lebo rolled up a 15-0 record in 2021 and won its first state title in school history with a 35-17 victory over three-time defending champion St. Joseph’s Prep in the PIAA Class 6A final in Hershey.

The championships came three years after Palko appeared to have folded up his own career.

In 2018, he had retired after leading West Allegheny to eight WPIAL titles and one PIAA championship. With the WPIAL title at Lebo, Palko has nine to his career and ties him for first in league history. His all-time record is 247-87.

“We are so thankful and appreciative of his time and the effort he provided the district,” said Lebo athletic director John Grogan. “Coach Palko was all I could ask for and more. He worked well with the players, the boosters and the community. He just did a great job.”

Grogan added he was not shocked that Palko, whom he had worked with prior at West Allegheny, handed in his resignation. He informed his players of his decision on Jan. 6.

“We’ve been having conversations,” Grogan said. “Bob just felt it was time.”

Palko had a rough autumn and not because the Blue Devils posted a 5-6 record. During the football season he lost his mother, Laverne. She was 96. His father, Gilbert, had passed away nearly 20 years earlier.

Family is important to Palko. He and his wife, Sally, have raised three children: Tyler, who played at Pitt and in the NFL; Luke, who is a scout with the Arizona Cardinals; and Amy, who was a standout volleyball player at Duquesne. The siblings along with his grandchildren often could be seen patrolling the sidelines supporting Palko as he coached.

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Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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