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Sports Article
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Mercon Retires as UPHS Baseball Coach
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            When he departed the Villanova Ballpark in Plymouth Township six months ago, Frank Mercon didn't know he had coached his final high school baseball game. That revelation came two months later.

            In early August, Mercon submitted his resignation as head coach at Upper

Frank Mercon directs an Upper Pekiomen base-

ball practice at Keeny Stadium.  He retired earl-

ier this year after 13 years as its head coac.

Perkiomen. He decided that 31 years of coaching was enough.

            Mercon claims the stress and workload of leading the program had become increasingly more difficult since the novel coronavirus pandemic canceled the 2020 season. He said it was starting to affect his mental and physical health.

            "It needs to be understood that this was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made," said Mercon, a health and physical education teacher at the high school. "I love baseball and I love the program. This group of guys is awesome."

            In his 13th and final season leading the Tribe, the team competed for the District One Class 4A title. Mercon said the team's quality roster played a key role in his decision to retire after 26 seasons coaching in the program.

            "The team has a real talented group of players," he said. "I knew that the new coach would have a lot of pieces to work with."

            A 1990 graduate of Souderton High School, Mercon coached for his alma mater for five seasons before coming to Upper Perkiomen. He spent two seasons coaching the ninth-grade and junior varsity teams.

            Mercon assisted head coach Ernie Quatrani for 11 seasons on the varsity before succeeding him in 2011. Mercon chose not to focus on his collective record or other annual accomplishments.

            "I was always focused on winning the game in front of me," said Mercon, who lives in the Boyertown Area School District.

            He described the conclusion of last season, a 5-3 loss to Pope John Paul in the district title game on May 26 at Villanova University's home field, as a significant accomplishment. Mercon identified his last victory, a 6-2 upset win over Holy Ghost Prep in the semifinals three days earlier, as a career highlight.

            Mercon listed John Stezenko, Nate Bashum, Trey Livingstone, Chris Kachmar and Tim Mayza as some of the top players he's ever coached. Deep down, the Upper Frederick resident says he feels "ecstatic" every time he watches Mayza pitch on television for the Toronto Blue Jays.

            "It was an absolute lifetime highlight to say I helped coach [Mayza]," Mercon said. "I thought he had the potential to be drafted. He was one of the best hitters I ever coached."

            The coach started thinking about stepping away from the program during the last two seasons. Mercon said certain changes following the program's resumption from COVID in 2021 forced him to adjust the fall ball and weightlifting programs.

            "It was like I was working two full-time jobs," he said. "I never had an off-season."

            After deciding to retire, Mercon immediately called Quatrani. Mercon said his predecessor told him that once he stops coaching, he'll never understand how he found the time to do it.

            Mercon is spending his newfound free time taking walks with his wife and reconnecting with his family. He described that effort as vital.

            "People don't realize how much time I missed with them," Mercon said.






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