The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

June 27, 2013

Hollern leaving Bishop McCort for Florida’s Oxbridge Academy

JOHNSTOWN — Pat Hollern’s impact at Bishop McCort High School is evident in the fact that the Crushers athletic program must fill three significant duties when he leaves for Florida next month.

The successful Crushers boys’ basketball coach also served as the school’s athletic director and was a respected liaison with the local media, producing press packets and game notes sometimes more thorough than material handed out at the small-college level.

On Thursday, Hollern announced he accepted the positions of communications and digital media coordinator and assistant boys’ basketball coach at Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Fla. He will reunite with Craig Sponsky, the former Bishop Carroll athletic director and football coach who now serves as Oxbridge’s AD. Dwayne McClain, a key player on Villanova’s 1985 NCAA championship basketball team, is the head coach at Oxbridge.

Hollern’s final day at McCort is July 11.

“Craig (Sponsky) and I talked frequently since I left Bishop Carroll,” said Hollern, who coached boys’ basketball at Bishop Carroll before taking the McCort job in 2004-05. “We remained friends. He told me about the possibility of a position. We took the family down and thought now was a good time. If we were ever going to decide to move, now would be the time. The kids are young and the transition would be a little easier.”

Hollern and his wife, Ashley, have three children, daughter Reilly, 7, and sons Peyton, 5, and Carson, 1.

“It’s pretty exciting. They’re a new school. This will be their third year of existence,” Hollern said. “This will be their first graduating class. This is a truly student-based school. There are incredible people running it. Their No. 1 concern was me and my family.”

Hollern went 166-69 in nine seasons as Bishop McCort’s boys’ basketball coach. The Crushers were 19-9 and won the LHAC crown last season. Under Hollern, McCort earned District 6 Class AA titles in 2012, 2011, 2007 and 2005. He also led Bishop Carroll to a 6-A championship in 2004, his third and final year with the Huskies. Overall, Hollern went 203-109 as a high school head coach.

McCort named Hollern its athletic director in August, 2012, though his role as Director of Athletic Development included many of the AD duties for four years.

Hollern also was proactive in his media relations duties, alerting local media of events and activities well in advance and wowing both local and out-of-town media with gameday media information packets packed with statistics, roster information and history. Hollern produced the press material for football, basketball, baseball and soccer. His Crushers sports weekly updates included all sports.

“Pat and I have been associates since when I was at Carroll and he left to go back to McCort,” said Sponsky, who recently completed his first academic calendar year at Oxbridge after a lengthy and distinguished stint as Bishop Carroll’s football coach. “At that time, Carroll was losing a lot by Pat returning to McCort, but we respected the job Pat did. I always thought very highly of his body of work and what he did. I’d see the things he would produce and promote at McCort. It was unmatched.”

Bishop McCort Acting Principal Dr. D.A. Gardill said the school will begin the process of replacing Hollern. She said McCort will determine whether one person would handle multiple positions as Hollern did, or if the school will hire additional personnel.

“It’s a big loss professionally for us and a big loss personally, but it’s a great opportunity for him,” Gardill said. “Pat, like his dad (the late Paul Hollern), was an unofficial historian of the school. That knowledge of the past and knowing what McCort has been, that made his sense of vision valuable.”

Gardill said Hollern’s skill set extended well beyond the basketball court.

“When Pat became athletic director, one thing that he’s really good at is his ability to communicate about sports and athletics,” Gardill said. “He really stepped up that aspect. His Crushers Sports e-newsletter, his game notes. Now, we must find someone to carry that on. It was such a high standard. He was so organized and together and on top of everything that comes along with being the athletic director. He was so efficient. Anyone we get to replace him has big shoes to fill.”

Hollern said his move wasn’t a result of the recent controversy at McCort involving allegations of abuse by a former employee.

“That didn’t play a role at all,” Hollern said. “McCort is strong. The kids are the heart and soul of the school. This is about a lifestyle decision and a lifestyle change.

“I really needed to spend more time around the house and being with the family. The fact the beach is 10 minutes away doesn’t hurt much.”

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