HOLLIDAYSBURG - The Hollidaysburg Area School District didn't wait long to move on a successor for outgoing athletic director Dean Rossi.
In the same 9-0 vote in which the school board accepted Rossi's resignation after 24 years effective Dec. 31, it hired former Golden Tiger athlete and coach Bob Gildea for the joint position of AD and principal of the district's new cyber school.
Gildea, 44, had been principal at Foot of Ten Elementary for the last 12 years. He was hired to his new dual role at his current salary.
"Bob's been a wonderful elementary principal. He has his doctorate degree now. He has his certification to be a superintendent. He's looking for new challenges,'' Hollidaysburg superintendent Paul Gallagher said. "I think the cyber academy presents one of those new challenges for him, but I was looking ahead to what we would do with Mr. Rossi's position. Bob has a background in athletics, so I thought it might be an opportunity for him.
"I think young kids respect him, our coaches respect him and he'll do a fine job.''
"I told Dr. Gallagher early in the budget process I would do anything he needed,'' Gildea said.
Gildea officially will become athletic director on Jan. 1, 2013, giving him a chance to get his feet this fall while Rossi still is acting AD.
"It's going to be a learning experience,'' Gildea said. "I think, over the next six months, I'm going to be learning a lot from Dean. I don't have a vision yet. I'm going into it with an open mind.''
Rossi was a full-time athletic director for the past 24 years. Next to Altoona, Hollidaysburg has the largest athletic program in the area, and Gallagher is taking a wait-and-see attitude toward having a part-time AD, but added that it is a sign of the current economic times.
"We'll see how it goes,'' Gallagher said. "We're trying to tighten the belts everywhere. We'll take a look at it after a year.''
A 1986 Hollidaysburg graduate, Gildea and his wife, Jill, have four children: Dillon, Quincy, Maura and Shane.