The Hollidaysburg Area School District has taken a time out in its search for its next varsity football coach.
"We plan to hire a coach at the April board meeting, which is April 17," Hollidaysburg superintendent Paul Gallagher said on Thursday.
The original plan had been to have John Barton's successor on board by Tuesday night. However, the search committee decided to give themselves a few more weeks and possibly a few more options.
"The deadline for teachers to announce their plans to retire is April 1," athletic director Bob Gildea said. "So we decided to hold off on the second round of interviews for a bit."
While Gallagher said the district already had some teaching openings that might allow it to bring in a new coach from outside, after April 1 there might even be more flexibility.
And it seems to chance to take over the reins from Barton, who won almost 100 games after taking over the Golden Tigers in 1999, has proven attractive. Gildea said the school received 22 applicants, and there had been word of interest from several states.
Hollidaysburg interviewed 10 candidates in the last month. Gallagher said he anticipates "three or four" to be brought back for second interviews.
"I'd like to see someone of the same character as Mr. Barton," Gallagher said. "I want a coach that can relate to the kids but who understands that education is the most important thing - a good teacher of young men who will develop good traits in the fellows and teach them the right way in football and outside of football."
Among those who might still be part of the mix are Corry coach Homer DeLattre and Golden Tiger assistant R.J. Albarano. A former star player at Moshannon Valley and an assistant coach at Glendale, DeLattre and his wife both come from the area and are interested in returning because most of their family is here. Corry has had five straight winning seasons under DeLattre, who was rewarded by being named to the coaching staff at the PSFCA East West All-Star Game in 2012.
Albarano could not be reached to confirm his interest. He is a former standout lineman with the Tigers who has been on Barton's staff the last few years.
In addition to teaching openings, there also is the possibility that administrative openings might exist for the new coach. Gallagher is retiring at the end of the school year, and Gildea currently is splitting time between the AD's job and principal at the district's cyber academy.
Gildea was asked if the coach might also take over for him as athletic director.
"No decision has been made," Gildea said.