Gochnour getting his chance with Colts program

By Philip Cmor

pcmor@altoonamirror.com

With three days to spare before tipping off the season, Northern Cambria High School has its boys basketball coach.

Clinton Gochnour, a math teacher at Central Cambria, was hired at the district’s Tuesday board meeting to take the reins of the program after Mike McCall stepped down a little more than a week earlier.

Junior high coach Eric Pizur had been overseeing the Colts in the interim.

It will be Gochnour’s first head coaching job, but he is far from a newcomer to coaching. Gochnour has spent the last few years as the junior high boys coach at Central Cambria. He also was a varsity assistant with the Red Devils for football and baseball.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to be a varsity head coach, and, when the position opened, I had to jump on it right away,” said Gochnour, who has been coaching multiple sports for 14 years. “It’s a very unique situation in that we’re going to have two varsity practices before we play our first game, but I’m excited.”

Gochnour is a graduate of Central High School, where he was a standout guard for Scarlet Dragons coach Reggie Nevins. In 1999-2000, Gochnour was a second-team Altoona Mirror area all-star.

“(Our style) is really going to be a mesh of things I’ve learned over the years under Coach Nevins, Coach (Steve) Traino, Coach (Don) Appleman. I’ve played under a number of great head coaches. I’ve coached with a number of great head coaches,” Gochnour said.

This isn’t the first time Northern Cambria has looked south along Route 219 recently to fill a major coaching vacancy recently. The district hired CC teacher Sam Shutty as its head football coach before last season.

McCall spent two years guiding the Colts, going 2-19 last season while starting five underclassmen.

“These are a great group of young men. They were very enthusiastic,” Gochnour said. “They worked hard in practice, which is all a coach can ever ask for.”

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