Gochnour getting his chance with Colts program
By Philip Cmor
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.”