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Cassidy approved as next B-A hoops coach

The Bellwood-Antis School Board approved Hollidaysburg native Patrick Cassidy as the school’s newest high school boys basketball coach Tuesday evening.

Cassidy has coached the Huntingdon varsity girls team the past four years and led them to a 45-47 record. He helped the Lady Bearcats make an appearance in the District 6 4A title game last season and earned a trip to the PIAA playoffs.

“We were very excited about his enthusiasm and vision for program,” Bellwood-Antis athletic director Charlie Burch said. “I loved what he did at Huntingdon. He turned that program around from one that was at the bottom made them the Class 4A runners-up. He built their elementary program, and he’s the kind of guy we want in charge of the program for the future.”

Cassidy was approved by a 9-0 vote and will be paid $4,660. He takes over for Kevin Conlon, who was forced to leave the position after a promotion at his job did not allow the extra time to coach basketball.

“From everything I’ve heard, I think there’s talent here,” Cassidy said. “The guys are working now and doing a nice job. We have some nice pieces coming back. We have athletes, the numbers to do things, and even though it’s a smaller school, there are kids playing sports all year at a high, competitive level. We’ll have motivated kids that want to get after it.”

Cassidy is a fourth-grade teacher at Standing Stone Elementary in Huntingdon. That, along with the progress he made with the Lady Bearcats, made the decision tougher.

“Honestly, it was a pretty difficult situation, especially with the seniors and other players we have back at Huntingdon,” Cassidy said. “I made a tough decision, but the Bellwood coaching job with the boys is going to be a better fit for me. I’m really looking forward to challenges of it.”

Cassidy recently bought a home in Altoona and said the Bellwood job will be a different challenge than Huntingdon.

“When I came to Huntingdon, some stuff was good, but we needed to make things better,” Cassidy said. “We improved it at the varsity level and in the elementary program and the way we developed our players. It seems like it’s more in place at Bellwood. Now, I’m looking at how I can improve on it, and I’ll be reaching out to people in the program and building on relationships and be available wherever I can.”

Though he’s officially been the coach less than 24 hours, Cassidy was already impressed with the people around the program.

“All the support and all of the congrats and welcoming that I have received speaks highly of the district and community,” Cassidy said. “I am looking forward to working with those people and getting back in the gym with the guys coming back.”

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