PC graduate hired as new head coach

From Mirror reports

Nick Felus came home three years ago, returning to an area where he grew up to coach high school football in Blair County. Now, the Cambria County native is really coming home, this time to Penn Cambria High School, his alma mater.

Felus was hired Tuesday night by the Penn Cambria School Board to become the Panthers’ head football coach, replacing John Franco who stepped down after two seasons to become the coach at Tyrone.

“I am just very humbled and honored to come back home and be a part of such a special community and school district,” said Felus, who spent the past three seasons coaching at Altoona before their school board opened the position earlier this year. “I am happy for this opportunity and to be the coach of the Penn Cambria Panthers.”

Felus graduated from Penn Cambria in 1996 where he played football for the likes of Tony Tomaselli and Bruce Frycklund, both men who were an important part of his high school days.

“I had a great experience playing here for them,” Felus said. “They both helped me become the person I am and the coach that I am. They made me want to be a coach.”

A teacher in the Altoona Area School District, Felus said he was going to meet with his new team this afternoon. He said that despite the exit from Altoona, he had no plans on taking time off before looking for another coaching job.

“I was never thinking about taking a year off,” he said. “Coaching is my passion and when it presented itself, it felt like something I wanted to go after.”

Felus talked with his family, including his wife, Katelyn, who supported him in going after the position.

“I wanted to sit down with them and make sure it was a good decision for me and for my family,” he said. “Any time you do this, your family is a big part of that. I wanted to make sure they were good with it.”

Penn Cambria went 4-16 under Franco, which included an 0-10 season followed up by a 4-6 campaign last year.

“Coach Franco did a great job here. He is very knowledgeable and we want to build up on that,” Felus said. “I am going to add my own philosophies and find out what our kids can do. I know we will play hard and we will execute.”

The School Board also approved the hiring of three assiststants to work under Felus, who will be paid a stipend of $6,498. His assistants are Pat McKinney, Brandon Nicodemus and William Zamboni.

“There will be a few more to be named later. I have coached a long time and I have been able to develop some good relationships in my three years around here,” he said. “There are some good local coaches who are all about the kids. They are an important part of the program.”

Penn Cambria athletic director Chuck Terek said that though he didn’t know the actual vote on the hiring, he would be “shocked” if it wasn’t a 9-0 vote.

“To get a local guy to come back, a Penn Cambria graduate … I think that says a lot for Nick to take this position,” he said. “It was a tough decision. There were three very good applicants that we interviewed and Nick did a very nice job. Being an alumni, that spoke highly for him.”

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