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Ex-Valley coach hired to take over at Philipsburg-Osceola

The Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District Board of Directors approved T.J. Anderson as the school’s new boys basketball coach in a virtual meeting Tuesday evening.

Matt Curtis, who had led the team the past six years, stepped down earlier this month after accepting a new position as the school’s assistant athletic director.

Anderson has coached the Juniata Valley boys the last five years, but the school opened both the boys and girls basketball coaching positions following this past season.

“I’m ecstatic and excited, but I’m also nervous,” Anderson said. “It was a tough decision. I did interview for the job here at JV, and they did ask me to come back. But I thought it was best for me to pursue other ventures for not only myself but my family. I live in this town, and it’s our community, and we’ll always be part of this community, but I think it’s wise for me to build something special away from home.”

Anderson resurrected a struggling Green Hornets team and led them to the second round of the PIAA tournament in 2017 and a District 6 Class 1A title in 2019.

“T.J.’s resume and coaching experience speaks for itself,” Curtis said. “He’s been able to build that Juniata Valley program, and he was part of the Huntingdon program for a time. He’s had a very successful AAU program as well, which I have been sending our kids there the last few years. So, he has some familiarity with the kids, and we’re really looking forward to him coming in. It doesn’t get better than having a guy like that step in.”

The Mounties went 10-13 last season and qualified for the District 6 playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.

Philipsburg-Osceola will return several key players, including star forward Ryan Whitehead.

“They have a great foundation there,” Anderson said. “Coach Curtis and his staff did a great job with that, and I’m hoping to build on that and keep it moving forward. The Mountain League is very tough, and every night you’ve got to bring it.”

Anderson also brought up the experience that some of the players in Philipsburg-Osceola’s program have gained through his AAU squad.

“I think it will be huge,” Anderson said. “They participated in our AAU program, the JV Stingers. They had some junior high kids who were really good, and some high school kids who can make a difference. Having those kids in our program makes things a little bit easier for me coming in the door, because they know the system and they can buy in to what we’re selling.”

Anderson will be familiar with plenty of his opponents, as he got his start as an assistant coach in Huntingdon. The Bearcats are the three-time defending District 6 Class 4A champions, and Tyrone, Central and Clearfield all will be strong next season.

“I started my coaching career in the Mountain League,” Anderson said. “It’s good to be back. After watching and studying these teams, I feel like we can put something together and be competitive every night. It depends on how the kids buy in, but I’m excited and I’m ready to get started.”

Juniata Valley has yet to formally announce Anderson’s replacement and the status of girls coach Rachelle Hopsicker. The school plans to address both positions on June 10.

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