Carroll promoting assistant to head coach
Bishop Carroll has won two consecutive District 6 Class 1A girls basketball championships under the direction of two different head coaches in the past two seasons.
If a scholastic basketball season is held in 2020-21, the Lady Huskies will be trying for their third straight district title with another new head coach on their bench.
Chris DeGol, who had been an assistant coach for Carroll under John Bianconi last season, recently moved up to the head coach’s spot when Bianconi accepted a junior high school principal’s position in the Franklin Area School District.
DeGol, 31, who is employed as a learning support teacher at Pleasant Valley Elementary School in the Altoona Area School District, is looking forward to taking the reins of the Carroll program.
“We’ve been having open gyms this summer, and the girls have been showing up, putting in the effort, and working hard,” DeGol said. “We’re getting better every day, and the goal at Bishop Carroll is always (to win) a championship.
“We’ve won the last two (district titles), and we’re looking to be in the Final Four of the Laurel Highlands (Athletic Conference), win another District 6 title, and make a state playoff run.”
The pieces are certainly in place for Carroll to do so. The Lady Huskies return four starters and seven lettermen overall from last year’s team that finished 15-11 overall and reached the PIAA Class 1A quarterfinals.
“We’re still young,” DeGol said. “We have only two seniors, and a lot of our returning letterwinners are underclassmen who have a lot more playing experience. I look for us to compete again for a district title and make a run in states like we did last year.”
Bianconi has no doubt that DeGol will be successful as the new head coach.
“I’ve known Chris for a very long time, and he’s going to be one of the youngest head coaches in the area, for sure, but he’s ready for this,” Bianconi said. “He’s dedicated, and the girls are invested in the team and they’re going to play hard for him.
“The girls are really buying into our team’s scheme of (defensive) pressure, pressure, pressure and wreaking havoc on opponents, and Chris is going to keep them going with that scheme,” Bianconi added. “Chris is very competitive, and very passionate about coaching. He had a lot of input last year, and he knows what it takes to be a head coach.”
DeGol’s familiarity with the Carroll style of play is also a big asset, providing valuable continuity in the midst of another coaching transition and an offseason severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That was the goal, getting that transition (done) with as few bumps as possible,” said Bianconi, who took over as Carroll’s head coach for one year last season after the resignation of veteran coach Bob Gongloff.
Carroll athletic director Dan McMullen also emphasized that DeGol’s presence will provide a stabilizing effect.
“Chris is a good guy with a great knowledge of basketball, and he’s familiar with the program,” McMullen said. “I see his becoming the head coach as being nothing but a positive for our girls basketball program. The girls respect him, and we’re looking for things to transition smoothly.”
Carroll should be very good this upcoming season, and for many years ahead, according to DeGol.
“With only two seniors on this year’s team, the future is bright,” DeGol said.