After nine years, the Philipsburg-Osceola wrestling program will have a new face in the corner of the wrestling mat.
The Mounties football program also is taking a turn in a new direction.
On Tuesday night, the district school board approved the hiring of Brad Pataky as the Mounties’ new wrestling coach and Mike Mann as the new football coach.
Pataky is looking forward to the challenge.
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“I’ve been wanting to get back into coaching,” Pataky said. “I’ve been wanting to help develop this area for a while now whether from the youth wrestlers up to the high school because at one point in time central Pennsylvania used to be the most dominant part of the state as well as the country. I saw the position was open and thought it was a good opportunity to get that re-established.”
The Clearfield native knows what it takes to reach the pinnacle of the PIAA level. He was a three-time state finalist and excelled out of the gate by placing second as a freshman. In his junior season, he won a gold medal and finished runner up in his senior year.
After high school, Pataky went on to wrestle at Penn State under both Troy Sunderland and current Nittany Lion coach Cael Sanderson.
He was a two-time Big Ten placewinner finishing fourth both times.
Pataky comes to the Mounties program with a vast knowledge of the sport, not to mention a coaching background that saw him at programs like Lock Haven and Army West Point.
It’s one of the reason why Philipsburg-Osceola Superintendant Gregg Paladina is glad to bring Pataky aboard.
“I know that we’ve always had an excellent wrestling program,” Paladina said, “but having someone with the caliber of Brad Pataky will only enhance our program. He brings Penn State wrestling experience. He coached at the collegiate level and is involved with the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club. Our wrestlers will benefit tremendously by having someone with those attributes.”
The program’s history is known county-wide and Pataky has some big shoes to fill after former P-O coach Tim McCamley resigned from his post earlier this year.
“Tim has done a wonderful job,” Paladina said. “He was a wonderful role model and mentor to those young men. We miss him here in the district as a teacher. He’ll be missed tremendously but we’re just happy to be able to find someone like Brad Pataky to replace him.”
Pataky doesn’t have a teaching position in place with the school district but said he will look to become a substitute teacher. He said he hopes that a social studies position comes open that he can jump into. He feels his knowledge of the classroom will help out in the wrestling room.
“Obviously, wrestling is wrestling any way you look at it,” Pataky said. “Coaching is basically teaching. If you take it the same way you do teaching a classroom, you’re trying to mold students and trying to mold athletes and eventually student-athletes. Teaching and coaching go hand in hand.”
Mann takes over the football program from Mike Soyster, who had been at the program’s helm the last two seasons. The Mounties have struggled mightily of late, with a 1-39 record over the last four seasons, having lost the last 27 games in a row. Soyster never won a game as the varsity head coach.
Mann teaches seventh grade social studies at P-O Middle School and is also a P-O graduate.