Count Don Holl among those pleased that Erie Cathedral Prep beat Erie McDowell in the District 10 Class AAAA basketball championship. And not just because Holl is Prep’s Dean of Students.
Holl was hired Monday night as the football coach at Seneca Valley High School, whose basketball team is scheduled to meet the District 10 runner-up (McDowell) in the play-in round of the PIAA tournament Tuesday night. If Prep had lost to McDowell, Prep would have played Seneca Valley at the gym of Holl’s new employer.
Holl laughed nervously when asked about the situation, and was happy he wasn’t put in the awkward situation of not knowing which team to back in the first state basketball tournament game in Seneca Valley history.
“I’m glad things turned out the way they did,” said Holl, who plans many trips up and down Interstate 79 in the next several weeks while he concludes his Prep tenure and starts rebuilding at Seneca Valley.
In more ways than one. Holl called Seneca Valley’s struggling football program “a sleeping giant” in the WPIAL, a phrase also used by basketball coach Victor Giannotta, who assumed control of an equally troubled program five years ago.
Who knows how Holl will do at Seneca Valley, which has been to the playoffs twice in this decade? But he has been successful in District 10, and comes highly recommended as an educator, coach and strong family man with five children (the oldest will play football at Seneca Valley).
One more important point: There is a good chance he will fill his staff with a few former Seneca Valley assistants who remain in the district as teachers and administrators and were around when the school had a strong program that peaked with WPIAL semifinal appearances in 1995 and 1997.