Gateway Enters the Don Holl Era
Written by: Billy Splain on Thursday, January 14th, 2016
The Gateway Gators finished the 2015 season with a disappointing 5-4 record, missing the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 2001. Don Holl hopes to get the Gators back to the playoffs in the 2016 season. Don Holl was hired by Gateway this week to replace legendary coach Tom Nola. Holl is a former Seneca Valley Head coach, compiling a 37-25 record while there for 6 seasons, leaving after the 2014 campaign. He also coached at Erie Cathedral Prep from 2005-2008, leading the Ramblers to a 36-14 record during that tenure.
Q & A with coach Holl:
In some small world kind of way, when I was a kid my mom used to get on the bus with a lot of ladies from up in Erie, we’d go to the Monroeville mall on a long excursion, at that time not everyone had a mall in their own backyard. I had a Gateway t-shirt. As a senior at Erie Prep we built our season at what is now Antimarino stadium, named for long time coach Walter Antimarino. As a college coach in the early 2000’s I’d see them from a distance with coach Smith there. And then as a coach at Prep we almost ran into them again when they lost an ot WPIAL title to Central Catholic. While there I got to know Terry Smith…short version, great tradition, a great Western PA football program. A lot of wins, a lot of pride and a great place to be a coach.
On Gateway missing the playoffs, and what he wants to bring back:
It’s gonna be interesting dynamic, we’re gonna be 5A with Woodland Hills, USC, Plum, West A, and some other schools of similar numbers. I think the standard there has been set high, good players, develop a culture of championship football. We have the ingredients to return to the top of the heap.
On the timing of leaving Seneca Valley and coming back to coach again:
I don’t think i thought I was done coaching, I’m not a young young guy, I’m 50 and wasn’t ready to retire. I thought it was the right time to step away, “break” is probably the right time. I had my own boys playing college ball. I had a friend talk me into going to New Castle to coach a while, still had weekends to go see my sons play football. I knew I’d coach again, but I didn’t want to go shotgun and apply for every job but when the Gateway job opened up again I thought maybe this is a little earlier than I want to return but this is a job that to me is attractive enough to get back into coaching. It’s the only coaching job I applied for.
On meeting the team:
Haven’t met with players yet, but with the mid terms and Monday’s holiday we’ll get together with them Wednesday. Looking forward to meeting my new team and the parents.
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