Bishop McCort Catholic High School announced the hiring of a new athletic director and two head coaches on Tuesday.
Veteran coach and retired teacher/administrator Ralph DeMarco took over as athletic director. New Principal Tom Smith introduced DeMarco as well as boys basketball head coach Chris Pfeil and cross country head coach Fred Oliveros during a media event at the high school.
“He brings a lot of experience to the position,” said Smith, noting DeMarco was a teacher and athletic director at Windber Area High School for 27 years and served as principal for seven years. “We’re excited to have him on the staff.
“He’s a great defender of kids and students. No matter what color he has worn, he’s always had great compassion for kids and student-athletes.”
DeMarco also was an assistant football coach at Windber, working with his brother Phil, who had 192 coaching wins and guided the Ramblers to 49 consecutive regular-season victories from 1997 to 2003.
“My goals are very simple,” Ralph DeMarco said. “I’m not here to reinvent the wheel. Bishop McCort has an amazing educational and sports tradition that goes beyond 99 percent of the high schools in our region and our area. I’ve been fortunate to work in some great traditions, so I understand the importance of tradition.
“I’m going to lead with my faith. That is very important to me,” he said. “I know that it is very important to our school. It is the foundation of our school. I’m going to lead with faith, friendship and love. If that doesn’t work, I’m going to try it some more. I don’t want to go to the negative side.
“That’s not what I’m about.”
Pfeil is well-known as the Crimson Crushers baseball coach who led Bishop McCort to a 2012 state championship and many deep playoff runs during his nine seasons. Pfeil is general manager of the Martella’s Pharmacy team that won Johnstown’s first-ever AAABA Tournament championship last summer.
But he also has strong ties to the Crimson Crushers basketball program.
A 1994 graduate, Pfeil played basketball for the Crimson Crushers. He served as an assistant coach on the boys basketball team for 11 seasons and was part of four District 6 championship squads.
“This program has always been important to me from back when I was a player with Tim Koshute as the head coach,” said Pfeil, who replaced Jerry Murphy after the former Crimson Crushers coach stepped aside this spring. “He was one of the great mentors I had in my life and taught me a lot about basketball and more about being a good person. I’m looking forward to hopefully having that influence on our basketball program.
“We had a great run when I was able to coach under Coach (Pat) Hollern and Coach (Jerry) Murphy, two great high school basketball coaches. I enjoyed my time with them. I stepped away for a few years from basketball. With the position open, I talked things over with my family and we felt this was the right time.”
Oliveros will take on his first head coaching position at his alma mater. He replaces former coach Greg Bixel.
“I graduated from McCort and I wanted to do what I can to carry on the tradition,” Oliveros said. “We’re just trying to capitalize on the investment that the runners and the families have in the program. We want to get people to buy into the joy of running and all the rewards that come with the sport.”