Bishop Carroll v. Purchase Line girls.jpg

Bishop Carroll coach Bob Gongloff addresses his players during a time out during a PIAA District 6 Class A championship game against Purchase Line, at Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, PA., Wednesday, Feb.27, 2019.

Bishop Carroll Catholic High School girls basketball coach Bob Gongloff has spent 19 seasons coaching some of the best girls basketball teams in this region and the state.

With his 70th birthday approaching, Gongloff is ready to spend more time with his four grandsons whether it be fishing in a stream or attending a sandlot baseball game.

Bishop Carroll High School announced Gongloff’s retirement on Wednesday, though the long-time coach said his decision was made shortly after the end of the 2018-19 hoops season.

“I’m not getting any younger. My grandsons are all getting older,” said Gongloff, who has three grandsons in the area and one out of state. “They want to do some river fishing. We’re going to take some time and do some bass fishing and do some things with the family. I might be able to sneak a trip or two in to see my grandson and daughter down in Texas.

“Basketball is a year-round sport,” he added. “I didn’t have time for my grandsons. I wanted to change that a bit.”

Gongloff led the Huskies program from 1991 through 2004 and after a brief stint at Penn Cambria High School, he returned to the Bishop Carroll bench in 2015. He remained through this past season as the team won the District 6 Class A crown.

“I enjoyed the Bishop Carroll program,” Gongloff said. “The kids always worked hard. They were always well-mannered. We had good times at the gym or when we went to eat out or bowling.

“What I’ll miss most is just being around the kids and the main thing is coaching with my daughter (assistant coach Amy Oravec). Amy brought a lot to the table. I’ll miss her on the bench with me.”

Gongloff posted a career mark of 436-111 as head coach at Bishop Carroll and overall went 453-155 as a high school girls basketball coach.

“All teams were good. I never had a bad team. They were all good in their own way,” Gongloff said. “It’s sad when you leave a program. Age catches up to you.”

Bishop Carroll won two PIAA Class A championships in successive seasons in 2002 and 2003. 

Those gold-medal showings followed a pair of state runner-up finishes in 1996 and 1998.

“The championship years were great,” Gongloff said.

Gongloff led seven District 6 championship squads (1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2016, 2017 and 2019).

The Huskies won the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference title three times under Gongloff (2003, 2018, 2019). Prior to joining the LHAC, Bishop Carroll won four Appalachian Conference championships (1994, 1995, 1999, 2000) during his tenure.

The Associated Press named Gongloff Pennsylvania Small School Coach of the Year after the PIAA title seasons in 2002 and 2003.

This past season, Bishop Carroll went 18-8, as Gongloff was named LHAC Coach of the Year, the second time he won the honor, including 2003.

“This team I had this past year meant so much to me,” said Gongloff, who briefly was suspended during the season over personal reasons but returned after the issue was resolved. “Their work ethic was beyond what they had to do. They had a determination. They wanted to win. Nothing was going to stop them. They excelled above the norm and surpassed my expectations.”

The Huskies beat Purchase Line 66-23 in the 6-A title game and won a state playoff game over Veritas Academy before falling to Our Lady of Lourdes Regional, the eventual state runner-up.

“I made the decision probably about six weeks ago after the season,” Gongloff said of his retirement. “I talked with my family. It’s time for me to get back in officiating. I love officiating. It doesn’t take up as much time.

“I’ll miss the kids. The kids were special. They were a good group. Our parents this year grew so close together. It was a great year. No other way of putting it."

Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5083. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.

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