Saddle up: Cowboys hire Bolha as coach
The 1990 Chaney High graduate replaces Don D'Alesio.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Ever since Bernard Bolha graduated from Chaney High School, he has wanted to return to his alma mater as the head basketball coach.
Bolha's wish came true on Wednesday as Chaney officially announced Bolha would be the school's new coach.
Bolha will replace Don D'Alesio, who went 14-47 in his three years as the Cowboys head coach.
Coached at Howland
Bolha spent the last three seasons as head coach at Howland High, where he posted a 30-36 record.
The 1990 Chaney High graduate has also served as varsity assistants at Cleveland Benedictine and Lakewood. He was an assistant coach for the Mahoning Valley Wildcats of the International Basketball League this spring.
"To have the opportunity to return to the school you graduated from is always a great thrill," Bolha said. "Every since I graduated it was always in the back of my mind to some day return here as the head coach."
Enjoyed stay at Howland
Bolha said that he enjoyed his stay at Howland, but it was time to move on.
"Howland has a lot of great kids and I've enjoyed working there, but I think every coach has it in the back of his mind to know when it's time to move on and this was my time," he added.
Bolha doesn't know much about the Cowboys' roster, but he's kept an eye on the team over the past few years.
"I really don't know a whole lot about what's returning next year, but we scrimmaged them in recent years and I know they have always been competitive," he said.
"In the city kids are always transferring in and out, so you don't really know just who is going to show up," he continued.
"I know one thing for sure and that is we will be a fun team to watch this year."
Coached with Wildcats
Bolha said that his recent stint as an assistant coach with the IBL Mahoning Valley Wildcats was a tremendous experience.
"It was a real eye opener for me, to see that level of competition and it was an unbelievable experience," Bolha added.
"It was interesting making the road trips and spending time talking with the different players and listening to their stories. I really enjoyed that time," he said.
Mullally pleased with choice
Jim Mullally, Chaney High's athletic director, was pleased with his choice as head coach, saying his passion for the game separated him from other candidates.
"He's got a passion for the game and a passion for Chaney High School and that was evident in his interview," Mullally said.
"Being from Chaney I obviously have a passion for the school," Bolha added.
"But regardless of where I'm coaching I've always had a passion for the game itself and the opportunity to work with young players."