By Rob Todor
As a youngster, Craig Hannon was a ballboy for the varsity football team at Union High School, located just outside New Castle, Pa.
The head coach was a young man not far removed from his college-playing career, Nick Cochran.
Today, Cochran is a head coach at his alma mater, Girard High School.
Now, so is Hannon.
Unanimously approved by the Board of Education at a special meeting on Monday, Hannon, 26, was tapped to take over for Nolan Cubellis, who resigned following a 9-12 season.
This is the first varsity head-coaching position for Hannon, who was the freshman boys coach at Poland last winter after working for three years at Neshannock (Pa.). He was an assistant coach on a Neshannock team that defeated Girard two seasons ago.
“I’m ready to get going,” said Hannon. “Get the kids in the gym, establish myself, and get to work on the goals we will set for ourselves.”
Hannon was a four-year letterman at Westminster College, and remains the program’s all-time leading scorer and 3-point scorer. He led the Titans to the Presidents’ Athletic Conference championship and the NCAA Division III tournament as a junior in 2007.
He was named second team All-Presidents’ Athletic Conference three times and was third team all-region by D3Hoops.com.
Hannon was selected by Girard out of a pool of 17 candidates.
“Craig stood head and shoulders above the competition,” said Girard Superintendent David Cappuzzello. “We grinded him a little bit [in interviews] and he handled himself very well.”
Hannon said he grew as an assistant coach under Neshannock’s John Corey — an assistant at Westminster when Hannon was a senior — and Poland’s Ken Grisdale.
“Everyone in the area aspires to be like Poland and Canfield,” said Hannon. “Harding, of course, but they’re on a different level. Poland is also so consistent, no matter what style they play. Two years ago they were up-and-down and last year they grinded out wins. They adjust so well to their personnel.
“That being said, we have to be our own program.”
Hannon is employed as an intervention specialist with the PACE program in Youngstown.