Weekly Feature



2018-10-10 / Sports

Cardinal O’Hara grad returns to coach against alma mater

TAYLOR NIGRELLI
Sports Reporter

This year’s Cardinal O’Hara football homecoming game will have a dual meaning. Nick Bach has coached football all over the country at the high school and college level. But it all started at Cardinal O’Hara. He will return home this weekend as his Gilman School Greyhounds will travel in from Baltimore to take on the Hawks Saturday at 1 p.m.

The game came together when Cardinal O’Hara coach Shaquille Dudley called Bach over the summer to see if he would be interested in doing a home-and-home series over the course of the next two years. The two knew of each other, as Dudley had played at the University at Buffalo while Bach was a coach there. The two had bonded over O’Hara football, as Dudley is also an alum. Bach loved the idea of coming to play his alma mater.

“He was looking at my schedule this year and saw that we had an opening this week, so he gave me a call and asked if I wanted to come to O’Hara this year and they would come to Baltimore next year,” Bach said. “I thought it would be a really good fit. We had an opening. They are hard to fill when the summer rolls around, so I said let’s do it.”

Bach played on the Cardinal O’Hara football team from 1994-1996. He was an All-Catholic lineman and linebacker who served as a team captain his senior year. He played for one year at Canisius in college and then at Buffalo State after that.

Bach started coaching before graduating from college, serving as an assistant for the West Side Bulls’ youth program. He was hooked from there, moving on to local high schools before landing a college job at Johns Hopkins. He would go on to have a decade-long college career, coaching at Otterbein, East Strousburg and eventually, Buffalo.

But he started having kids a few years ago and decided he needed to take a step back and find a less-demanding job. He wanted to be home more than the rigors of a Division I coaching job would allow. He moved down to Gwinnett, Georgia, and led a resurgence at Mountain View High School. The Gilman job opened up over the previous offseason, and Bach was immediately interested. He still had Baltimore connections from his days at Johns Hopkins. He took the job in June.

Gilman was an East Coast football powerhouse at one point but has fallen on tough teams recently. The Greyhounds are 0-6 so far this season

“We’ll take any win we can get,” Bach said. “Regardless of who the opponent is, we’re always trying to get a win definitely.”

This week isn’t just a celebratory homecoming for Bach; it’s a chance to get his first win in his new job. Meanwhile, O’Hara is having its best season in years. The team is 4-2 and has clinched an appearance in the Monsignor Martin Small School Championship.

“We really can’t worry too much about what they’re doing; we really have to concentrate on ourselves,” Bach said. “We’re in a rebuilding year as far as this program. This program here was one of the most powerful programs on the East Coast for a long time. It has been in flux now for several years. That’s kind of why I am here: to start all over and rebuild this program. That’s really my focus. If we can get a win at O’Hara, that would be great. I know they are doing well, I figured they would. Shaq is a great guy and a good coach. I’m sure he’s doing all the right things with those boys. I’m sure they love him. They’ll be tough to beat, I’m sure. Whatever their record is, I’m sure they’ll give us a great game.”

Bach is excited for the weekend back home. He hasn’t been inside the high school in more than two decades. Whether or not he’s able to get a win over his alma mater is still up in the air, but Bach is sure he’ll be hit with the nostalgia bug at some point.

“I’m sure there will be a couple extra people at the game knowing that I’m coming home for that,” Bach said. “A couple family members and friends will probably be there. I’m kind of interested to see what the school looks like. I haven’t seen it in almost 20 years. It will be cool to see all the differences and what it looks like now. I’ll probably have some nostalgic moments there, I’m sure. I’m really just trying to get a win for my team more than anything.”

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