Freeport grad Alan Bauman named boys basketball coach at Knoch
Thursday, October 15, 2020 | 9:34 PM
When the 2020 high school basketball season kicks off in a few months, the Knoch boys basketball team will have a new coach on the sidelines.
The South Butler School Board approved the hiring of Alan Bauman as boys basketball coach on Wednesday.
Bauman, who graduated from Freeport in 1991 and played college basketball at Geneva, isn’t new to coaching. He coached under Win Palmer at Sewickley Academy for 10 years and captured two WPIAL titles in 2009 and ‘10 and also captured a PIAA title with the Panthers in 2010.
“He was a fantastic assistant coach,” Palmer said. “He’s incredibly knowledgeable about the game, he’s passionate about player development and really he has an excellent understanding of the strategy of the game and I think Knoch is getting a great coach.”
From there, he went back to his collegiate alma mater and was an associate head coach at Geneva College from 2014-17.
Although he’s a former Yellowjacket and admitted that putting on a Knights pullover for the first time will feel a little strange, Bauman said Knoch has become somewhat of a second home.
His wife is from Knoch, his family grew up there, and he also remembers his uncle playing there in the early 80s and 90s. But his decision to go after the position at Knoch simply came down to timing, and he can’t wait to get going.
“It’s setting in more and more each minute that I’m a high school basketball coach again, and I cannot wait to get back in the gym and get going with the guys,” Bauman said. “My excitement is off the charts. Coach (Ron) McNabb has created a great foundation, and I really can’t wait to get started.”
He’ll be taking over a basketball program that has captured a share of the Section 1-4A title the past two years and has also won 37 games in the same stretch of time. The Knights did lose an impressive class of six seniors, four of whom started last season. The cupboard at Knoch isn’t completely bare, though.
Junior guard Ryan Lang will be back after a breakout year for the Knights last season. He played beyond his years, had several big games and was the fifth starter in a lineup filled with seniors. Forward Zach McMillen is another returner to be excited about as he provided valuable minutes off the bench last season.
With the returners coming back, Bauman said he is looking to run a motion-based offense and implement a hard-nosed style of play on defense. He’s also looking forward to seeing what he has.
“It starts with getting in there and getting to know the kids,” Bauman said. “I’ve heard it’s a hard-working group, so I think the goal is to get better every day and see how we progress.”
Just like with any program, Bauman said he also wants to get every level of the school involved.
“We definitely want to make it a community,” Bauman said. “We want the high school kids to start working with the middle school and elementary school kids, and we want them to become leaders there. That’s the biggest thing. We want to develop a community and bring everyone together to support Knoch basketball.”
Bauman said he’ll start to get to know his new team on Monday with a players’ meeting.
The job opened up when McNabb retired from the position. McNabb, who was hired as the boys basketball coach in 2012 after stints at Valley, Burrell and a few other places, said the decision did not come lightly.
“It was a really difficult decision because of the great relationships I had up there with the administration, my athletic director and especially the players,” McNabb said. “But you know, I’ve been a head basketball coach in the WPIAL for 24 years, and I think I’ve coached every year since I graduated college in 1983, so I wanted to take a year off and see what happens.”
Although he retired from coaching basketball at Knoch, McNabb won’t be far from the game as he plans on putting more time in at his Pittsburgh Basketball Academy in the Pittsburgh Mills Mall, where he coaches and provides training sessions for several basketball players from around the area.
“We’ll see how this goes, but my wife and I are going to travel a little bit and I still have that, and it’s been going very well,” McNabb said. “I still have a lot of kids there, so it keeps me close to the game. So I get to see Ryan (Lang) and other Knoch players, so I’m still helping a lot of players get a lot better and it keeps me close.”
He also didn’t completely close the door on returning to a sideline at some point in the future.
Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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