Craig Conlin, announced as Episcopal Academy's new boys' basketball coach on Friday, realizes he has size 16-like shoes to fill at the Newtown Square school.
Conlin, 43, takes over for Dan Dougherty, who retired last month after guiding the Churchmen to a 547-254 record (.683 winning percentage) from 1976 to 1997 and 2000 to 2010. The 74-year-old went 621-285 (.685) in 36 seasons at Malvern Prep (1961-66) and Episcopal.
"He's absolutely a legend in Philly-area basketball," Conlin said. "You never want to be the one to replace a legend. But, as a college coach once told me, timing and opportunity don't often meet. So when they do, you have to go for it."
Conlin, a standout in hoops at La Salle High (1981-85) and La Salle University (1985-89), served as an assistant coach at Germantown Academy, under boss Jim Fenerty, for the last 15 seasons. He now will be coaching against GA in Inter-Academic League contests.
"I've only received positive feedback from the people at GA," Conlin said. "Jim Fenerty has been great throughout the process."
Conlin, a health and physical education teacher at GA's upper school, does have head coaching experience at the high school level. He was GA's varsity baseball coach from 1999 to 2007. He steered the Patriots to Inter-Ac League crowns in 2003, '04 and '06 (shared with Malvern Prep). The 2004 squad went 32-2 overall and 10-0 in the league.
"He has a lot of coaching and teaching experience," Episcopal athletic director Gina Buggy said. "He's a former basketball player, knows the Inter-Ac League real well, and he's very passionate about the game."
At La Salle University, the 6-foot-6 Conlin played under Lefty Ervin for one year and Speedy Morris, now at St. Joseph's Prep, for three seasons. "I've had the opportunity to learn from some great coaches over the years," he said.
In his senior year at La Salle, playing alongside star Lionel Simmons, Conlin, as a co-captain, helped the Explorers to a 26-6 record and a second straight berth in the NCAA Tournament. He was a second-team all-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference selection and won the Big Five Sportsmanship Award.
Conlin, who will be a health and physical education teacher at Episcopal's lower school, lives in Chalfont, Bucks County, with his wife, Elizabeth, and 11-year old twins, Shane and Shannon.