By Sam Wilson
After 13 years as a teacher for Ellicottville Central School, Dave McCann has coached modified, junior varsity or varsity teams in four different sports.
McCann hopes that experience in various sports and at each level will give him some perspective in his new job responsibilities as the Eagles’ newest athletic director.
McCann replaces Chad Bartoszek, who left the school to teach, coach football and work as assistant AD in Salamanca.
“Well, I just saw an opportunity with someone going out, with Chad leaving, and I just stepped in to keep things moving, I guess,” McCann said of applying for the position. “I’ve been around the school and coaching different sports for 13, 14 years so I thought this would be an opportunity that would be something that would be a good new challenge.”
McCann hopes his experience at the school leads to some stability in the athletic department as it undergoes coaching changes like in football, where Jason Marsh succeeds Bartoszek, and girls soccer, where Tammy Eddy will take over for the retiring Mary Neilon.
“That was one of the big things I talked with the superintendent about was just trying to be someone that can hopefully stabilize this thing for a while and do this for long enough to get on our feet and keep moving forward,” he said. “There’s a lot of changes coming but I think they’re going to be positive changes and we’re looking forward to it.”
McCann, an Allegany-Limestone, SUNY Fredonia (undergrad) and St. Bonaventure (grad school) graduate, started working at ECS as a teacher in 2006.
He quickly got into coaching at the school, most prominently in boys basketball, where he worked up from modified to JV to his current post as varsity coach. He’s also coached modified volleyball, JV softball and recently coached modified baseball.
Working in several sports should help McCann, a middle school social studies teacher, help his coaches.
“I think so, especially coaching at the different levels and knowing the expectations for each level,” he said, “and maybe some of the situations that they’re going to encounter and things like that. Hopefully I have enough experience with those where I can be of assistance to our coaches.”
McCann, the 2016 Big 30 Coach of the Year, said he still plans to coach basketball for the Eagles.
“It might limit some of my other things outside of the basketball season, but the plan is right now to continue doing basketball,” he said.
For the bulk of his coaching career, McCann worked with then-ECS AD Karl Schwartz and observed the qualities he’d like to see from an athletic director.
“For a coach, it’s just helpful having someone that can make sure fields are ready, make sure that officials are all set up and we have staff at games like chaperones and clock-keepers and book-keepers,” he said. “It takes a lot of pressure off a coach when you can just kind of focus on coaching your team and coming to the games and preparing for that. You don’t have to worry about who’s going to chaperone, who’s going to run the score clock. In the past, our athletic directors have been really good at keeping that stuff going.
“I know how helpful that is, and taking their input on schedules and trying to make it happen. Working with Karl for the most part with basketball, it was always pretty easy that I would maybe set up a game and forward him an email and say this is the date and he would do the rest. I’m hoping to kind of do that with our coaches here and get as much of their input as I can and really just be of assistance to them.”
Mostly, McCann hopes he can keep the athletic department going in the same direction in his new position.
“I’m excited for the opportunity. I’m looking forward to a new challenge,” he said. “I’d just like to see our sports continue to have success, promote our athletes and coaches and try and link up with the community where we can. Try and strengthen that bond between our community and our athletic program.”