HomeBensalem TimesTom Heston named new Holy Ghost Prep head basketball coach

Tom Heston named new Holy Ghost Prep head basketball coach

This HGP alum of 2012 is taking over from Tony Chapman, who previously announced his retirement

A familiar face: Holy Ghost Prep alum of 2012, Tom Heston, is the new head varsity basketball coach. Source: Holy Ghost Prep

Holy Ghost Prep didn’t have to look very far to find its new head varsity basketball coach.

It was recently announced that Tom Heston, a HGP chemistry teacher and varsity assistant basketball coach for the last six years, was appointed to take on the role left behind by the legendary Tony Chapman, who retired after 45 years.

“I’m super excited about the opportunity,” Heston told The Times. “It was always a goal of mine, a dream of mine, to come back to Holy Ghost to become the lead basketball coach, and I’m just really lucky and blessed to achieve that goal.”

Throughout the past season, Chapman contemplated stepping away from the court and just maintaining his position as the dean of students. As March approached, and he became more serious about the decision, eyes began turning to Heston.

“People didn’t really need to ask me if I was gonna apply. It was pretty obvious that I was going to,” he said. “There were a few candidates, but Coach Chapman wanted someone who knew the Holy Ghost culture, some of what he did. He wanted one of us to continue on with that.”

Plus, it helps that the majority of students Heston will be coaching already know him, whether it’s from his assistant duties, the chemistry classroom or extracurriculars.

“It’s a small school, so everyone knows you,” he said.

Heston’s connection to HGP basketball goes beyond the last six years. In fact, he’s a 2012 alum of the school, and could be found on the court all four years. During his junior and senior years, Heston played on the varsity team under the tutelage of Chapman.

He was then a four-year starter at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, before becoming a teacher and assistant coach at Conwell-Egan and Archbishop Wood. Following his short stint with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, he returned to his HGP roots, and has been there ever since.

As Heston eases into the role of head varsity basketball coach, he’s eager to instill some lessons learned by Chapman onto the next generation.

“Coach Chapman, especially as a player, is a little intimidating, I guess, a little scary to some, just because of how intense he is at practice and how hard he expects everyone to compete,” said Heston. “Some of those things, like the competition, the toughness from the players, I want to make sure I instill that into our players because every team needs that to make sure we’re competing every day, working hard.”

But of course, Heston isn’t Chapman, and wants to put his own stamp on the Firebirds.

“I’m also gonna tweak some of the other things, maybe different offenses, try to be a little more uptempo than Coach Chapman,” said Heston. “He was very defensive-focused. I want to spend a little more time on the offensive end.”

Over the last six years, Heston’s responsibilities under Chapman, who boasts a 928-351 record, have steadily increased. Therefore, the outgoing coach feels confident that he’s leaving his beloved Firebirds in good hands.

“I think Tom is a great choice to be the next coach,” said Chapman. “He has shown outstanding loyalty to the program, both as a player and a coach, and great loyalty to me personally over the years. He loves HGP and I feel will work extremely hard to give the players a great experience.”

Gregory J. Geruson, HGP president, agreed: “Tom is the right man at the right time for the job. He is a student of the game. His work ethic and his commitment to the school and our Spiritan charism is incredible. He carries a quiet confidence that sets a great example for his athletics.”

HGP athletic director Craig Conlin added, “I could not be more excited to announce Tom Heston as the new leader of our HGP basketball program. As a Holy Ghost Prep alum, Tom will use his experience and knowledge of basketball to teach our young men many life lessons. I am eager to support him with this transition.”

Heston thanked his wife, Megan, for her support, and HGP for giving him this opportunity.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com

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