Both Springfield and Bellows Falls will have new head coaches calling orders for their varsity boys basketball teams this winter.
Mike Hatt will take over the Springfield program while John Hollar will head the BF program. Both have been actively working with their new crop of talent since the end of the school year in June.
Hatt grew up in Springfield and was a tri-sport athlete for the Cosmos, playing baseball, basketball and football. After graduating from Springfield College in 1982 with a Bachelor’s in physical education, he coached and taught physical education at Stevens High School in Claremont from 1984-1990, returning to Springfield High School in 1995 to serve as head coach of both football and basketball. His Cosmos football teams made consecutive championship appearances in 2008 and 2009, winning the D-III title in 2008.
While head coach of the Cosmos basketball program, Hatt brought Springfield to the semifinals in D-II 2004, their first time being in the final four since 1976. They went back to the semifinals in 2005. Coach Hatt had the pleasure of coaching his twin sons Cody and Kyle on those teams.
After that, Hatt went on to coach football at Brattleboro, before going back across the river to coach boys basketball in Newport in 2014-15. He led the Tigers to a 14-5 record, losing in the D-III quarterfinals. After just one year in Newport, Hatt stepped down to be a part of his son Cody’s basketball job at the University of Texas.
With Hatt’s proven track record at Springfield and his itch to keep on coaching, it’s safe to say the Cosmos got a good one.
Bellows Falls should also be excited for their recent hire, as John Hollar has experience sporting the Terrier purple and white.
Hollar served as an assistant for both the boys and girls basketball teams at BFUHS, being a part of championship teams for both.
He most notably served as an assistant coach for the beloved Jaybe Barber, who racked up five state championships in her 28 years at BF (four in D-II, one in D-I).
Hollar’s main focus on those teams was the defense.
Hollar served as an assistant for the boys’ team under Bill Murphy from 1988-200, after he served as the head coach at Newport High School.
“John has a great defensive mind,” said Murphy during a phone call discussing the recent hire. “Not only that, but he knows good fundamentals on both sides of the ball.”
These two knowledgeable coaches will meet Thursday, January 9 in Springfield to reignite a local rivalry that has been all Bellows Falls as of late. They will then meet Friday, February 21 in Westminster.
Each community should be excited about a new era of boys basketball on the way.