By Matt Smith
You could say what’s old is new again at Strath Haven.
Jim Connor, Mike Connor and Issac Jones were brought aboard Kevin Clancy’s staff after spending the last few years as assistant coaches at Cardinal O’Hara.
Jim Connor was a longtime lieutenant of Clancy’s during Strath Haven’s run of dominance in the 1990s and early 2000s. Mike Connor (Jim’s son) and Jones helped the program capture district titles in their heyday. Jones played two seasons in the NFL.
Veteran staffers Dan Shaffer and Erik Hollingsworth also have been instrumental to the Panthers’ early success this season.
“The staff has meshed real well. I even have Jim back coaching the offensive line, which is a huge help,” Clancy said. “There were discussions back and forth with those guys in the offseason. We all wanted to make sure we were all compatible with each other and it’s worked out great. … I remember talking about this in the spring and the way it’s working out now is the way I hoped it would work out when we were discussing it in the spring. Those guys, both Connors and Jones and everyone on my staff, are all really smart guys and really good football coaches. I feel pretty fortunate, to tell you the truth.”
With a 4-0 record, the Panthers sit atop the Central League in a three-way tie with Garnet Valley and Marple Newtown.
You could say those fresh faces – to this generation of football talent in the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District, anyhow – have been major influences on the program.
“Our new coaches have been great and they have helped everyone on the team become better players,” senior linebacker John Wilson said earlier this season.
The Panthers are one of five remaining undefeated teams in Delco.