Holy Family loses without coach
“I knew they would come and play hard against us,” said Felician coach David DeFerrari, who said that he didn’t even mention the O’Connor incident to his team prior to the game. “We went ahead and prepared like it was just a regular game. They played hard and I was concerned that we might look past them.”
While the Holy Family players were instructed not to speak to the media, some of their parents did.
Shawn Smith is the father of the team’s leading scorer, Tim.
“It’s just wrong what happened,” Shawn said. “I think that kind of stuff happens all the time in basketball, especially in those kinds of drills. Coach O’Connor brought the team together and he apologized to everyone.”
Shawn coached Tim at now-defunct Cardinal Dougherty in Philadelphia. He had heard positive reports about O’Connor through his son.
“He’s a very intense coach and that’s why I liked the guy,” he said. “My son is very upset and I think they’re all upset about it. He was a Division I coach and brought some intensity to the program. He was definitely helping these kids. From what I’ve seen and what my son tells me, he was a very fair coach who lived and breathed basketball. He’s the kind of guy I want to coach my son.
“It’s very unfortunate, because all I heard about Coach O’Connor was good, and all the other coaches really liked him.”
John Mushman’s son, Sam, is another key member of the Tigers.
“At this point, it’s all too much,” Mushman said. “To be honest, it’s over and should be over. My son is so disappointed by all of it. I think we all should be looking toward the future now.
“But, losing a guy like that is very tough.”