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Former Northern Division MVP Tait back at home coaching in PCL

Sean Tait led Father Judge to the playoffs in nine of 11 seasons during his time there. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Sean Tait remembers exactly when he became a Catholic League guy.

It was 1989, and he attended a basketball game between his dad’s alma mater, Cardinal Dougherty High School, and Tait’s future school, Father Judge.

If you’ve been to a Catholic League basketball game, you know that electricity big games bring, and anytime Dougherty played Judge, it was half-basketball, half-all out war.

“It dates back to my dad who played at Cardinal Dougherty, he played for Bobby Harrington,” Tait said. “From there he took me to my first PCL game, Judge-Dougherty probably 1989 maybe? I think I was in sixth grade and I fell in love with the whole atmosphere. 

“The game had everything. It had (Dougherty coach Mark Heimerdinger) on the sidelines, and Bill Fox on the other for the first PCL game. I remember the contrast between Heimerdinger and Fox was hilarious as a sixth-grader. It was Sunday afternoon packed. 

“I’m a St. Matt’s kid, had a decent career there, played at Judge for Coach Fox, so it’s in my blood.”

Tait is back where he belongs.

The former Catholic League Northern Division MVP, who jumped into coaching and had great stints at Archbishop Wood and Judge, is the new coach of the Conwell-Egan boys basketball team. And they got a good one who not only knows what it takes to win in the Catholic League, he’s a guy who loves and cares about the league.

And now he’s an Eagle.

“I’m really excited,” said Tait, who coached Wood to the playoffs before returning to his alma mater, where he coached Judge to a 132-133 record overall while coaching against some of the best teams in Southeastern Pennsylvania on a nightly basis. “It’s fun, you know I wasn’t ready to stop coaching and having my own program when I was at Judge, unfortunately it ended, one door closes, another opens.”

After being fired from coaching at Judge, he joined the staff at Delaware Valley University where he became an assistant to Muhamadou Kaba. Last year he was named associate head coach, and he loved coaching at the college level.

But when the Conwell-Egan job opened, it made sense for Tait to apply to go home to the Catholic League.

And he’s not coming just to play, he’s coming to win. And with everything that’s been going on at Conwell-Egan, he is in the right place.

The Eagles football and soccer teams are on the rise. The wrestling team has become a power, winning three straight PCL titles, and the baseball team was much improved this year.

Conwell-Egan can win, and they’re proving that in every sport now.

“I was impressed with everything when I interviewed with the panel,” Tait said. “The things they’re doing, the money they put in the building, they have great fields, the sports teams are all on the up and up and they want to be good. The landscape has changed, I’ve always been recruiting, but my niche at Judge was local. That doesn’t exist. This time around, it’ll be different. 

“I recruited at Judge, but it was neighborhood kids. They want to be good. 

“There are great players in that region, we will tap into that. Lower Bucks has a lot of good players. It’s a sleeping giant to tap into those areas.”

He also likes what he has to work with right from the start. 

“I’ve been around them for a month and there are pieces there,” Tait said. “I really think we are in the right position to be successful. We’ll be a tough out in the Catholic League.”

Tait isn’t just in. He’s all in, and he has been since the minute he changed his colors from baby blue to a darker shade.

And Tait is still a huge Father Judge fan.

He teaches there. It’s the same place he helped Judge reach the Palestra as a player, it’s the school he sends his oldest son Kevin to, and it’s the likely destination for his youngest son, Ryan, who attends St. Albert the Great.

But now his full attention this summer is turned to Conwell-Egan.

“As soon as I got hired, I had a team meeting, met them a bit and I put together a workout schedule,” Tait said. “And when we got to June, we were playing. JV summer league, varsity summer league, Philly Live, and we have two games playing with Black Cager (showcase tournament) in Allentown. We are up and running and getting everything going. We’re ready.”

Tait is excited to get started, and the basketball coach in him has him prepared in every possible way.

But he admits none of this is possible without his family, especially his wife Kate.

“Obviously this decision to get back in the PCL wasn’t done without long conversations with my wife,” Tait said with a laugh. “She’s been tremendous. When I was coaching all those years at Judge, when I was thinking of doing DelVal, we took a ride to Doylestown, walked around, we made that decision together. No doubt when I was at Judge, I was always doing something, and now it’s yearround with summer ball and workouts. Back in the day, Nov. 15 to March and that was it. Now it’s 12 months a year. I couldn’t do that without her.”

Tait will also be busy holding basketball camps. He’ll hold basketball camps and clinics with Philly Revolution at the John Marynowitz Gym, 9945 President St. in Bustleton, June 24-28, Aug. 19-23 and Aug. 26-30, and at Assumption BVM, 1900 Meadowbrook Road in Feasterville. The camps run Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. The cost is $160. Details available at phillyrevolutionhoops.com.

Tait will also hold a camp at his new school, Conwell-Egan, from July 15-19. The cost is $175 per camper. For details, email boysbasketball@conwell-egan.org.

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