Nolan, who became an instructional support teacher in the Great Valley School District last year, succeeds Bob Clark, who had two stints with the Patriots boys' team sandwiched around a stint with the girls' team. Great Valley finished 10-14 last season, 7-11 in the Pioneer Athletic Conference.
Nolan, a guard at Wilkes where he scored 1,956 points in four seasons before graduating in 1990, is particularly anxious to begin the season because he feels the Patriots are capable of making some noise.
Among the reasons for Nolan's optimism are a trio of tall front-court players and a raft of guards, giving him considerable depth. Three of the players are transfers who are expected to step right in.
One of the transfers, senior Trevor Bassett, has been around before. The 6-foot-4 senior played for the Patriots as a sophomore before moving to Malvern Prep last season. Jeff Nicholas, a 6-0 guard, also transferred to Great Valley from Malvern.
``He's a pretty good player and should help us,'' Nolan said of Nicholas.
The other transfer is Adam DeJesus, a 5-9 senior guard, who came from Roman Catholic's powerful Catholic League program. He transferred to Great Valley midway through last season but did not play for the Patriots.
Up front, Nolan is counting on 6-6 seniors John Newdeck and Tim Ricciardi. At guard, he also will have Kevin Maples, a 5-9 sophomore who played as a freshman; 5-9 junior Jim Lopez; 6-1 Nick Reynolds, a senior striker for the Patriots' unbeaten soccer team; 5-10 junior Matt Hagan; 6-1 senior Kip Ketchum and 6-1 junior Brian Rice, 6-0.
``It's early but I feel we could be two deep at each position,'' Nolan said. ``I think I have a lot of talent for my first year as [varsity] coach.''
Nolan previously coached at the middle-school, freshman and junior-varsity levels in the Delaware Valley (Pa.) School District before coming to Great Valley. The year after he left there, Delaware Valley went to the final eight in the state Class AA playoffs.
He had the opportunity to coach the Patriots' JV team last season, but felt that he needed some time to get adjusted to his move here and his position at Charlestown Elementary School. He was offered the varsity position just before this school year began.
Before coaching upstate, the South Williamsport native gave pro basketball a shot with a tryout in Chicago. Scouts from the NBA and CBA attended the camps to look at prospective players.
``Obviously I didn't make it, but I gave it a shot,'' Nolan said.
Patriots fans can expect to see their team running and trapping, using a lot of man-to-man pressure.
``I want us to control the tempo of games. I know we have the horses to run this year,'' Nolan said. ``We'll adjust to the personnel when we have to.''
He concedes he doesn't know a lot about the teams in the conference. ``I do know that Pottstown is the traditional power, but they were down last year,'' he said. ``From what I hear nobody seems to be the dominant team. Pius [St. Pius X] won last year, but I understand they lost several players along with Owen J. Roberts and Phoenixville.''