Men’s Basketball Coach Resigns

By JOEL SILVERBERG

Radio Manager

Mark Bollinger has stepped down as head coach of the Piedmont men’s basketball team. Athletic director John Dzik confirmed that the head coach left the school following a cancelled season that lasted only seven games.

Since Bollinger’s resignation, Dzik has been named interim head coach.

“I’m going to try and do my best in that role along with my position as Director of Athletics,” he said. 

“We fully expect to put our basketball program on very solid ground next year and have this situation behind us.”

Bollinger, who has already moved back to Ohio with his family, cited personal reasons for leaving Piedmont.

“It was a decision we made as a family. It was not a rational decision,” said Bollinger. 

“It was an extremely tough move [to Demorest] on my family, especially our kids. We really thought things would work out and the adjustment would be easier than it was.”

Despite a short tenure, Coach Bollinger spoke highly of his time in Habersham.

“I am blessed for the lessons I learned during my time at Piedmont,” Bollinger said. 

“I am extremely proud of the guys that are still left in the program. Those guys should be applauded for doing the right thing, and when I say the right thing, I mean they did everything right like we asked them to do.”

Upon hearing of their coach’s resignation, many of the players admitted they didn’t see it coming.

“Honestly, when I first heard that he was resigning, all of my emotions just came out of me. I just started crying,” said Alton Honors. 

“I didn’t touch a basketball for a week. I just told him that I wish him the best and that I loved him. He’s my favorite coach that I’ve ever had.”

Will Skaggs said the season didn’t go as planned, and the team returns to square one.

“I think everybody’s upset that Coach B left, but in the long run, it was best for him and his family and everybody understood that,” said Skaggs.

The men’s basketball team had its season cancelled in December after injuries and disciplinary issues shorthanded the team’s roster.

“Our goal is to win games and we don’t want to do anything to mess that up,” said Honors. 

“The guys that aren’t on the team anymore did stupid things and they got kicked off. It was a tough year.”

During the last game, a non-conference game against Berry College, Piedmont had only seven men who were able to play.

“We started the game with seven players. Three minutes into the game, [Skaggs] tears his ACL and we play 45 minutes with six guys,” said Bollinger.

With six players, Piedmont trailed by seven at the half before rallying to send the game into overtime. 

The Lions lost 75-74 off a Berry buzzer beater with less than a second remaining.

“I told them after the game that I had been around a lot of teams and won a lot of games, but I don’t think I had ever been as proud of a team as I was that night,” said Bollinger.

The players are already looking forward to next season. While a different name and face will be at the helm, Bollinger’s time at Piedmont wasn’t a loss.

“As corny as it sounds, he believed in us more than we believed in ourselves,” said Smith. 

“The hardest part is not knowing what’s going to happen next or who they next guy’s going to be.”

Bollinger’s resignation is the second coaching change for the men’s basketball program in as many seasons. Dzik believes turning the program around is highly feasible.

“It’s a difficult situation, but it’s not undoable,” he said. “We just have to get to work, get after it, and rebuild.”