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Ptak moves up to the Hilltop

OGLESBY — Tom Ptak has made his mark with both the girls and basketball programs at St. Bede Academy. He will take on his next assignment with Illinois Valley Community College, moving to the Hilltop as the next head women’s basketball coach.

Ptak replaces Pat Cinotte, who resigned in late June.

“I am very excited he is on board,” IVCC athletic director Tommy Canale, who announced Ptak’s hiring Tuesday. “I was very impressed with his passion and desire to lead our program and I look for great things from someone so well respected in the IVCC community.”

Ptak was the assistant boys coach at St. Bede Academy the past two years and served as the girls varsity assistant at the Academy for 11 seasons. The last six seasons of that tenure he also coached the Lady Bruins junior varsity.

“I am honored IVCC has chosen me to lead their program. I have been following their program for years and I am thrilled to be working at the collegiate level. I know I have big shoes to fill – they have been so successful,” said Ptak, who also coached at Trinity Catholic Academy in LaSalle.

Ptak said he will soon contact all returning and incoming players for his 2013-14 team.

St. Bede athletic director and girls basketball head coach Tom McGunnigal worked alongside Ptak from 1997 to 2008 and saw his work with the boys’ team from 2011 to 2013.

“The loss of Tom to our boys program is as big as it was to our girls program in 2008,” said McGunnigal. “His knowledge of the game and his love for St. Bede will be hard to replace. This is a great pickup by IVCC and for women’s basketball in our district. He will pick up where Pat (Cinotte) had the program and run with it.”

Cinotte’s teams made two appearances in the National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament in four years.

During Ptak’s tenure working with McGunnigal, St. Bede advanced to the Sweet 16, won three regionals, three Christmas tournaments and never had a losing season. Since 2009, Ptak has worked with area high school girls as head coach of the IV Starz AAU team.

A 1975 St. Bede graduate, Ptak earned his mortuary science degree from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Skokie in 1985. He is a licensed funeral director and 27-year member and past president of the Illinois Valley YMCA board.

Ptak is an alderman and finance chairman for the city of LaSalle, past board member and past vice president of the LaSalle Business Association and past president of the Peru CSO (1987). He is married to Lynn Cawley.

“We are excited about Tom leading our program,” said IVCC President Jerry Corcoran. “He is an experienced coach and a respected business and community leader who will represent our team and college well.”

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