Northeast Times

McHugh Brothers give back to St. Matthew CYO

Broth­ers know best: Tyler (left) and Dylan McHugh guided St. Mat­thew JV to a CYO title. Team mem­bers be­hind them (from left): Sean Pedrick, Sean Coyle, Pat Do­nahue, Paul Hes­per, Tom Vis­con­to, Kier­an Mc­Groaty, Shane Boylan, Mike El­li­ott, Con­nor Mar­shall, Ian Kennedy, and Sean Re­illy. MARIA POUCH­NIKOVA / TIMES PHOTO

When Tom Schick­ling and Mike Gin­ley take a look at Dylan and Tyler McHugh, beam­ing smiles fill their faces. When you’re in­volved in CYO ath­let­ics as long as Schick­ling and Gin­ley have been, this type of re­ac­tion is in­ev­it­able when things swing back around full-circle.

Schick­ling is the ath­let­ic dir­ect­or of St. Mat­thew Par­ish in May­fair, as well as the school’s varsity high school CYO coach, while Gin­ley, in­volved in St. Matt’s bas­ket­ball since he was 19, has been its grade school coun­ter­part for the last 10 years. Dur­ing their time at their re­spect­ive po­s­i­tions, Schick­ling and Gin­ley have coached tons of kids, some of whom stay in­volved with par­ish ath­let­ics after their play­ing days have come and gone.

The McHugh broth­ers are ex­amples of this. Shin­ing ones, in fact. 

Tyler (St. Mat­thew Class of 2006, Fath­er Judge Class of 2010) and Dylan (2008, 2012) grew up in the neigh­bor­hood, play­ing for Gin­ley as grade school play­ers and for Schick­ling at the high school level. Each play­er won an Arch­dioces­an CYO cham­pi­on­ship un­der Schick­ling in their seni­or years.

Now, the broth­ers coach the St. Mat­thew high school JV bas­ket­ball pro­gram, opt­ing to give back to their com­munity the same way Schick­ling and Gin­ley have for years. On Sunday, Tyler and Dylan com­pleted their second sea­son in charge of the pro­gram, com­plet­ing a per­fect 19-0 sea­son that cul­min­ated in their own Arch­dioces­an cham­pi­on­ship as coaches at Fath­er Judge’s Fox Gym­nas­i­um. When the fi­nal buzzer soun­ded in St. Mat­thew’s 57-41 win over St. Max­imili­an Kolbe of West Chester, the broth­ers’ eld­ers were filled with pride.

“I’ve been here for 25 years,” Gin­ley said. “It’s a cycle. We ask kids every year when they gradu­ate to come back and help out. Our doors are al­ways open. You don’t get that at a lot of oth­er schools. It’s not just par­ents coach­ing their kids and ro­tat­ing through. We’ve had a struc­ture for a long time, a fam­ily at­mo­sphere, so to see these young guys come back and help is just a great thing.”

Ad­ded Schick­ling: “We al­ways talk about the par­ish and school be­ing the cen­ter of our neigh­bor­hood. Most of the people who grow up here stay in the neigh­bor­hood and re-in­vest their be­lief in St. Matt’s. It al­ways seems to re­vital­ize it­self. There’s nev­er a short­age of people to help whenev­er you need any­thing. There’s a con­stant out­pour­ing of sup­port.”

For Tyler and Dylan, the de­cision to stay in­volved was a no-brain­er, as the school build­ing and gym­nas­i­um were places of per­son­al bet­ter­ment for them­selves. When Dylan was cut from the Fath­er Judge bas­ket­ball team as a sopho­more, Schick­ling offered him an out­let where he could still com­pete at a high level against kids his own age. After Tyler gradu­ated (St. Matt’s pos­ted a 21-2 re­cord his seni­or sea­son), he came back two years later and as­sisted Schick­ling dur­ing Dylan’s seni­or cam­paign, when St. Matt’s went 21-4 and ad­vanced to the fi­nal eight of the state tour­na­ment (there are no state play­offs at the JV level).

In the two years since the broth­ers took over the JV pro­gram, they have pos­ted a 33-2 re­cord.

“The kids have fun,” said Dylan, 20. “It’s a place where you can come and mess around a bit, not like a high school team where you come in and it’s a full-time job. But they also take it ser­i­ously. Tyler and I each have ban­ners hanging in the gym from when we won, and our kids have said all along how they wanted that for them­selves. When you go through this school and bas­ket­ball pro­gram, you be­come a man at a cer­tain point. We take some pride in giv­ing back and coach­ing these kids. They like us, and we like them.”

“It’s a great feel­ing,” Tyler, 23, ad­ded. “We both won cham­pi­on­ships here as play­ers, and it’s al­ways a great thing to be able to look back on that later in life. It gives you something to talk about, something to re­mem­ber fondly.”

In their first sea­son on the job, Tyler and Dylan’s team went 14-2 and reached the Arch­dioces­an Re­gion One semi­finals. 

“Be­fore we did it to­geth­er, I was only with Mr. Schick­ling for a year, so it was still pretty new to the both of us,” Tyler said of the play­er-to-coach trans­ition. “But we worked through it to­geth­er. We don’t bump heads.”

Des­pite Tyler be­ing taller — and thusly, a big man in his play­ing days — and Dylan be­ing more of a shoot­ing guard, one might think their X’s and O’s ap­proach to the game might clash, but this hasn’t been the case.

“He (Tyler) was a big man, so I al­ways try to tell our guys to dump it in­side,” Dylan said. “But they’re kids, so they’re go­ing to keep on shoot­ing. If they’re open, I tell them to shoot, but that’s only be­cause I was al­ways a shoot­er. We love com­ing here and prac­ti­cing with them. Some­times we run with them. It’s all neigh­bor­hood kids, just like us. We have a con­nec­tion now, and we’re all close. They want to learn, they want to have fun and they want to win. I think they all de­serve it.”

“I think they showed what they are made of,” Schick­ling ad­ded. “They’re a team. They don’t rely on just one guy … they rely on each oth­er. I think there’s no ques­tion who Dylan and Tyler were as play­ers played a large role in this team’s suc­cess. They’re young enough where the kids have a com­fort level with them, but old enough to have had some suc­cess the kids can strive to­ward.”

The greatest thing, in Schick­ling’s mind, is how cyc­lic­al the pro­cess has be­come. He has been a mem­ber of St. Mat­thew Par­ish since 1987, and raised his own fam­ily in the neigh­bor­hood. Tyler McHugh re­cently bought a house in the area, and Schick­ling hopes one day Tyler and Dylan’s kids get to com­pete for their own ath­let­ic glor­ies.

“These guys, they just got it from an early age,” Schick­ling said. “They are trus­ted lead­ers in the com­munity. Without get­ting too syr­upy, it’s just a great place to live and raise kids, and we’re bolstered by the people that live in the neigh­bor­hood. 

“It’s not the easi­est thing to cor­ral fresh­men and sopho­mores and go in one dir­ec­tion, and they did it with re­spect and fo­cus. I told all the kids after Sunday’s game how proud I was of them. The most im­port­ant thing is they rep­res­en­ted their school and par­ish in the best way pos­sible. Even if they had lost, that would still hold true, but they did it with class and by win­ning every game, and that’s really all you can ask for.” ••

You can reach at emorrone@bsmphilly.com.

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