Jim Forjan, longtime coach and administrator at York Catholic, dies at 83

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch
Jim Forjan, second from right in the back row, is seen is this photo when his grandson, York Catholic High School’s Andrew Forjan, seated in the center, signed his National Letter of Intent to continue his education and play golf at NCAA Division I Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.  (Submitted)

York Catholic High School is mourning the loss of Jim Forjan, a former coach and assistant to the principal who had remained active in the school community well into his retirement.

He was 83 years old.

In a message posted to the school website Friday, Principal Katie Seufert said Forjan was the greatest legacy to ever walk the halls of York Catholic.

Seufert, who graduated from York Catholic in 1996, said Forjan commanded respect in a crowd while also demonstrating humility with his actions.

Forjan began teaching social studies at York Catholic in 1959, the same year he started coaching the boys' basketball team, Seufert wrote. In 1970, he became the assistant to the principal and was responsible for overseeing athletics, extracurricular activities and discipline, as well as facilities and maintenance.

Jim Senft, former head basketball coach at York Catholic and a close friend of Forjan, said he learned from family members that Forjan died Friday morning.

Jim Forjan

More:York Catholic launches $8M capital campaign to celebrate 90th anniversary

More:YORK-ADAMS LEAGUE GIRLS' BASKETBALL: York Catholic looks primed for another playoff run

Rick Luckman, former athletic director at York Catholic, was a freshman football player at the school when he first met Forjan, who was coaching the football team.

Later in his high school years, he played on the basketball team under Forjan.

"He was a man who could walk into a room, in the auditorium, and raise his hand or snap his finger, and everybody got quiet," Luckman said.

After stepping down from coaching and moving into an administrative role, Forjan was still an active part of the basketball program, Luckman said.

Most of the coaches who followed Forjan adopted the basics of his offensive and defensive strategy, Luckman said, and Forjan often conferred with the coaching staff at halftime during basketball games, offering tips for adjustments the team could make in the second half.

"I don’t think there’s anyone that doesn’t have a story about Coach Forjan," he said, "and they’re probably all positive."

Jim Senft served as head coach for the Fighting Irish boys' basketball team from 2003 to 2008 and was a scout and varsity assistant before that.

"He cared so much, not only about York Catholic but the students and also the faculty," Senft said of Forjan.

When Senft took over the head coaching position from former coach Mike Keesey, Forjan and Keesey would attend games and get together with Senft at halftime to offer their knowledge of the game and their encouragement, Senft said.

Senft got to know Forjan outside of school, as well. For about 10 years, the two men vacationed together — Forjan with his wife, Patsy, and Senft with his family — in Stone Harbor, New Jersey.

Senft described Forjan as a dear friend.

"He touched a lot of lives, I know that," Senft said. "He surely touched mine in a special way."

Two of Forjan's grandchildren were accomplished student athletes at York Catholic.

More:York Catholic's Forjan wins Philly Junior Tour event

Rachel Forjan, who graduated from York Catholic in 2012, played on the girls' varsity basketball team before attending Elizabethtown College and scoring 1,000 points for the women's  basketball team.

Andrew Forjan, who graduated in 2017, played both golf and boys' basketball at York Catholic. He now attends Rider University in Mercer County, New Jersey, where he competes in NCAA Division I golf.

Information about services has not been posted publicly. Kevin Bankos,  athletic director at York Catholic, could not be reached for comment Sunday.