The next step on Nate Bollinger's coaching odyssey will bring him back to Pennsylvania.
The Eastern York High School graduate has been hired as a full-time assistant for the Saint Vincent College men's basketball program.
"I was looking for a full-time opportunity," Bollinger said. "It was an opportunity for me to grow as a coach. (Head coach) D.P. Harris is going to give me opportunities and freedom at Saint Vincent that can help me with my career."
Bollinger, 26, joins Saint Vincent, an NCAA Division III school located in Latrobe in western Pennsylvania, after spending the past three seasons at NCAA Division I High Point University in North Carolina. He served as the director of player development with the Panthers, a team that claimed the 2016 Big South regular-season title and a berth in the National Invitation Tournament.
Bollinger is thankful for his time at High Point, specifically learning under former head coach Scott Cherry, who played under Dean Smith at North Carolina and coached alongside now-Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga at George Mason. Cherry was fired from High Point earlier this year and was replaced by former Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith, a High Point alumnus.
"At High Point, the biggest thing for me was learning how to scout opponents," Bollinger said. "I grew exponentially in the X's and O's from coach Cherry. He taught me things he learned from Dean Smith and Jim Larrañaga. I got lucky to work there."
Stint at York College: Before joining High Point, Bollinger served as an assistant with D-III York College during the 2014-15 season. At York, Bollinger served as the program's recruiting coordinator while managing camps, operations, player development and serving as the staff's lead opponent scout.
"Nate separated himself from a large talent pool, and it was apparent early on that he would be the perfect fit," Harris said in a news release. "His experience at the Division I and Division III levels, along with his ability to recruit eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, and certainly his connections in the south made him a very attractive candidate."
Going to strong program: Saint Vincent finished 16-10 a season ago, including a 13-5 mark in the Presidents' Athletic Conference. Saint Vincent is one of the best D-III teams in the region, winning four of the last six PAC titles. Nearly a dozen players in Harris' 16-year career have played professionally overseas in either Europe or Australia.
Bollinger said the biggest transition for him going from D-I to D-III will be the amount of time you can spend with players.
"In D-III, you can't be with your guys until Oct 15," he said. "In D-I, you're with your guys all year round. That’s going to be tough for me, since I'm used to being hands-on in the offseason."
Ultimately, Bollinger said, his goal is to get back to the D-I level.
"Obviously, down the road, I want to get back to that level," he said. "One day, I’d love to be a D-I head coach. The percentages are against that, but who knows? That would be the dream."
Playing career: Bollinger played collegiate basketball at D-III Delaware Valley for two years before transferring to D-II Millersville. At Del Val, he totaled 693 points while helping the Aggies win a Freedom Conference championship and earn a trip to the D-III national tournament for the first time in program history. He was named a team captain in his sophomore campaign. Bollinger earned All-Freedom Conference second-team honors after ranking second in the conference in scoring, averaging 18.1 points per game. He also set a school record by scoring the fifth-most points in conference history with 50 vs. Wilkes University on Jan. 28, 2012.
After two seasons at Del Val, Bollinger transferred to Millersville, where he played his final two years, starting more than half of the games in which he played. Bollinger helped MU to a 32-25 record with two trips to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference playoffs, in addition to being named a team captain his senior year. He finished his college career with 989 points.
He earned his bachelor's degree from Millersville in psychology in 2014.
In high school, Bollinger earned back-to-back All-York-Adams League honors as a junior and senior. He helped his Eastern team to league and district championships in his senior year in 2010 — a season when his team reached the state semifinals and finished at 31-1.