MMI Preparatory School recently hired five new head coaches who are beginning their tenures during the 2015-2016 school year.
Tom Brown heads the MMI golf team, Michael Portonova D.C. coaches boys’ tennis, and Sean McLaughlin manages the baseball team. R.J. Gilgore is MMI’s new girls’ basketball coach and Katie Pavlick will helm the girls’ tennis team.
Brown was born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania and has served as an assistant golf professional at the Valley Country Club for the past five years. After attending Penn State University, he enrolled in the PGA of America’s Professional Golf Management program to further enhance his knowledge of the game. Brown specifically enjoys working with junior golfers to develop their skills and understanding of the sport. The Sugarloaf resident enjoys playing golf and traveling in his spare time.
Portonova is a lifelong tennis player and coach. He was recently named to the Middle Atlantic Conference’s (MAC) All Century Team for his accomplishments while attending King’s College. He was a three-time MAC Player of the Year and five-time MAC champion with three singles and two doubles titles. He went undefeated in conference play and was 71-2 overall in his college career. Portonova played tennis at NCAA Division I Saint Joseph’s University on a full athletic scholarship before transferring to King’s College to pursue his chiropractic career. He was nationally ranked in the United States Tennis Association (USTA) throughout his junior career and was No. 30 in the U.S. when he was 17 years old. He was on the dean’s list and received many accolades while attending Saint Joseph’s University, King’s College, and New York Chiropractic College (NYCC). He worked in the technique lab at NYCC tutoring underclassmen with the art of adjusting and was also the chairman of the intramural basketball and tennis leagues. He has previously taught tennis through camps and private lessons and was the Penn State Hazleton men’s and women’s head tennis coach in 2014. He has been the sole proprietor of Portonova Chiropractic, LLC in Hazleton since 2011.
McLaughlin has 11 years of high school coaching experience at Hanover Area High School and the Nanticoke American Legion program. He helped turn the Hanover Area team into a PIAA Class AA powerhouse. The Hawkeyes won six Wyoming Valley Conference titles in eight years from 2008-2014 under his direction and had a 40-plus-game conference winning streak. McLaughlin coached many of the same players to legion championships and regional berths during his time with the Nanticoke American Legion. He is a social studies teacher and head golf coach at Meyers High School in Wilkes-Barre and resides in Mountaintop with his wife and two children.
Gilgore comes to MMI with more than 18 years of coaching experience. He was a member of the basketball and baseball teams at Nativity BVM High School in Pottsville and earned a Bachelor’s degree in business management from Alvernia University. He began his basketball coaching career with local youth recreation leagues and Catholic Youth Organization programs. In 2008, he was instrumental in founding the North Schuylkill Junior Spartans basketball program, an organization that provides sound fundamentals to 225 area youth each year. He is also the founder and director of the Springers girls’ AAU program. Gilgore held the head coaching position at Upper Dauphin Area High School and Mahanoy Area High School. Prior to taking the MMI job, he served as head junior varsity and assistant varsity boys’ coach at Tulpehocken Area High School, where he helped lead the team to the District 3 playoffs for seven straight seasons. Gilgore lives in Schuylkill County with his fiancée, Amanda Mae. They have four children at home, two adult daughters, and one grandson.
Pavlick is a 2008 Hazleton Area High School graduate. She began playing tennis when she was seven years old and was the Lady Cougars’ number one singles player throughout her high school career. She has been assisting Valley Country Club tennis pro Rick Barletta with lessons and children’s tennis clinics since college and has won the VCC’s Club Champion title the past four years. Pavlick received a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education with a concentration in mathematics from Bloomsburg University and will obtain a Master’s degree as a reading specialist in December. She is currently a fourth grade teacher at Freeland Elementary/Middle School.