Schae­fer in­ducted into Ha­zle­ton Hall of came

The Ambler Gazette - - FOOTBALLPREVIEWS - By Mike Prince

Back on jarch 2T, Bob Schae­fer, SR, gath­ered his cur­rent and for­mer play­ers, coaches and other mem­bers of the Chel­tenham girls’ bas­ket­ball fam­ily and an­nounced that he would be re­sign­ing from his po­si­tion as the head coach of the girls’ bas­ket­ball team.

Coaches step down from high school teams ev­ery year, but this time, it was a lit­tle dif­fer­ent.

ft had been more than three decades since some­one not named Bob Schae­fer had coached a game for the Chel­tenham girls’ bas­ket­ball team. And TRT wins, two state ti­tles E2MMM, 2MMTF, 11 state fi­nal four ap­pear­ances, four aistrict 1 Class AAAA crowns and 24 Subur­ban lne League ti­tles later, and Schae­fer had stepped down as one of the great­est coaches to ever be in charge of a high school bas­ket­ball team.

And as de­serv­ing as any coach could ever be, Schae­fer, a West Ha­zle­ton na­tive, will be in­ducted into the Ha­zle­ton Area Sports Hall of came this Septem­ber, cap­ping off a ca­reer that will most likely never be matched by any lo­cal high school bas­ket­ball coach.

“ft was a sur­prise Eto be in­duct­edF, but f was de­lighted and am very proud of it,” said Schae­fer, whose fi­nal record sits at TRT-1SP. “The Ha­zle­ton area has a tradition of be­ing very sports-minded and ap­pre­cia­tive of ath­letes and coaches who have achieved and you don’t see a whole lot of that any­more. ft cer­tainly came as a nice sur­prise for me.”

Schae­fer said that he was no­ti­fied by the com­mit­tee im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing his res­ig­na­tion at Chel­tenham.

Al­though Schae­fer be­gan teach­ing in the Chel­tenham Town­ship School aistrict 44 years ago, in 19SU, he wasn’t al­ways part of the Chel­tenham fam­ily. Schae­fer, af­ter fin­ish­ing a mem­o­rable bas­ket­ball ca­reer at West Ha­zle­ton High School, grad­u­ated from Blooms­burg with a bach­e­lor’s of sci­ence de­gree in el­e­men­tary ed­u­ca­tion.

Af­ter mov­ing to the Chel­tenham area, he taught for 19 years throughout the dis­trict be­fore join­ing Chel­tenham in what would be a 1S-year ten­ure. He would go on to coach football, base­ball, boys’ bas­ket­ball, tennis, vol­ley­ball and wrestling at Chel­tenham, be­fore find­ing his niche in girls’ bas­ket­ball in 19U1.

Schae­fer stepped in as head coach of a pro­gram which had just lost RT of its pre­vi­ous SM games over the course of three sea­sons. Now, P1 years later, and Schae­fer is one

of the most rec­og­niz­able coaches of any sport in Penn­syl­va­nia.

“In 31 years, I’ve done more and I had ac­com­plished more than I ever expected to,” Schae­fer said. “I didn’t think I’d want to go there for an­other three years, be­cause if I had done one more, I would’ve felt ob­li­gated to do all three be­cause of the younger kids. I didn’t want to see them split­ting up their high school ca­reers.”

That was one thing about Schae­fer. It was al­ways about the play­ers, not him.

“He was a fun guy and I think it was the work ethic that we brought to the pro­gram that made it so spe­cial,” Chel­tenham as­sis­tant coach John Ro­gal­ski said.

The in­duc­tion into the Ha­zle­ton Area Sports Hall of Fame isn’t Schae­fer’s first in­duc­tion into a hall of fame. In Novem­ber of 2004, he was se­lected for in­duc­tion into the Mont­gomery County Coaches Hall of Fame, join­ing such coaches as Bobby Wine and Tommy La­sorda.

Schae­fer was named the Penn­syl­va­nia State Coach of the Year in 1996 af­ter lead­ing the Lady Pan­thers to their first ever Dis­trict 1 cham­pi­onship. The team would even­tu­ally go on and win state ti­tles in 2000 and 2007, re­spec­tively, while earn­ing Mont­gomery Pub­lish­ing’s Coach of the Year Award in 2006 and 2007.

“He (Schae­fer) has built the pro­gram from the ground up by rec­og­niz­ing the tal­ent in the younger grades and de­vel­op­ing the skills of those play­ers,” said Chel­tenham ath­letic di­rec­tor Scott Layer in a let­ter of rec­om­men­da­tion he wrote for Schae­fer back on June 14.

He con­tin­ued: “…While his re­sume sum­ma­rizes pos­i­tive ex­am­ples of his suc­cesses, it also shows how Bob has fos­tered lead­er­ship in the school community. It clearly starts with per­sonal char­ac­ter. A strong be­liever in set­ting a pos­i­tive ex­am­ple for oth­ers, he mod­els with amaz­ing con­sis­tency val­ues of hard work, ded­i­ca­tion, con­sis­tency, or­ga­ni­za­tion, punc­tu­al­ity and at­ten­dance. He has earned the re­spect of the stu­den­tath­letes, par­ents and fel­lows coaches in the school, as well as around the Subur­ban One League, Dis­trict 1 and in Penn­syl­va­nia.”

This past sea­son, Schae­fer led a se­nior-dom­i­nated team to yet an­other state play­off berth, where the team would ad­vance to the elite 8 of the PIAA Class AAAA tour­na­ment. Though his team was knocked out be­fore it could make it to an­other fi­nal four, an over­all record of 26-4 and an over­achiev­ing sea­son with a mir­a­cle win late in the year was enough to make Schae­fer sat­is­fied with the fi­nal chap­ter in his long and sto­ried coach­ing ca­reer.

“They were cer­tainly a sur­prise, over­achiev­ing team and we had some tal­ent, but they went be­yond that,” Schae­fer said. “They were good kids who worked hard all sea­son and they wanted to win. It was a plea­sure to coach them and it was a nice year to go out.”

With many of his for­mer play­ers go­ing on to play col­lege bas­ket­ball at a num­ber of big-name col­lege pro­grams, Schae­fer has helped so many ath­letes to make it to the next level. He coached Laura Harper, who even­tu­ally would win a Na­tional Cham­pi­onship at Mary­land be­fore play­ing in the WNBA, be­com­ing the sec­ond player coached by Schae­fer to play pro­fes­sional women’s bas­ket­ball.

So where does the hall of fame in­duc­tion rank with Schae­fer’s other ac­com­plish­ments?

“It’s hard to place things like that for me as a coach,” he said. “It’s up there pretty high, but you can look at all the kids who have played with the pro­gram and where they went and how they grew up and how suc­cess­ful there were in life. There are a lot of things I’m proud of, but it was a real plea­sure coach­ing the play­ers I did and work­ing with the coach­ing staffs I did. It’s nice to see you’re ap­pre­ci­ated, though.”

Schae­fer will be in­ducted into the Ha­zle­ton Area Sports Hall of Fame on Sept. 23, when the Class of 2012 in­ductees will be hon­ored at a banquet at Genetti Ball­rooms in Ha­zle­ton.

Mont­gomery Me­dia / BOB RAINES

Up­per Dublin play­ers bat­tle for a loose ball dur­ing pre­sea­son prac­tice.

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