Down River – Feb. 11, 2016

A Fitting Honor:

Dale Florey was a member of America’s greatest generation, a Williamsport native who began his college schooling at then-Lock Haven State Teachers College in 1939, answered the call to service during World War II and returned to college, finishing his schooling under the GI Bill and graduating from LHSTC in 1948, nine years after he started.

The late Dale Florey then found a permanent home in Renovo. He became a faculty member at the old Renovo High School and remained there from 1948 until his retirement in 1970. And by all accounts, he did more, much more, than just teach and coach.

He had great success as a basketball coach and former players have been unanimous in their praise of his work directing the programs at Renovo High and its successor Bucktail High School. Perhaps current Bucktail athletic director Jack Hanobic said it best in The Record’s front page story about his former coach/teacher who served as best man at Hanobic’s wedding. He said he chose his former coach because he was his “inspiration, friend and the person who taught me so much about life.”

Therefore it is more than appropriate that Florey friends and supporters, middle-aged and older, will gather at the Buck gym in Farwell this Friday night to dedicate the gym in his honor. Hopefully those too young to have known the late coach Florey will get some sense as to how a coach and teacher, then as now, can have such a positive impact on young people.

The Record is proud to highlight the late coach’s accomplishments in this week’s issue and we’re excited to be able to provide live audio/video coverage of the dedication events from the Buck gym Friday evening on therecord-online. We hope to see you there.

And a Dedication Postscript:

On the subject of gym dedications, a decade or two back the old Bald Eagle-Nittany High School gymnasium was rightfully dedicated to Harold Adams, a man who logged years in education, including many as principal at BEN. He was, as Florey at Bucktail, revered for his concern for the wellbeing of his students.

There is a concern that with the transition from the old BEN High School to the Central Mountain Middle School that Adams’ contributions have been forgotten. If that’s the case (and Down River will track this down) this error should be corrected.

Which leads to: as we have moved from Renovo High to Bucktail, from BEN to Central Mountain Middle School, we need to preserve our history as is being done in Farwell on Friday night.

Which leads to word that four seniors at Central Mountain High School have begun a project to find out just how the consolidated Central Mountain school came about. These four young men, likely all about 17 years old at this point, grew up knowing only Central Mountain, the school now 17 years old. Students in the system likely know little about the history of Lock Haven High, Bald Eagle-Nittany and Sugar Valley High and the transition to Central Mountain, this unless their parents sat them down and tried to tell them about the sometimes herculean effort which ultimately created Central Mountain.

These four are in the process of creating a video history of the school’s creation, putting to video how the Wildcats came to be, utilizing interviews with community members who may have some recollection and/or were involved in the sometimes contentious battle to bring young people in the southern end of the county together in a unified middle and high school.

These four are Toner Corl, Bryce Bitner, David Petruzzi and Tanner Poff. We laud them for their effort to create a video history of the consolidation effort and we look forward to seeing their finished product.

There is a school of thought in some segments of the community that Central Mountain hasn’t “caught on” with the citizenry as had LHHS, BEN and Sugar Valley with their constituencies a generation ago. That point can be argued, but no one can argue that kids from this year’s Central Mountain senior class to all those that follow will know no school history other than Central Mountain and that should help bolster school/community support in the future.

And as for any aggrieved old Bobcats, Bennies or Indians out there still disengaged from supporting our young people in their school study and extra-curricular pursuits, 17 years into the new school setup might not be a bad time for you to reconsider and support the efforts of our children under the current setup.

A Final Note about Florey Gym:

It is appropriate that the dedication of the Florey Gymnasium falls almost 55 years to the day of the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World.” No, not Bobby Thompson’s 1951 homerun to deny the Brooklyn Dodgers a pennant, we’re writing about Bullhead Saltsman’s corner heave at Lock Haven University’s Thomas Field House back in February of 1961.

All western Clinton County basketball followers know that narrative. Coach Florey’s Railroaders derailed an outstanding Lock Haven High School team for the Central State League crown. And all LHHS followers know that Bobcat team was really good and really looking forward to playing Altoona in a District 6 playoff contest and advancing into the state tourney.

But all Railroader followers know Bullhead’s toss sent that Renovo-LHHS game into overtime and the Railroaders pulled away for the win and Renovo advanced into the playoffs (you had to win your league to get into the postseason in those days).

Renovo’s old Sixth Street gym is long gone, but as a member of that 1960-61 Bobcat team, I look forward to seeing Bullhead Friday night in Farwell and we’ll reluctantly re-live that night that lives on in Renovo hoop lore.