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A-C Valley Names Gymnasium In Honor of Ron Botz


Front: L-R: Jerry Marron, player/coach; Jim Rapp, Andy Rapp, Denny Geiser, coach; Ron Botz, Dale Terwilliger, coach; Jim Marron, player/coach. 2nd Row: Brandon Kriebel, Dave Sherman, Rob Foust, Brad Rapp, Larry Michael. 3rd Row: Leo Marron, Keith McHenry, Mike Johnston, Eric Terwilliger, Bruce Fisher, Mike Rapp. 4th Row: Ray Fox, Darren Kriebel, Dan Johnston, Tim Orton, Dave Definbaugh. 5th Row: Dick Leavy, Jamie Preston, Vince Callender, Ken Ritts.

 

By Brap Rapp

A lot can change over forty, fifty or sixty years, and for many of the former Ron Botz players, coaches and managers, it has been just that long since they have shared the court with all-time winningest basketball coach of A-C Valley. Thanks to former A-C Valley coach Jim Marron who spear headed this project, a ceremony to name the A-C Valley high school gymnasium in honor of coach Ron Botz and his accomplishments was held on Monday, August 21st All in attendance enjoyed a trip “down the lane” one more time.

Ron Botz began his basketball coaching career at A-C Valley in 1964, some sixty years ago. In his first year as the varsity coach in 1965 his team finished 12-10.

His 1966 team which featured only two seniors, Keith McHenry and Bill Say finished 7-15, but a plethora of talent awaited in the 11th and 10th grade classes.

His 1967 team was the catalyst and the foundation of his future success. That team was the first in school history to go undefeated at home and finished with an 18-4 record. Unfortunately, not enough to make the playoffs as only one team advanced in the class “C” tournament, however, the foundation was set.

Basketball in the A-C Valley region became a tradition thru the week and on Friday nights. Falcon basketball inspired a community and brought people together. Closed circuit TV’s were installed in the cafeteria to handle the overflow crowd that could not get in the gymnasium. A player who took the ball out of bounds often had to side step a fan who was seated on the floor along the out of bounds line.

Coach Ron Botz in his twenty-nine year coaching career was selected as the Clarion County League Coach of the Year three times. His teams earned the honors of being Clarion County League Champions five times to go along with three District IX titles. His 1973 team was the Western PA Champions in Class “C” and State-Runner Up.

When he retired from coaching in 1993 he totaled 409 victories in the win column.


Ron Botz Family - Ron,

Rhonda, Paula, wife Judy and Leah.

Dick Leavy Photo

 

Botz who was surrounded by his family at the ceremony spoke of his years at A-C Valley. “I had a lot of good players”, lamented Botz. I am so thankful for all who were a part of “our” success. I would not be receiving this award if not for the support of those around me… the players, coaches, managers and the support of the administration who always gave me what I needed”.

In an emotional speech Botz recognized and gave a heartfelt thanks to the Lord above who provided him with so much… especially the support of his wife and family. “We had many late night suppers together after practice nights. My kids spent many hours in this various gym.” Fittingly that same gym will forever be the Ron Botz gymnasium. A story which will be told to his grandchildren and their grandchildren.

Former players and coaches Jerry Marron and Leo Marron opened up the ceremony and spoke about their former mentor. Jerry, who played on the 1967 team, also coached with Botz as the J.V coach for 1983-1984 season and also spent many years as an educator in the A-C Valley school district. “I want to thank you for all you have given to the program, you have been a great mentor and friend and I can’t think of anyone more deserving for the impact you have had on the A-Valley basketball program over the years, stated Marron.

Leo Marron, who played on the 1973 team, thanked Botz for his leadership and inspiration on the court. “You know you kind of had an excitement about the way you approached the game…. we could have run up the score on many teams but that was not your style. Unlike it is done today… there was no need to disgrace a 15-16 year old kid.”

As if the games were not entertaining enough many enjoyed the enthusiasm brought by Botz and his assistant coach Dale Terwilliger. “I think I may have gotten a few technical files when I coached, lamented Terwilliger, who was on hand to recognize his former coach, friend and mentor. Ron would sit me down and say… “What did you do that for”. The two spent many years together on the bench and in the gym motivating and shaping the lives of many players. It was never about could you do it… it was a, find a way mentality, which was the foundation of success. “I am honored to be here for my friend, co-worker and coach who is honored here today for the impact you have brought to the community and the A-C Valley basketball program”… spoke Terwilliger.

A presentation and commemorative gift was given to Coach Botz by A-C Valley school board member Kelly Terwilliger.

Dr. William Jordan, Principal of the A-C Valley school district was on hand to present coach Botz with a memorial plaque that will be hung outside the entrance to Ron Botz gymnasium.

A reception was held after the ceremony in the newly dedicate Ron Botz gymnasium.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the A-Valley Foundation can contact the school.

A lot will change in forty, fifty, sixty years… but let us remember, there will never be another time like this!

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