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 Post subject: mahanoy area golf facilty
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:29 am 
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Location: mahanoy city pa
Mahanoy Area golfers teeing off on NFL turf Commissioner Goodell's gift gives Golden Bears a place to fine-tune their golf game
By SAM MATTA (Staff Writer)
Published: August 20, 2009

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Bob Killian, left, coach of the Mahanoy Area High School golf team, watches some of his players practice Wednesday at the school's new practice facility.



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Lightbox link Bob Killian loves a challenge. Maybe that's what he's such a successful golf coach at his beloved Mahanoy Area High School.

If you know "Eggie," as he is known to his friends and family, who would have thought him to take up teaching one of the most difficult sports to play.

"Nah," Eggie laughed early this week when asked if he thought he'd be a high school golf coach. After all, it was on the basketball floor that he earned his varsity letters playing at one of the most prestigious basketball programs in the region, Mahanoy Area.

Killian, in fact, was a heck of a basketball player at Mahanoy Area, and was an assistant coach early on during his teaching career at the his alma mater.

However, Killian just seems to step up when a challenge is offered, and maybe that's why he was always volunteering for projects that drove him to give a hand no matter who was asking.

"I guess that's the way I am," he smiled.

A few years ago, Killian led a fund-raiser selling Bobblehead Dolls for one of his best friends and one of the greatest basketball coaches in the region, Mickey Holland.

It was in early February that Killian decided on a new project. But this one was for his golf team. His vision is for an outside practice facility at the school.

You see, Killian is the type of guy who adheres to the adage that the only way you can get something is to ask for it. And the only thing that can become of the question is either a yes or a no.

Killian sat down and decided to write a letter to the National Football League and its commissioner Roger Goodell.

"I figured, what the heck the only thing that can become of it is either I will get the yes or no," he said laughing.

The letter you see was probably something that few people could even conceive, or contrive. If he could pursued someone to give him artificial turf, that would allow him to make a practice range with netting for driving, chipping and an area for putting.

Sometimes the cost for his golf team can be prohibitive, and at a public school funds are limited and some athletes just don't have the money to spend on buckets of balls at practice ranges.

"Only 'Eggie' could think of something like this and come up smelling like a rose," said Tim Demko, a member of the Standard-Speaker editorial staff when told what Killian did as he chuckled with that Irish wit.

Killian asked the head of the biggest professional sports league if there was any extra artificial turf lying around, would the league offer it to his school?

"That was the gist of the letter," Killian explained.

And guess what?

"I get a call from a guy by the name of Tim Davey one day. He said he was from the National Football League and was calling on behalf of Commissioner Roger Goodell," continued Killian. "At first I thought it was a joke. But then I knew it wasn't a joke because no one knew that I wrote to the NFL, except me. Not even my wife."

Davey is one of the liaisons for Goodell and when he phoned Killian he was told that the commissioner wanted to make sure that the league followed up on this request.

"Dave said to me "I guess you thought that letters like this never get answered'," continued Killian.

"That was nearly two months after I wrote the letter that I received the call. Davey said that Commissioner Goodell wanted him to stay on top of this request. They told me that there was turf down at the (Louisiana) Super Dome and we could have all of it if we wanted. All we had to do is get it (transported) here."

Now Killian's wheels really started to spin.

"I had to act quickly," said Killian.

He laid his plan out to the superintendent of schools and the school board and everyone was on board.

Money was now the bottom line.

"We had a trucking company from Ohio that made two trips," noted Killian. "The first trip it cost $3,600 and the company charged us only $1,800; the second trip cost $4,600 and the company charged us only half again."

One of the biggest donations to help off-set the costs came from neighboring Wheelabrator Frackville Energy and Tim Porczynski, the company representative.

"Tim comes to me and said the school district has been very good to us and it was time that we started to pay back," Killian noted.

Payback to the tune of $5,000.

"They wrote the check and it will help us defray the cost of the netting that needs to go over the (range) area."

Laying the turf down was a challenge, so Killian called on his good friend from Sky Top Coal, Etore DiCasimiro.

"Etore is a great guy who is always helping out," continued Killian. "We got FabCon to donate sand and dirt that needed to be laid down and Etore sent down his over-head loaders and trucks to level out the area so that we could lay the turf down."

The turf is a mixture of various colors. There's the New Orleans Saints' color, Grambling University, Tulane and Georgia Southern, all of who play home games in the Super Dome.

It's a soft material and is ideal for a golfer to hit off and not jam his or her clubs into the turf, which at times can cause an injury similar to tennis elbow.

After DiCasimiro's men finished laying the turf, Etore called on Shenandoah businessman Johnny Matino of Shen Steel.

"He brought his cranes over and they drilled holes and we put up the poles that we need to have the netting attached," said Killian, again thankful for the free service.

"Bill the Cable Guy from Mahanoy City and Service Electric also pitched in and Tom Ward, an electrician also gave us free cable. Jack Ryan was a big help, too."

But there was more to come in the way of grant money.

"Jean Seibert, who is in the (James J.) Rhoades Building up town has really helped us and she is getting us grant money so that we can make this into a great facility."

Even though "Da Bear Range" is far from finished, it is already having an impact on the Mahanoy Area golf program.

"It's awesome," said freshman Johnny Brinich.

"Oh this is so good for all of us, that we don't have to jump in a car and go up to Mountain Valley and hit balls," said senior Eric Moucheron, who is one of the team's top golfers.

Kyle Kozie is also ecstatic about the new facility.

"I can come up here any time of the day and hit all the balls that I want and it doesn't cost me money," said Kozie, who is also a top golfer on the team.

Already Killian sees things spawning.

"We have a junior high program with close to 20 kids," he said. "This is will give us a big boost and the program is only going to benefit from this type of facility."

There will be no doors, no gates to lock and the balls will be there all the time.

"People lock things so they can be broken in," Killian said. "I won't lock this place up and there will be 2,000 balls. And if they steal them, then I'll get another 2,000 balls."

Defraying costs is still another factor to make this into a quality facility and the NFL came up big again.

The Commissioner had authentic autographed footballs given to Killian. One ball has signatures of the AFL All-Stars, another the NFL All-Stars and the third football is one used by the NFL.

Plus there are official NFL memorabilia tickets encased and protected. The biggest surprise came when New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush sent an autographed helmet and football in gold.

"Reggie Bush sends us this and it really knocked me (for a loop)," Killian said. "Here's an NFL player sending stuff to a golf team so we can chance it off and make money for our program. And he's 1600 miles away. He never heard of Mahanoy (Area)."

The first chance will be at the football team's home opener in two weeks, and Killian will have a special chance-off at the final game against rival Shenandoah Valley.

When all is said and done, Tim Davey wants to make a house call to see the NFL's latest contribution.

"Tim Davey wants me to call him when it's all finished, and we're all anxious to have him come to (Mahanoy City) and see what we've done."

Just another phone call and another request, and another project by one Bob "Eggie" Killian.

"My wife said this is my last project," he said. "We'll see

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the answer is always 1 if its enough.


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