The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Harold Raker

November 1, 2012

Harold Raker's column on high school football: Eagles honor a leader of young men


To put the longevity of Marquette's coaching career in perspective, here are the head coaches for whom he has been an assistant: Harvey Boughner, DeAntona, Paul Stehman (twice), Bill Wolff Jr., Bryan Balavage, Mike Buriak Sr., the late George Schechterly, Mike Buriak Jr., Mike Carson (twice), Sam Stroh, Todd Rothermel and now Rodney Knock.

So what keeps him going? Surprisingly, it is not the incredible success of the program over the years, although he is proud of that.

For Marquette, it really is not so much about winning, or, sometimes, not even about football.

"A goal I have always had is to learn something every day I go on the practice field," he said.

"And that would not be just learning about football. It might be learning something about the individuals that I was coaching, and just talking to them. I think more than winning for me was teaching young people about life and what was going on and what opportunities they have to do with their life."

He said he wishes he could store it all in his mind. The one thing he learned early on and still lives by: "To gain respect, first of all you have to give respect, to the young people you are coaching, and sometimes coaches have a tough time with that."

He said some coaches need to remember that, and think of the players as young men. "They are there not just for the purpose of playing football. It didn't matter if they were staters or not starters, their lives were always important to me, and still are."

When you stay this long in a program, especially one of Line Mountain's caliber, there are plenty of highlights. Too many, in fact, for Marquette to mention, but among them, he said, was the way the community pulled together when a huge snowstorm threatened a home District 4 Class AA title game with visiting Western Wayne in 1995. "It showed how important football was to the community, how important the kids were and everybody pitched in. We had to shovel the field off to play the game."

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