Bachnagel Named Clarion Co. YMCA Western PA Sportsperson of the Year

Norb Baschnagel
KNOX, Pa. – Landing in this area over 40 years ago, Clarion resident Norbert Baschnagel made it his personal mission to coach, teach and always pursue the proper angle in directing our youth and young adults.

(Photo of Norb Baschnagel (left) receiving his Western Pennsylvania Sportsperson of the Year award from Clarion County YMCA Sportsmanship 1 District 9 All-Star Game Committee member Ron Kopko Saturday at Keystone High School during halftime of the D9 boys’ All-Star game. Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)

For those reasons, the Sportsmanship I Committee felt it was more than appropriate to name the event’s founder this year’s Western Pennsylvania Sportsperson of the Year as presented by the Clarion County YMCA.

This is the 17th year of the Sportsmanship I All-Star game and it was Baschnagel who developed the game into what served as not only a valuable fundraiser for the YMCA but also another opportunity for the area’s top senior basketball players to have one more game with their former foes and teammates. But just playing the game wasn’t enough as Baschnagel made it clear that, as the name of the game suggests, sportsmanship be a main focus and backdrop of the event.

Baschnagel played basketball at the State University of New York at Buffalo and helped the Bulls reach the NCAA Division II National Tournament his senior year in 1965 and was named to the Mid-East Regional All-Tournament First Team. From there, he embarked on a long coaching career that started with the Bulls the next eight seasons as an assistant coach before moving into Western Pennsylvania.

He arrived at then-called Clarion State Teachers College and served as an assistant basketball coach there from 1974-81. He was also part of the staff at the college as first an Assistant Professor of Health and Physical Education and then Associate and Full Professorships until his retirement in 2013.

Baschnagel also coached men’s and women’s tennis, including the women at Clarion University for eight seasons from 1982-90. He also had a stint as the head boys’ basketball coach at North Clarion High School.

For many years, Baschnagel has conducted youth basketball camps and is a published author in that area.

But for as much success and impact he’s had as a coach and teacher, his ability as a volunteer, fundraiser and organizer has benefited the Clarion region for 40 years. He’s been a member of the Kiwanis Club for 25 years and received the Legion of Honor Award. He’s served as its president twice, vice president and helped recruit new members for a Kiwanis-chartered Circle K organization at Clarion University.

Baschnagel played an important role in helping bring the YMCA to the Clarion Area, serving as the first chairman of the Clarion County YMCA organizing committee and was on the Board of Managers for seven years. He’s held almost every volunteer leadership position with the YMCA and initiated and directed all of the Sportsmanship I All-Star Basketball games which has raised over $116,000 dollars for the Clarion County YMCA, Camp Coffman, PAWS and the Fitzgerald Camp Fund.

He’s had a long volunteer relationship with Immaculate Conception Church and School and served in many elected positions such as a School Board Member, Parish Council, and boys’ and girls’ basketball coach. He’s served as an usher for 23 years and is an active member of the IC Choir as a voice minister at Immaculate Conception Church.

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