Kauffman honored in L-L Hall’s inaugural class

By on February 27, 2013

By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer

Photo by Michael Kauffman The Lancaster-Lebanon League's inaugural Hall of Fame class, which was honored at halftime of the L-L girls championship game on Saturday, Feb. 16 at Manheim Township. Honorees included (left to right) Lucy Snavely, George Gerber, Bob Rill and Jeanne Kauffman, who accepted for her late husband, Terry Kauffman.

Long-time Warwick athletic director and coach Terry Kauffman would have gotten a good laugh at the good-natured joke that was being played on his twin 11-year-old grandsons, Carter and Ethan.

Terry, who passed away in 2009, had been elected into the inaugural class of the Lancaster-Lebanon League Hall of Fame, and his wife, Jeanne, was preparing to accept the honor on his behalf Feb. 16 at the L-L girls basketball championship game at Manheim Township High School.

In the time leading up to the halftime ceremony, Terry and Jeanne’s son Michael was having some fun with his two nephews.

"Michael is just a character, and he had my grandsons going on Saturday, saying, ‘You know, boys, you have to give a five-minute speech,’" Jeanne laughed as she recalled the story. "And Carter is like, ‘Nana, did you hear that? What am I going to say?’"

Jeanne played along for awhile, but then coached Carter and Ethan to verbalize what the honor would have meant to Terry.

"I finally said to Carter, ‘If you have to say something, you say that my Hop-Pop would think this is wonderful, but other people deserve it more,’" she said. "(Terry) also would say, ‘I was honored already just to be in a profession that I loved.’ He loved teaching, he loved coaching, he loved being athletic director. He just loved everything he did."

Joining Terry in the inaugural Hall of Fame class were former field hockey official Lucy Snavely, former Annville-Cleona cross country and track and field coach George Gerber and former Conestoga Valley athletic director Robert Rill. All had a long history of contributions to the L-L League, and Kauffman was no exception. His career in scholastic sports spanned from being a star athlete at Warwick, to being a wrestling official and a successful coach with several Warriors’ programs, and finally to a highly-respected athletic directorship from 1991-2005. He was selected by his peers as the District Three Athletic Director of the Year in 2002-03.

"He was red and black through and through," Warwick softball coach Don Miller said, "and I think it showed with the programs he developed as athletic director, and the enthusiasm the sports programs had."

Prior to serving as Warwick’s athletic director, he coached junior high wrestling, junior high football, high school football, and high school girls softball. In addition to being a PIAA wrestling official, Terry was chairman of the Lancaster-Lebanon League Basketball and Softball committees. A 1963 Warwick grad, Terry and his son Marc formed a rare father/son champion combo with both garnering Sectional wrestling titles for the Warriors in 1963 and 1987, respectively.

Having a background as both an athlete and a coach no doubt influenced him in a positive manner when he took over in the athletic director’s office in 1991.

"I think being a coach really gives you a perspective of the job of being an athletic director," Miller said. "And he was a high school athlete too, so he had all the perspectives. He had experience as an athlete and as a coach, and was just kinda uniquely qualified in that regard; plus he did everything at Warwick. He was all about the kids and all about making high school sports better. He really went out of his way to work with the coaches and was very supportive of coaches and the kids."

Miller knew he would have Kauffman’s support when he was hired as the Warwick JV softball coach in 2000, before taking over as the head coach in 2004. After all, it was Kauffman who approached him when an opening became available on the staff.

"(Terry) said, ‘Hey, would you be interested in coaching girls softball,’" laughed Miller, who previously coached JV baseball. "I said, ‘Well, I never did it before,’ and he said, ‘You know, it’s just like coaching baseball. It’s just girls and the ball’s a little bigger.’ That was how he tried to talk me into coaching softball, and I guess it worked because here it is 13 years later and I’m doing it."

Bob Locker also has fond memories of being hired by Kauffman to coach at Warwick, first as a JV baseball coach in the ’90s and then as the Warriors’ head football coach in 2000. In fact, he recalls a conversation he had with Kauffman shortly after being hired for the football position.

"We sat and talked," Locker said, "and I had some concerns because here you are, you’re going to be a head coach and you wonder how people are going to judge you, and he was honest. He always said, ‘When I hire a coach, I understand I need to give them time to grow into the position and into an understanding of who and what they are, and for most people that takes three to five years because sometimes you find out it wasn’t what you wanted to do to begin with.’ I just always appreciated his frankness and his effort to make coaches’ jobs as easy as they could be."

Kauffman, no doubt, had a special place in his heart for football, having served 18 years as an assistant coach for Warwick after playing for the Warriors. In high school, while unable to practice due to an injury, he made his way over to the field hockey workouts, and that’s how he and Jeanne met.

As Jeanne quickly learned, Terry had a love of sports, and even later in life, despite the long hours that he worked at the school, both as a coach and athletic director, Jeanne accepted it because she knew that was his passion.

"He loved being with the students and the athletes," she said. "Even when I’d suggested that he retire a little earlier than what he did, I knew he’d know when the time was right. I didn’t push it because I thought, ‘No, he has to be the one to make that decision. And I think had he not been sick, he probably would maybe even still be doing it. He loved it."

"I’ll always remember when he hired me," Locker said, "he gave me a coffee mug that said, ‘Athletes first, winning second.’ He clearly said, ‘This is what we’re here for. Our number one priority is the experience we give the kids. Never lose sight of why you’re doing this,’ and that in a nutshell shows who he was."

His duties also included being the chairman for the Brackbill scholar-athlete awards and game manager at Warwick when they hosted District Tournaments in various sports. There were many other tasks that Kauffman also took upon himself that weren’t on his job description.

"There were times when he would get home late from a game and I’d say, ‘Why were you so long?,’ and he said, ‘Well, I was just helping the janitors,’" Jeanne recalled. "He just was always willing to go out of his way for anyone. He never felt like it was an imposition. He loved people, he loved sports and he loved his job. He loved what he did."

For a period of time, Kauffman was also the organizer of a Warrior Award which he gave to people throughout the school district. In his effort to recognize people who went the extra mile, he dropped them a thank-you note, a box of Wilbur buds and a rose.

"That’s the kind of person he was," Jeanne said. "He wanted people to feel appreciated."

Certainly, Kauffman was appreciated by many, many people. The L-L League’s Hall of Fame committee which selected the inductees from nominations consisted of Dick Balderston (current executive director of the L-L League), Pequea Valley AD Greg Fantazzi, L-S AD Branden Lippy, Lebanon Catholic AD Mike Miller and Garden Spot AD Todd Reitnouer.

Asked about her reaction when she learned that Terry was selected, Jeanne said, "I was pleased, of course. For a wife, I was so proud of him in everything that he did and to be honored for something like that, of course, it’s wonderful. But the sad part was that he wasn’t here to receive it."

She noted how special it was to receive the Hall of Fame award from former Conestoga Valley Kent Reigner, who was a close friend with Terry.

"I didn’t know he was going to be there, and that meant a lot to me that he presented the bowl to me," Jeanne said. "He and Terry just talked about everything, especially athletics. They were very close, so that was great."

Now, people will have an L-L Hall of Fame to talk about, and Kauffman has the deserving honor of being a member of its first class.

"If you look at his body of work, the coaching aspect, the years he gave to the district, obviously he was recognized and respected by his peers as an AD," Locker said. "Every coach I knew who worked for him had genuine respect for what he did." More KAUFFMAN, page A18

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