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Schlosser still feels close to area

Published April 16. 2010 05:00PM

Bob Schlosser has never forgotten his roots.

The Tamaqua native, who went on to star on the hardwoods at Marian Catholic and East Stroudsburg University, always likes to reminisce about his playing and coaching days back home and at Allentown

Central Catholic where he led the Vikings to three PIAA Championships, winning two of them.

Schlosser, who has been men's basketball coach at Elizabethtown College for the past 20 years since leaving Central, was recently inducted into the Lehigh Valley Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Via Basketball Classic recently.

"It's always been a special area for me," said Schlosser when asked about what the induction meant to him after all of these years.

"Obviously this is where I really started and over the years, we look back and say this is a real hotbed for basketball. It really is..

"Travis Crozier, one of my first players at Etown, played at P'burg. Bob Porambo, the year we went to the Division III Championship, was from Liberty. We're always trying to recruit kids from the Lehigh Valley and Schuylkill League."

He is also high on North Schuylkill's Steve Ennis and Marian's Drew Sherkness, whose father Andy played on one of the two Colts teams he coached.

Schlosser was an assistant at Central for two years before he got his first head coaching job at Marian, his alma mater. After two successful seasons with the Colts, he took the job at Central during a time when the Lehigh Valley had some outstanding coaches.

"I think about the coaches who were here when I was here,"Schlosser mentioned. "Dick Tracy, John Donmoyer, Stan Sutphen, all of those kind of guys, who were coaches who I learned from when I was coming up.

"It's great to come back and see a lot of faces I haven't seen in a long time and remember the good old days."

During this past season, Schlosser's Central Catholic 1984 State Championship team was inducted into the school's hall of fame. Neil

Boyle, a member of that team and brother of Notre Dame of Green Pond head coach Pat Boyle (who also played for Schlosser at Central), introduced him at the induction banquet.

He was also inducted into the Marian High School Hall of Fame in recent years.

Neil talked about how special it was to return to Rockne Hall for the induction and share his high school career with his wife and kids.

One of the things he shared with those in attendance about his coach was how his mother noticed one night at dinner that he was eating with his fork in his left hand. When she went on to reprimand him, he politely told her that he was doing it because coach told him he had to work on being a two-handed player instead of one.

From 1981 through the 1989-90 season, Schlosser's teams compiled a record of 204-73 at Central. And needless to say, he turned around an Elizabethtown College program being just as successful on the NCAA Division III level as he was on the high school circuit.

The Blue Jays have 309 wins under him. His .600 career winning percentage is the best of any E-town head coach at the school for more than two seasons in the history of the men's basketball program.

In 1992-93, he was named MAC Northwest Section Coach of the Year after guiding the Blue Jays to their best record in almost 30 years. He was named MAC Commonwealth League Coach of the Year in 1998-99 after leading the Blue Jays to a second-place league finish and a first-round MAC playoff victory. He earned the Commonwealth Conference Coach of the Year award in 2000-01 after the Blue Jays' 20-6 season, and repeated as the conference's Coach of the Year following Elizabethtown's 29-3 effort in 2001-02.

Including the Blue Jays' 2006 Commonwealth Conference semifinalist finish, Schlosser has now coached E-town in 29 postseason games over the past 18 years. From 2002 to 2004, he guided Elizabethtown to an unprecedented three consecutive NCAA Division III Tournament appearances and three straight Commonwealth Conference titles. The Blue Jays' 2001-02 team finished as the NCAA Division III national runner-up.

His three sons have gone on to play high school basketball at Lancaster Catholic and his oldest son Ben was also a member of the Blue Jays continuing his college career at Elizabethtown.

Whenever I'm lucky enough to run in to him on a trip to an E-town game or when he's on a scouting trip, he always asks about someone who he remembers from back home.

Don't expect the long-time mentor to step away from the game any time soon, either.

"As long as I still have that burning feeling to coach in my stomach, I'll be there. And I still have it," he said.

And don't be surprised to see him coaching the Blue Jays in the Division III Championship once again soon and winning it all this time.

Ask any of his former players ... he knows how to get 110 percent out of them.

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