CLARION, Pa. – Norb Baschnagel, who had a stint as the head coach of the North Clarion boys’ basketball team in the mid-90s, will be inducted into the Clarion University Hall of Fame Friday, Sept. 3.
Baschnagale was originally supposed to be part of the Class of 2020, but that class was delayed for over a year because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The 32nd annual Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 3 at the Gemmell Center Multi-Purpose Room, located on the Clarion University Campus. It is open to the public. Tickets are $35 per person and are available online at www.clarion.edu/shof or by contacting calling 814-393-2572. Checks should be made payable to Clarion “Sports Hall of Fame”.
Baschnagel, who coached at North Clarion from 1995 to 1997, came to Clarion University for the 1975 men’s basketball season as an assistant coach under Joe DeGregorio and helped lead the Golden Eagles to an amazing 8-year overall record of 159-67 (70.4%) and a PSAC West mark of 58-22 (72.5%). Clarion won or tied for first place in the PSAC-West five times ( 1977, 78, 79, 80 & 81), won the NAIA D-18 title in 1977 & 1980, and qualified for the NAIA Nationals both seasons.
The 1977 team went 27-3 overall and won a school-record 19 straight games while going 1-1 in the national tournament. The 1980 squad went 23-9 and won its first two games at the NAIA National Tournament over Grand Canyon (83-75) and Loras, Iowa (79-71) before losing to Huron, S.D. (61-52) in the quarterfinals. The 1981 team posted a 23-6 record and was selected to play in the NCAA Division II Nationals losing in the Elite 8 to Cal-Poly. He had the pleasure of coaching greats like Reggie Wells, Alvin Gibson, and Joe Malis, along with current Kentucky head coach John Calipari along with so many more.
In the Fall of 1982, Norb took over a perennial losing women’s tennis program and turned them into champions. After three rebuilding seasons, the Golden Eagles began to take flight in the Fall of 1985 sporting a 9-4 dual meet record and a fifth-place showing at PSACs.
In 1986 he added Hall of Famer Lisa Warren (2000) to future Hall of Fame inductee Susie Fritz (2019) and Clarion posted a perfect 13-0 record and the school’s first PSAC Title. Tammy Myers, a 2011 HOF Inductee, was added in 1987 and Clarion became the dominant tennis program in the East Region winning PSAC Titles in 1987, 1988, and 1989. Over those four years, Clarion won four PSAC Championships and compiled an unbelievable dual meet record of 57-1 with the only loss coming against Division I Penn State. The Golden Eagles were 15-0 in 1987-88, 16-1 in 1988-89, and 13-0 in 1989-90. Clarion also went to the NCAA Division II Nationals in the Spring of 1988 (placed 8th) and Spring of 1989 (placed 7th).
Voted PSAC Tennis “Coach of the Year” in 1988 and 1989, Baschnagel also had a strong commitment to academics. He had a 100% graduation rate for players who stayed with the program for four years.
A member of the HPE Faculty at Clarion starting in 1974, he retired as a full professor in 2013.
Involved in the Clarion Community, Norb was part of the first group that started the YMCA in Clarion in the early 1990s and provided the early leadership that helped eventually build a brand new YMCA in Clarion in 2019. He started the YMCA Sportsmanship I All-Star Games in 2000 and ran through 2019 and so much more.
Earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees at SUNY-Buffalo in 1965 and 1968, Baschnagel and wife Beverly currently reside in Clarion. They have daughters Heidi Jane and Grace Elizabeth and sons Charles and Peter. Norb also has a daughter Nancy Ann and son Robert.
Joining Baschnagel in being inducted are Erik Burnett (1989-1992 Wrestling), Kaitlyn Johnson (2008-2011 Women’s Swimming); Malen Luke (1994-2005 Football Coach); Rollie Smith (2000-2003 Men’s Basketball); Stephanie Sutton (1998-2001 Women’s Diving) and Anthony “Tony” Vincent (1965-1967 Baseball).
Luke’s 1996 team led by East Brady native, Armstrong Central High School graduate (today he would have attended Karns City High School), and Clarion University head coach Chris Weibel at quarterback and Steve Wittee, an Eisenhower graduate, went to the NCAA Division II semifinals.