legacy of Dave Podbielski left a lasting impact on many
people in the Beaver Valley and now his reach has extended
into a new generation.
Podbielski was a
long-time Beaver Falls and New Brighton basketball coach who
left his mark as both a coach and player prior to his
untimely death in 2002 at the age of 48. Dave Podbielski won
PIAA championships as both a player and coach at Beaver
Falls and also captured WPIAL titles as a coach of the
Tigers and at New Brighton.
Podbielski was a
guard on Beaver Falls' 1970 team that won WPIAL and PIAA
basketball titles, a team that featured standout player
Oscar Jackson. Following his graduation from Penn State in
1976, Podbielski stepped into coaching when he became the
head coach at New Brighton and led the Lions to the WPIAL
championship with a win over Clairton in 1980. In that game,
future Beaver County Sports Hall of Famer Hal Bentley tied a
WPIAL championship record by scoring 40 points.
But it was at his
alma mater, Beaver Falls, where Podbielski enjoyed some of
his greatest success. He became Beaver Fallsí head coach in
1987, taking over for the legendary Fran Chan, and in 1994
reached the pinnacle, guiding the Tigers to both the WPIAL
and PIAA titles.
championship game that year, held at Pittís Fitzgerald Field
House, is considered one of the greatest in District 7
history. Beaver Falls beat rival Blackhawk when the Tigers'
Troy Sheets made a 3-pointer at the buzzer at the end of the
second overtime for a thrilling 63-60 win.
Beaver Falls went on
to win the PIAA title that year with a win over Academy
In 1996 Podbielski
took the head coaching job at Class AAAA Seneca Valley,
where he coached his son, Andy, and led the Raiders into the
WPIAL playoffs in his first season. Podbielski had 250
career victories at the time of his passing.
Podbielski was also
active away from basketball. In 1994 he was named The Beaver
County Deanery Man of the Year for his catholic service. He
also volunteered his time coaching youth baseball.
legacy is enduring as Andy Podbielski followed his fatherís
footsteps into coaching and is now the head coach at Beaver.
In just three seasons he has turned Beaver from perennial
doormat to Class AAA title contender.
Along with Andy, Dave
and his wife, Karen, had sons Stephen and Joshua. Andy
Podbielski will accept the Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame
induction on behalf of his father.