HONOR: Abe Stauffer earns induction into Pennsylvania soccer Hall of Fame

Abe Stauffer poses for a photo with his wife and son at the ceremony Jan. 27 when he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame. His son, Zach, played soccer for his dad at Central Mountain. His wife, Coral, can clearly be called a true “soccer mom” since having her husband devote his career to the sport and the two seeing their son play even well before his high school career. The ceremony took place at the PSCA All-State Honor and Awards Banquet in Camp Hill. Approximately 135 high school boys and girls soccer players were recognized for making All-State. Eight coaches were honored for winning state Coach of the Year. A total of 467 people attended the banquet. (Photo Provided)

Over the past weekend, veteran high school soccer Coach Abe Stauffer was inducted into the Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association (PSCA) Hall of Fame.

The event was held during the PSCA’s annual banquet at the Radisson Hotel in Harrisburg.

“Being named to the PSCA Hall of Fame is quite an honor. There are only around 55 coaches named to the Hall of Fame,” said Stauffer, of Lock Haven. “When I look at the list, I see coaches that coached against my high school when I played soccer.”

Stauffer couldn’t help but to continue to marvel at the prestigious list of people entering the PSCA Hall of Fame.

“There are coaches on this list that started coaching high school soccer, then moved on and finished their career as a D-1 college coach,” said Stauffer. “There are coaches in the Hall of Fame that have over 500 wins and/or multiple state championships.”

But why the humble pie with a resume like Stauffer’s?

Coach Stauffer’s teams won a total of eight League Championships, including three District Championships.

Stauffer was also selected as the league “Coach of the Year” an astounding 11 times, and earned the high-profile Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) AAA “Coach of the Year” in 1996.

So again, why the humble pie?

“Like I said in my speech on Saturday, you don’t get into coaching for honors like this,” said Stauffer. “You start coaching for the love of the game, to pass on your love and knowledge to young players, to promote your sport.”

Stauffer continued.

“But it is nice to know that if you stay with it long enough, you get recognized. And you don’t achieve honors like this alone,” said Stauffer. “I have many people to thank that helped me along the way, including my assistant coaches, the many players I had the pleasure of coaching, and the parents that helped organize the support for the teams.”

Stauffer even spoke about where it all began.

“Of course, I need to thank my high school coach at Ephrata High School, Lanny Ammon, who got me started in this great game. And my college coaches, Karl Herrmann and Mike Parker,” said Stauffer. “I learned so much about soccer and how to run a team and lead young men from these coaches. I was fortunate to work numerous soccer camps each summer where I coached with top notch coaches from around the state, the country and Europe.”

It all began in 1970 for Stauffer, back in his playing days at Ephrata High School, where he would play until 1972.

When Stauffer graduated from high school, he would then attend Lock Haven University from 1973-1976, where he would graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science, Secondary Education Masters Equivalency, plus 63 graduate credits, including education and coaching courses.

He would also play for several indoor and outdoor club teams.

“Locally, I worked at the LHU camps and I learned a lot from LHU Coaches Lenny Long, Rob Eaton and Doug Moore,” said Stauffer. “A coach does not achieve success on his own. Playing at a great soccer school like Lock Haven, working alongside other coaches, discussing and exchanging ideas helps a young coach get started and develop his own style.”

Another huge takeaway from his playing career has to be when he was able to win a gold medal at the Over-40 Keystone State Games in 1995, and then the very next year would help his team achieve the silver.

And then began what would become a highly successful coaching career.

It started in August 1977, when Stauffer volunteered as a student co-coach of the Lock Haven University JV team, a role he would keep until November of the same year.

When the fall of 1979 rolled around, that’s when Stauffer achieved his first boy’s soccer head coaching gig at Fannett-Metal HS in Willow Hill, PA. He would coach there until 1982.

Stauffer would then return home after taking the head coaching gig at Lock Haven High School, where he would coach for 17 years until 1999.

At LHHS, Stauffer would coach 18 players who went on to play in college.

He would win two District 6 championships in 1995 and 1998, including runner-up in 1996, and three league championships in 1987, 1996 and 1999.

And let’s not forget that Stauffer was a history teacher in the Keystone Central School District here for many years, mentoring students in the classroom, too.

But let’s step back: He started teaching social studies and coaching soccer at Fannett-Metal High School in Willow Hill, Pa., which is in northern Franklin County, about 30 miles northwest of Chambersburg. He taught and coached there until June 1982, when he was hired by Keystone Central School District to teach social studies and coach the boys’ soccer team, which was started in 1981 at Lock Haven High School. Abe taught U.S. history and world cultures at LHHS until 1999. When CMHS was formed, he taught world cultures, history and sociology until I retired from teaching in June 2012.

Lock Haven High School was his home when Abe won the elite Pennsylvania State AAA “Coach of the Year” award in 1996.

When Lock Haven High School, Bald Eagle-Nittany High School and Sugar Valley High School all merged to become Central Mountain High School, Stauffer was awarded the head coaching job with a bunch of rivals now-turned teammates.

And he didn’t disappoint.

From 1999 to 2011 as head coach of the Central Mountain Wildcats soccer program, Stauffer would collect an incredible career record of 168-72-24.

Similar to his tenure with Lock Haven High School, he would coach 18 Wildcats who would go on to play in college.

Stauffer would win a district championship with Central Mountain in 2000, and would be runner-up the next two years in 2001 and 2002, after only his first year as CMHS head coach in 1999.

Domination would also happen from the Wildcats’ program under Stauffer in the league, with CM winning a total of six championships in 1999, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010.

In total, Stauffer would rack up a 339-244-51 boys’ soccer career record with three district championships, runner-up four times, eight league championships, league Coach of the Year for 11 times and, as mentioned, the almighty state AAA “Coach of the Year” in 1996.

Stauffer coached 36 players who would go on to coach college teams, including three former players who kicked football in Division I and one – Robbie Gould – who plays professionally in the NFL. (Robbie’s brother, Chris, kicked professionally in the indoor pro league.)

He would also coach six All-Pennsylvania players, three Academic All-Americans and one All-American All East student-athlete.

And it’s not only high school boys he would impact: Stauffer coached the Central Mountain High School girls’ soccer program from 2015-16.

Truly a remarkable career.

And did you really think that was it?

Stauffer held a United State Soccerer Federation (USSF) licenses from 1981 and 1986, and an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma from 2006.

One of Stauffer’s lasting legacies will be the West Branch Soccer Club, which he founded.

West Branch has been an ongoing soccer club for youth in the region since 1984. He was president from 2007-08, and even now is vice president.

He’s also the director of the West Branch Soccer Camp for kids 5-14, a fundraiser for WBSC, which has been running since 1983.

And that’s not all.

Since 1984, he’s also been the coach of youth teams for both the West Branch Soccer Club and American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) for both boys and girls. Stauffer was also a soccer camp coach from 1978-2011 that included talent from Lock Haven University, Penn State University, Bucknell University, Millersville University, Elizabethtown College, and even the U.S. Military Academy.

From 1984-1996, he was the soccer event coordinator for the Lock Haven Indoor Tournament. Stauffer also held the same position for the High School Commissioner’s Cup from 1998-2011, and the Senior All-Star Game from 2000-2010, including hosting many college games at Central Mountain High School.

Also, not only has Stauffer spread his wings into the playing and coaching side of the game of soccer, but he’s also done some refereeing. He officiated Division I, Division II and Division III games from 1990-2004.

Oh, and check out this little gem: Stauffer is the first coach in this area of Districts 4 and 6 to be named to the PSCA Hall of Fame with the exception of Ken Fogelman, of State College, who was one of the founders of the PSCA.

Abe “Success” Stauffer, it’s got a nice ring to it.

We’re sure his wife, Coral, and son, Zach, would agree. (Zach played for his dad while in high school and then went to Abe’s college alma mater.)

“And I have to thank my wife, Coral, for putting up with my passion, for the many late or missed dinners, the phone calls, the meetings, and the preoccupation,” said Stauffer.

“I think coaches in KCSD, due to our location, spend more time on the road away from home, traveling to games,” he added. “So there was many times I got back late at night after a long road trip.”

Stauffer continued.

“We traveled far for league games and traveled even farther to find good competition for our non-league games, from Erie, to Pittsburgh, to Harrisburg, to Lebanon, to Gettysburg.”

In total, Stauffer figures he traveled well over 33,000 miles for all of the many away games.

And to the new PSCA Hall of Famer, it was worth every mile.