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Generosity honors late Upper St. Clair coaching icon

| Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010

Shortly after Dan Hentosz died of a heart attack in November, the Upper St. Clair community he loved so much started thinking about how to help his family.

"He left an unfinished mission. He still had so much to do here," his sister, Terry Hentosz, of Independence, said Saturday at a "Giving Party" hosted by Bob and Nancy Kelly in their Upper St. Clair home to benefit the Hentosz family. More than 125 people were expected to attend.

Hentosz, 42, a popular youth football and wrestling coach for the Upper St. Clair School District, died Nov. 27 in route to the Pitt-West Virginia football game with his 11-year-old son, Danny.

He left a legacy of caring for family, educating children and embracing the community, friends said.

It is the second fundraiser held for his family, which includes his wife, Brenda, and daughters Carissa, 13, Breanna, 9, and Angelina, 4, who has Dravet's syndrome, a disorder marked by severe epilepsy.

"I am truly blessed to have such a fantastic, strong, caring and loving community," Brenda Hentosz said in an e-mail. "The response from our community has been truly amazing ... Dan touched a lot of lives that Dan never fully realized himself."

The first event, held in December at Aurilea's Cafe in Bridgeville by the wrestling and football teams, raised more than $24,000, said Chris Lee, commissioner of the Upper St. Clair football program.

"It was an amazing response," said Lee, adding that the fundraising effort has gone beyond Upper St. Clair's borders, a testament to Dan Hentosz.

Brenda Hentosz said that while she is still in shock, the family "will move forward celebrating Dan's life."

"My husband truly had a wonderful life -- although too short -- and didn't realize what an impact he made on all of us at different levels," she wrote.

Yesterday's event was a prelude to a silent auction planned for the Upper St. Clair Swim Club meet on Jan. 9 and 10. Items collected yesterday will be used to create baskets and auction-type gifts. The Kellys were collecting sporting event tickets, team clothing, sports equipment, collectibles, kids toys and games, hotel/restaurant/spa/ gift certificates and cash.

Carissa Hentosz, an eighth-grader at Fort Couch Middle School, is a member of the swim club. Her dad attended all her swim meets.

Terry Hentosz said she would like to establish a scholarship in her brother's name for Upper St. Clair students next spring.

"He had a thirst for knowledge," she said. "We want to keep that legacy alive."

A separate trust fund to help pay for Angelina's health care costs has been established at Washington Federal Savings Bank, 3616 Washington Road, P.O. Box 1393, McMurray, Pa. 15317. Checks should be made out to the Angelina Hentosz Special Needs Trust.

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