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East Brady football program looks to reunion

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

For more than a decade, the idea of an East Brady football reunion popped up during idle chatter among former players, but discussions never led to anything more, and the memory of the program that played its final season in 1990 slowly faded.

A group of former Bulldogs decided to follow through this year.

On Saturday, former players and coaches will gather at the East Brady Fire Hall for what is believed to be the program's first reunion.

"It's just going to be so neat to see all the old guys and just tell stories," said Bud Stanley, a former East Brady coach and one of the event's organizers. "Just to share stories will be priceless."

The reunion, which begins at 6 p.m., will primarily consist of socializing, Stanley said. There is no dinner planned, though refreshments will be available.

Event organizers gathered all their East Brady football memorabilia and encouraged friends to do the same. Bob Hollobaugh will conduct a presentation on the history of the program, which dates to 1924 — East Brady football did not have a team from 1940 to 1954. Afterward, any other person with a story will have an opportunity to step forward and share with the crowd.

"Anyone I've talked to has said it's a great idea," Stanley said.

Stanley, an East Brady player in the mid 1970s and the head coach from 1986-88, was one of many people who pondered the possibility of a reunion in the past. And like the others, he did not act on the impulse.

But during the 2010-11 school year, Stanley, a teacher at Kittanning, began to talk with Dan Wolfe, another teacher, during lunch periods.

Wolfe played quarterback for Stanley, and he, too, had a desire to revisit memories with teammates.

A third teacher, Katie King, learned of her co-workers' chats and passed word along to her father, Jim, a player in the mid-1960s who later became an assistant coach and then a prominent member of the booster club.

Together, the trio of Stanley, Wolfe and Jim King began to plan a reunion to coincide with the East Brady Riverfest, an event that often attracts former residents back to their hometown.

"It just kind of happened," Jim King said. "It was natural."

They contacted friends about the potential get-together, and the positive responses assured them of the reunion's viability.

Stanley declined to estimate how many people will attend the reunion, but he expressed plenty of confidence in a large turnout.

"(East Brady football) meant so much to the community," he said. "There was so much pride involved."

King suggested a possible attendance figure.

"If we have 200 people come," he said, "we wouldn't be surprised."

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