Pine-Richland baseball coach Wolfe earns Courage Award
When it comes to persisting, overcoming and conquering, not many can compare to Pine-Richland baseball skipper Kurt Wolfe.
Wolfe has filled his sports résumé with WPIAL championships, a PIAA title and several student-athletes who continued their athletic careers in college.
Wolfe battled stage IV colorectal cancer prior to the 2010 baseball season. Despite intense treatments, the coach promised his players he would not miss a game. Wolfe not only kept that promise but guided the Rams to a WPIAL championship that season.
The coach's willingness to put his players before himself set an example of unselfishness that is one of the rudimentary values of the program. In 2012, Wolfe's players banded together as a group known as the Wolfe Pack, a group that donates time and serves the community as well as assisting youth baseball programs in the area.
Now enjoying good health, Wolfe is more than a teacher, coach, mentor and member of the community. He represents hope.
For everything he has done, Wolfe was honored with an invitation to be inducted into the WPIAL Hall of Fame this summer. He also will receive the Courage Award, an honor that remembers former Freedom High school athlete John Challis, who lost his battle with cancer.
“I am very humbled to be mentioned and honored for this award created for John Challis,” Wolfe said. “I never thought about (being honored). I thought I was doing the right thing by not quitting on these young men. It ended up they helped me more than I helped them — they helped me get through the chemo, the crappy feeling. They ended up being great medicine for me.”
The championships are nice, but Wolfe is most proud of the Wolfe Pack and how the group has given back.
“It shows selflessness and helps them realize how blessed they are for all they have,” Wolfe said.
One thing that stuck out to Wolfe was a letter he received from a woman from the Big Blue Quest, an organization that raises awareness for colon and rectal cancer, in regard to the Wolfe Pack.
“The letter talked about what great young men they are and the (positive) way they carried themselves,” Wolfe said. “Those are the things I like to hear about — that is what makes me proud.”
Wolfe will be honored at a banquet June 7.
Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.