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Pine-Richland coach to receive Courage Award as part of WPIAL hall of fame ceremony

| Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 1:06 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pine-Richland coach Kurt Wolfe sends home Andrew Nussbaum to score during their Section 4-AAAA game against Allderdice on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, in Richland.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pine-Richland coach Kurt Wolfe talks with senior outfielder Shane Heim during their Section 4-AAAA game against Allderdice Wednesday, April 10, 2013, in Richland.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pine-Richland coach Kurt Wolfe greets designated hitter Jamie Switalski at third base during their Section 4-AAAA game against Allderdice Wednesday, April 10, 2013, in Richland.

While cancer patient Kurt Wolfe was having trouble with a clogged port during chemotherapy treatments, he kept thinking about the game.

“That was wasting time,” Wolfe, the Pine-Richland baseball coach, said of the potentially life-saving procedures. “I was running late.”

But Wolfe never missed a game through four years of treatment and three surgeries on his liver, colon and thyroid. While doctors gave him a 25 percent chance of survival, he somehow found the strength to lead Pine-Richland to the 2010 WPIAL championship, hours after a chemo session.

For his efforts while fighting stage IV colorectal cancer and keeping up a coach's demanding schedule, Wolfe is the WPIAL's 2013 Courage Award winner. Wolfe will be honored at the Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremony June 7 at the Green Tree Doubletree Hotel.

The day of the port malfunction also was the day of a semifinal game against Upper St. Clair at Washington & Jefferson's field. “I kept telling the chemo nurse to hurry up. (She said) ‘This is more important.' And she was right. But I wanted to get there.”

Weak from the chemo, Wolfe let his father drive to the game.

“I, literally, got there as soon as the game started and ran right onto third base (the coaching box),” he said.

Pine-Richland won, and a few days later defeated North Allegheny in the championship game. It was Wolfe's second title after leading Pine-Richland to WPIAL and PIAA championships in 2006, his rookie year as coach.Today, Wolfe said the cancer is “stable,” and he continues to coach. “It was his medicine,” his wife Jennifer said.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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