Column: Lasting memories of Livingston
An era came to an end on Friday.
Central York decided to open up the head coaching positions for football and boys' volleyball, meaning the end of longtime coach Brad Livingston's time at the helm of both sports.
Along with countless other York County sports fans, I have many great memories of the man that was head coach of football for 34 years and volleyball for 14.
The biggest challenge was picking out some of my favorite moments with Brad, whom I met in 1991.
So, here are a quick few, although I will likely think of more down the road.
Let’s start with the final game played at the old Central York High School in 2004. What a game. The Panthers trailed rival William Penn — a really good Bearcats team — by two scores.
Central came back and scored late in regulation, forcing overtime. The Panthers then stopped an explosive William Penn offense from scoring on four downs from only 10 yards away, and a short while later won the game on a field goal.
I still remember Livingston’s words after the game, when he said: “We closed the old gal out in style tonight.”
He was proud his team came back from a deficit, proud they beat their biggest rival. But I think he was especially happy that Panthers players and fans had such a great memory of the final game played at the school.
Fast forward several months. Central opened the next football camp by meeting in the early morning at the old school, then boarding buses to ride to the brand new building, arriving at their new home together.
I was happy to tag along. So somewhere between 6 and 7 a.m., I followed two school buses from North York to Mundis Mill Road in Springettsbury Township. It was fun watching as the players saw the sparkling new locker room at the school for the first time.
But the best part was standing on the field as the team started its first workout of camp. Brad stood among every one, telling jokes, laughing and truly enjoying the moment.
He looked at me and said, “You’ll have to forgive me. I am kind of giddy today.”
When a man that stature, tells you he is giddy, you go with it.
Many years later, we were on the floor of Rec Hall at Penn State as Central won the PIAA Class AAA boys' volleyball championship, a mere two hours after Northeastern won the AA title.
Brad was crediting the players, his assistants and everyone else. He spoke of also being a Northeastern fan that day — despite the fact the two were rivals all season long.
He was proud of his team, proud of the Bobcats and proud of York County. His eyes twinkled when he suggested that perhaps Central and Northeastern should play using the Codorus Creek — the dividing line between the districts — as the net.
Of course there was the time that former colleagues Matt Goul, John Clayton and myself were at Central to do an episode of the GameTimePA weekly football show.
So as everyone was commenting on my lack of height, Brad quickly joined in the fun and crouched way down, playfully becoming a part of frivolity — on camera.
I loved that moment, which no doubt remains among the GameTime video blooper reels.
Yet, my most telling Livingston memory has to be when I wanted to pen a column about Brad for the 2014 GameTimePA.com football preview. Everyone was willing to talk about the man.
Other football coaches that had known him for years all wanted to speak on Brad’s integrity, his coaching, his longevity, but mostly how intelligent he is. It is amazing how respected by his peers he is.
One of those was Red Lion coach Jesse Shay, who not that long ago moved down to the area after being on staff at Bishop McDevitt, where he was on a staff that reached the state championship game.
So here was Shay, who had reached the pinnacle of high school football coaching in the mighty Mid Penn, telling me how he looked up to Brad Livingston.
That kind of says it all.
Steve Navaroli is a freelancer writer for GameTimePA.com.