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Friends, colleagues reflect on coaching legends

While consistently carrying themselves with class and grace, Troy Sowers, Brad Livingston and Bill Ackerman left a lasting impact on many people around them whether it be media, former players, referees or fellow coaches. Almost every person they interacted with can recall a favorite memory or story. Here are a few: 

On Troy Sowers

"What really stands out is the night Troy finally got what he considered to be his dream job, the night the school board voted him to be the next boys' basketball coach at William Penn was just a special evening. I went to the board meeting. This was something really big because there had been some coaching turmoil over a period of time and here was a guy right then and there ready to say, 'That stops now.' And he went to William Penn, he had a vested interest, he taught at the middle school for the district and he really believes in the school as an alum and an educator. To talk to him that night and hear how special the moment was finally becoming the head coach of his program — it meant so much to him."

--- Steve Navaroli, correspondent 

On Brad Livingston


On Bill Ackerman

"Bill was such a competitive guy. This was probably about 15 years ago, after a construction project at the school had not included any new gym or any renovations to the old one which was, shall we say, not the nicest facility around. I asked him if he was disappointed that he didn't get a new gym. He surprised me by saying no. He said something to the effect of 'This place is such a pit. Our fans are right on top of the other team, and when we pack the place, it's a real home court advantage.' B

I was covering an early-season game of West York's and before the game, he saw me and asked if we could chat after the game. Of course I told him yes. After the game, he informed me he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. And while I was shocked because that's something you never want to hear, Bill's thinking was he wanted to talk to me as a survivor and talk about the battle. I always admired Bill's old-school style, his passion for the game and for helping kids. This was another case where he was taking his passion into his recovery. A couple months later, the student body at West York was all wearing "We Love Ack" shirts and chanting when he entered the gym prior to a game. It was an incredible moment and I was so fortunate to be there shooting video. Bill was brought to tears, obviously very emotional but such a moment and it really tells you the impact a coach can have not just on his basketball team but on an entire community. 

--- Navaroli