ST. MARYS – Longtime Elk County Catholic High School varsity boys basketball coach Aaron Straub entered the 2013-2014 season with 688 wins over the course of over 30 seasons coaching the Crusader program. Now in his 32nd season, he needed just 12 wins to record his 700th varsity boys victory, and he achieved that milestone on Monday evening as the Crusaders defeated the Kane Wolves 66-26 at home at the ECCHS gymnasium.
Copyright 2014 Ridgway Record
Straub reaches career milestone
By Becky Polaski
St. Marys, Pa. – Longtime Elk County Catholic High School varsity boys basketball coach Aaron Straub entered the 2013-2014 season with 688 wins over the course of over 30 seasons coaching the Crusader program. Now in his 32nd season, he needed just 12 wins to record his 700th varsity boys victory, and he achieved that milestone on Monday evening as the Crusaders defeated the Kane Wolves 66-26 at home at the ECCHS gymnasium.
Late in the game, once it became apparent the Crusaders had the victory secured, members of ECC's student section removed the gold T-shirts they had been wearing to reveal white T-shirts spelling out "Congrats 700 wins!" in honor of Straub's accomplishment.
While the occasion marked his 700th win coaching ECC's boys' team, it was his 727th career coaching victory overall as he spent two seasons heading up the girls' team before taking over the Crusader program to start the 1982-1983 season.
As with win No. 700, Straub's first career boys varsity win also came in front of the team's home fans. He remarked after the game that he was unable to recall that victory, though he noted that he can "vividly remember" many of the team's losses over the years.
Straub's first win came in his very first game, played two days before Thanksgiving on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 1982 against Ridgway. ECC won that contest 76-46, and a newspaper account of the game stated that the Crusaders "served notice that they are a team that is not to be taken lightly." Those words have held true throughout Straub's coaching career thus far.
As coach of the Crusaders, Straub has never had a losing season. His worst records came in 1998-1999 when he was 16-15 and 2002-2003 at 14-13. He has won 17 District 9 Class A titles and two District 9 Class AA titles, and led his squad to a perfect 33-0 season in 2005-2006 en route to the PIAA Class A title.
Straub credited the success he has achieved over the years to three things: the grade school basketball program established by the late Conrad Reuscher, the quality of the athletes he has been able to coach and the coaches who have assisted him over the years, and the support of his family throughout his endeavors.
Straub began by talking about Reuscher, who recently passed away.
"I certainly understand our success that we've enjoyed here in our program is directly related to what was established by Mr. Conrad Reuscher over 40 years ago in the Cavalier program," Straub said. "He started a grade school basketball program that taught fundamentals and was the first in our area to really set up a program that way. Mr. Reuscher just passed away two and a half weeks ago. The success that we've enjoyed from the early 70s on has really been due in large part to the grade school program that he established."
The athletes that have come through that program, as well as others who have made up his teams over the years, have worked together to execute his game plans and make all 700 of his victories possible. Over the years, Straub's assistant coaches have also put in long hours helping to prepare the team for each game.
"I've been blessed to coach some not only outstanding athletes, but outstanding young men that have worked hard, have been good role models, and have represented our school very well," Straub said. "I've also been very fortunate to coach with some great teachers and coaches that just have coached the game and taught the game and been very good mentors to the players that they've coached."
He added that being able to coach in a school with values such as the ones held by ECCHS has also been a factor in the success he has enjoyed over the years.
"We are a faith-based community and a faith-based school, and that really makes my job very enjoyable, very easy, and very rewarding," Straub said.
Finally, he acknowledged that everything he has accomplished thus far in his coaching career would not have been possible without the support he has received from his family.
"The support from Joanne, A.J., Douglas, and Allison has allowed me to coach as long as I have coached, and it has allowed me to coach the way I think we need to coach in terms of the time commitment that's necessary," Straub said.
Looking to the future, Straub indicated that his list of coaching accomplishments is still being written.
"I hope to keep enjoying the good health that I have and be able to continue to coach for a long time," he said. "It's been a very rewarding career so far, to say the least."