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Editor at Large

A true sportsman passes on

Honoring a Hall of Famer: Image posted on the Penn State men's soccer Twitter feed.
Honoring a Hall of Famer: Image posted on the Penn State men's soccer Twitter feed.

A gentleman and a Hall of Famer died last week – Walter Bahr.

Bahr, 91, was the longtime soccer coach at Penn State and father of Nittany Lion soccer players-turned pro football kickers Chris and Matt Bahr.

The father also was a soccer hero, having assisted on the goal in America’s stunning 1-0 upset over England in the 1950 World Cup. That victory catapulted Bahr and his teammates into membership in the U.S. Soccer Federation Hall of Fame.

Even without that accomplishment, Bahr deserved Hall of Fame status. He was a tremendous ambassador for the sport, played 10 years on the U.S. national team and coached Penn State for 14 years, 12 NCAA Tournament appearances and a gaudy 185-66-22 record. His 1979 team made it to the NCAA semifinals, he was named the soccer coach of the year in 1986 and he was inducted into the National Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1995.

And he was a gentleman.

Bahr taught phys ed at Penn State, too, and I had him for bowling at the lanes on campus by Rec Hall.

He was an extremely nice guy, well-mannered, kind and low-key. After showing us a couple of things about bowling, he let us alone to roll and have fun.

Grades were based on performance. The grading scale was, if I recall correctly, an A for a 145 or better average, B for 135 to 144 and a C for everyone else, as long as they showed up for class.

Near the end of the five-week class, Bahr said we could bowl games outside of class and submit the scoresheets. He said he would use those scores, in addition to our class scores, to calculate our final average and grade.

So, a bunch of guys submitted scoresheets with some alleged great games in the 200s – just so they could boost their bowling average to get an A.

Paper chase, indeed, and Bahr probably knew what was going on.

But he was true to his word about using those scores to calculate the grades.

So, farewell to Walter Bahr – a Penn Stater, a sportsman and a man with class.

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