The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 31, 2012

Tony Penna Sr. a community star

The Tribune-Democrat

— Working in one profession for more than four decades is a rarity these days. But Tony Penna Sr. talks proudly of the 42 consecutive years he spent in Johns-town-area schools coaching, teaching and mentoring young people.

Now he says it’s time to step aside. He has earned his stripes, as well as a rest.

As reported by our Mike Mastovich, Penna has been a part of the scholastic sports coaching scene since 1970, including stints at Johnstown Vo-Tech and Greater Johns-town. He recently resigned after three seasons in his latest role, as Ferndale’s football coach and athletic director.

When we reminisce about the past few decades in high school sports, we recall names such as Page, Litwalk, Bailey, Fetzer, DeMarco, Gouse, Clark, Minchau, Renzi – and certainly Penna.

These men and women have helped mold our young people while dedicating themselves to coaching jobs that pay relatively little when the number  of hours spent are considered.

And for most of them, it has come with a lot of support and understanding from spouses.

At Ferndale, Penna and his wife, Barb, handled multiple duties.

“I don’t think people realize her and I ran the concession stand while I coached,” Penna told Mastovich. “My wife and I fed every junior high football player and every varsity football player before and after every game.”

And we’re pleased that he added: “I’m not done. I have plans. I want to work with young kids in this area, kids that don’t have much, and I want to do it for free and help the community that has given me so much.”

We hope as much as Penna has given to it.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.