Boosters, School District Works to Honor Bravin | News, Sports, Jobs

Courtesy photo Hollidaysburg cross country head coach Travis Singer (left) and assistant coach Cassie Kachur are seen here with former Tigers head coach Bill Bravin at a recent event.

By Scott Franco

For those who know Bill Bravin, it will come as no surprise that one of his favorite sayings is “Summer miles bring autumn smiles.” He’s a runner for you…and he’s also a guy who trains runners.

“Over the years, Bill has often said that a person is not limited by their level of talent,” says Jim Watt, who coached soccer in Hollidaysburg while Bravin coached cross-country and helped with the track over the years. “Success in racing was a matter of training and an individual’s tolerance for pain versus their competition. The winner is the person willing to sacrifice the most, work the hardest, and endure more pain than anyone else. These lessons matter as much today, if not more, than at any other time.

And now, at this time, the Cross Country Rappel Club and the Hollidaysburg Area School District want to honor the man who resurrected the cross country program in the 1970s and retired from coach in the late 1990s. They want to build a state-of-the-art finish line and timing system to be placed at the high school and name it after them.

Sheetz donated the funds for the Finish Line framework, and booster club officials say they are still looking for other companies and/or individuals to hopefully contribute. They specifically ask for the timing system which is expected to cost $7,500.

“At the finish line, a sign will bear Bravin’s name, serving as a permanent reminder of what it means to set meaningful goals and finish your race in the best possible way,” said Lauren Deur, treasurer of the booster club.

Alysia Watt, Jim’s wife and president of the booster club, truly feels that Bravin’s commitment to helping hundreds of runners throughout the region throughout the year should be honored.

“The finish line is a point of pride for running enthusiasts in our region and a meaningful moment to honor Bravin’s commitment to young athletes and encourage future generations to give their all so they can give back to others, she says.

Travis Singer, the current cross country coach at Hollidaysburg, knows how important having Bravin as a coach and teacher has been to him and others over the years.

“Coach Bravin had the power to influence everything that came in contact with him and he positively influenced the lives of many people he taught and coached,” said the singer.

A celebration run will be held Saturday, May 21 in Hollidaysburg High School to recognize Bravin and thank the donors and volunteers currently working on the project. They ask if you can donate money to send to the school athletic office, care of the cross country team, 1510 North Montgomery Street.

“He is extremely passionate about racing and helping children,” said Jim Watt. “When I was a football coach, he was my go-to person for running drills. Football players can run 7-9 miles in a game and fitness was a big competitive advantage for us thanks to Bravin’s guidance. .

These days, Bravin, who turns 80 in September, enjoys walking every day, attending cross-country ski races when he can, going out for lunch and catching up with old friends, according to his daughter, Kathy. She believes this honor brightens her spirit.

“After all the hours and effort he put into his athletes, being recognized will make his day, his year,” she says. “Bill loves being part of the action, socializing and sharing the fun of the sport. To see his dedication recognized would be the icing on the cake.

Want to run?

If you would like to participate in the honorary race on Saturday May 21, during which Bravin will be recognized and the finish line/timing system will be revealed, send your questions to

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