As a senior and a soccer player at Upper St. Clair High School (USCHS), my future was somewhat unclear. I played one of the midfield positions and we had just lost the WPIAL championship game to North Allegheny. West Virginia University was aggressively encouraging me to play soccer for their squad. Herb Lauffer visited USCHS to meet with two of my teammates. I also met with Herb but rest assured I was not one of his targeted recruits. I will never forget our conversation. He was very complimentary although, I really don’t think he knew much about me. He made me feel at ease about the decision I had to make. He was aware that WVU was courting me. Herb was upfront and candid about Penn State’s academic requirements, the Behrend soccer program in general, and about his specific thoughts regarding my skills and how I might fit in the program. He mentioned that the Behrend team consists primarily of underclassmen as most students leave for University Park after two years at Behrend. He went on to relate how this represented an opportunity for me but how it also could be a concern. The opportunity was that I may get more playing time as a freshman. The concern was if we could compete playing against teams’ predominately comprised of upper classmen. Herb was endeavoring to change this trend and wanted to know if I chose Behrend would I consider staying 4 years. Herb encouraged me to consider attending Behrend and play soccer for him and in the same breath he unabashedly told me that I probably would not play midfield and that he thought I was more suited to play stopper or sweeper. In my mind I was a midfielder so the thought of playing a purely defensive position did not appeal to me.
I was struck by Coach Lauffer’s candid conversation. It was incredibly comfortable even though he was telling me things that I didn’t necessarily want to hear and that were of concern to me. In the end I chose Behrend, Penn State & Herb Lauffer because of this conversation. My experiences as a player for Herb were consistent with that conversation. He always made me feel comfortable; he was always candid regarding my preparation, my play on the field, my academics, and my social life at Behrend. I didn’t realize it at the time but he was building a lifelong relationship with me. One built on trust and openness and candor. A relationship I grew to appreciate and cherish.
Coach Lauffer’s open and candid approach left a lasting impression on me. I try to emulate it in all I do. It has served me well.
Behrend Soccer 1977 – 1981