Coach Klingensmith, it’s been a great ride

To the editor:

A legend is retiring. Coach Gary Klingensmith has announced he is retiring as head coach of the Juniata Indians after 50 years. For 39 of those years I have had the honor and pleasure of being associated with Gary and the team as the game videographer. Obviously in those years I have gotten to know Coach Klingensmith and his family very well.

I can say that I have never been associated with a finer group of people. Winning or losing, I saw nothing but class. I made nearly 200 bus trips with the team for away games. I saw the same Coach Klingensmith, win or lose. I also saw all the players over the years show great respect for their coach.

Perhaps his greatest legacy with be the mentoring of all the student-athletes who had privilege of suiting up and playing for Gary Klingensmith. During his tenure he has coached over 60 sets of fathers and sons. I would estimate that well over half the fans who attend Juniata Indians games have never known any coach but Gary Klingensmith.

I write this letter simply to say thank you, coach for everything you have done for this school, team and community. It has been an honor to have been able to work for you and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

And on a personal note, Gary, you and I made an agreement many years ago that we would retire together. At the time, you told me it would be in three to five years. Thankfully it was much longer than that. Now that you have announced your retirement, I am keeping my end of the bargain. I too will be stepping down at the end of season. What a great, great ride it has been. Best wishes in a retirement you have so richly earned.

Fred Parnell