LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. - And then there were two. Lebanon Catholic girls basketball coach Patti Hower joined the exclusive 700 club on Friday night when her Beavers beat Lancaster Mennonite, 57-43. In her 39th season on the bench, Hower became just the second Lancaster-Lebanon League coach to reach 700 wins, joining former Lancaster Catholic coach Lamar Kauffman who finished his career with 764.
"It's certainly a thrill, I think back of all the years, all the players," said an emotional coach Hower after the game. "It's all about longevity, anybody can do it if they coach long enough, and I've been coaching a long time."
Hower has been coaching at her alma mater for 39 years, leading the Beavers to a pair of state titles and 18 district titles.
During that time, coaching has become a family affair for the Beavers, with Hower's father Ed and her daughter Becky both serving as assistant coaches. Longtime Lebanon Catholic Athletic Director Mike Miller remembers when 3-year-old Becky would sleep underneath Patti's desk during practices. Years later, with her mother as her coach, Becky excelled for the Beavers, scoring over 2,000 points in her all-state high school career.
Miller has been there for every one of Hower's 700 wins. He believes the secret to her long lasting success lies not just in her strategies on the court, but off the court as well.
"She's always been great with the kids, great with the parents," he explained. "And she's not a screamer. You can tell when she's getting a little excited, she gets a little red in the face, but she holds it in until she gets the kids in the locker room."
Junior Neesha Pierre said she has never heard any current or former players say anything bad about Coach Hower.
"The best part about her is that she doesn't just care about us as athletes," Pierre said. "She always makes sure we're doing well and having a good time. She really cares about her players."