Years ago, Ron “CI” Insinger, a freshly graduated college student looking for a job, was offered two choices.
The Sullivan County graduate was offered the head coaching job at Canton, and a coaching position at Loyalsock. The decision might have been a difficult one at the time, but the final choice changed the course of history for one local program.
Insinger obviously chose Loyalsock and quickly started to build something that would become an institution throughout District 4 and beyond. Insinger recently captured his 1,000th career win as Loyalsock defeated Hughesville over the weekend. It was a monumental achievement for the coach, whose first win came against the now-defunct Lock Haven High School.
“It’s crazy, but I was offered the Loyalsock job and the Canton job the same day within an hour of each other,” Insinger said. “I was flipping a coin and went with the best of three. It’s crazy. It’s like the snap of a finger. Every year just goes by faster and faster.”
For Loyalsock fans, players, and family they were blessed the coin flips went the way of the Lancers. After that first win against Lock Haven, CI continued to be a coaching staple on the benches of Loyalsock’s basketball courts. The balloons and banners gave it away, but when Loyalsock defeated Hughesville, giving coach Ron “CI” Insinger his 1,000th career win, the celebration was thundering.
“I just feel very fortunate,” Insinger said. “I just feel very fortunate I landed a position at a young age, and it just blossomed. I’m very goal oriented. Every week I set goals for myself. That’s what keeps me going. It motivates me.”
His players ran over to the bench, quickly got in line for handshakes, and even more quickly ran from the line to pick up their coach. Insinger’s family, friends, and former players celebrated the longtime coach, who smiled throughout multiple postgame interviews. He was trailed by his grandkids, who were decked out in white shirts featuring a single numeral that together would display the milestone number.
The 1,000 wins will be the shining numbers attached to his coaching resume, but the reactions of players and family will be the lasting legacy.
When Bam Brima, who played one of his best games of the year against Hughesville, came to Loyalsock, he didn’t know anybody in the area. As he walked into Insinger’s office prior to basketball, he found his first friend and has since been one of the best athletes and students Loyalsock has seen in recent memory.
“CI was my first friend here,” Brima said. “To get this for him and be a part of this means a lot to me, because I know it means it a lot to him.”
Insinger has been a force since taking over the Loyalsock job years ago. He built a family atmosphere that has trickled down to the smallest contributions of every player to have worn the Lancers maroon and white uniforms.
The benches for his team cleared, but so did the stands as people rushed to the coach to celebrate the win.
“It just warms my heart,” Insinger said. “It fills my heart with joy that I can help someone or touched their life in some way or another. They were excited and wanted to play.”
The game was almost not played Saturday afternoon as the year’s first major snowstorm barreled down on the area. Even as the fans made their way to the gym, small flurries started to fall. By the end of the game, many expected to see their cars buried in the parking lot, but that just didn’t happen. Everything appeared to be working for the Lancers and Insinger as they celebrated the accomplishment.
“I was so afraid we were going to get a phone call,” Insinger said of the weather. “You can still see the grass outside, so I think we’re alright.”