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A Basketball Family’s Journey of Love, Faith, and Community

A Basketball Family’s Journey of Love, Faith, and Community

Heartfelt congratulations to CI – Ron Insinger, Assistant Coaches Jeff Everett and Randy Glunk, the amazing Lancer players, and the Lancer nation. My staff has done a great job in the pages ahead, covering the 3A Pennsylvania State Champion’s run to the title.

The longest journey begins with that first step, or maybe, in this case, I should say the first dribble. That special moment in time that culminated with firetrucks leading the team to Ken Robbins Stadium, a gold medal celebration, and the outpouring of love from the Lancer community was almost a half-century in the making.

There are always the highest of highs, lowest of lows, and then times that just flat out test your soul and very being in a journey covering a lifetime.

I have known CI since I was 13 years old. I played for him, my sons Jimmy and Hunter played for him, and we all enjoyed great basketball success. But that story is for another day. I had a chance to talk with CI this past week, and my words ahead cover his personal journey.

CI and wife Carol were off to an amazing start in the Township. CI and good friend Coach Barry Boyer took over the boys’ program from Coach Chic Hess. Their success was immediate, as was the respect the two men received within the school and Township. During these early years, the Insingers were blessed with the birth of their first child, Scott, who came into the world on June 17th, 1975. It was a great time for the young couple. Scott was his dad’s little buddy — like only the fathers and sons who are reading this can completely understand. CI would leave school at lunch or before practice just to run home and see his little man.

As the team was preparing to begin the 1977-78 season, there was much optimism. The Lancers were coming off a 30-0 regular season and had a great core group of players. Nick Hrenko, Jim Bell, Mike Huss, Darryl Jenkins, Rick Harbach, Mike Young, Rob Bauder, and John Berresford. All were very talented and wanted to win the school’s first District IV title, avenging where the season ended the year before with a sound defeat at the hands of Lourdes Regional.

This team would go on to win the West Branch Conference Championship, but there was no district or state gold. However, this might have been the most important team in CI’s journey that recently ended with gold.

Just as the 1977-78 season was ready to tip-off, tragedy struck the Insinger family and Loyalsock community. In less than 24 hours, Scott came down with spinal meningitis and went home to the Lord on November 2nd, 1977.

I can’t even imagine the pain they must have felt. The young father and mother were emotionally devastated. You never know where your next step in life’s journey is going to take you. Unfortunately, some circumstances are just simply incomprehensible and even more difficult to ever recover from.

As CI and Carol were dealing with this, another tragedy hit Loyalsock. Coach Barry Boyer was holding practice in his absence; afterward, young Lancer John Lewis was on his way home and tragically killed in a car accident. The school and the community were reeling, trying to make sense of what had occurred in less than a three-day span.

The emotions of losing his son and where CI was personally were understandably overwhelming. He went to his friend and Assistant Coach Barry Boyer and asked him to take the team for that season. He didn’t feel he could help the team in any way or give the boys the effort and energy needed for a successful season.

Coach Boyer simply told CI, no, we need you here, we want you here, and you need to be here. This is where you belong. Being in the mindset that CI was, this was the last thing he wanted. It was a struggle for the young coach just to make it through the day. At this very point of his life, if he would have gone to sleep and not woken up, that would have been just fine.

This is where that group of young men stepped up, reiterating the words of Coach Boyer.

This talented group of teenage basketball players talked with CI and told him; we want you here as our head coach; everything will be just fine. Please just show up; we will support you the same way you have trusted and supported us. “We got this” in today’s terms. Coach Boyer and the boys convinced CI to stay on the bench and to use this time to heal in whatever way needed.

The Loyalsock school and community did the same thing wrapping their arms around the Insingers. It was this outpouring of love that began with Coach Boyer and those players that extended right into the school and community that allowed the healing process to begin.

It is this love, support, and friendship that has kept CI on the sidelines. He has made it his lifetime goal to give as much back to the Lancer program and community as he received in his darkest days.

This has provided his motivation, energy, and effort to become what is the most amazing number to me in regard to CI.

He has been the head coach at ONE school for 47 seasons. The memory of his son Scott is with CI every day, especially when he steps foot on the basketball court. His coaching legacy is truly his best way to honor his son’s memory, as well as his commitment to shaping young men’s lives.

In the near future following that season, the Insingers were blessed with daughters Laurie and Lisa. They became an amazing family unit working for the good no matter what they did but especially for Lancer basketball. Until just recently, Carol was a permanent fixture at the scorer’s table. She was much more than the official scorer. Carol always provided calm, love, kindness, and that special bag of hard candy that coaches, players, and officials always enjoyed. A Lancer tradition overlooked by many.

Those two little girls that were always around when I was playing have grown into amazing ladies and provided plenty of grandchildren for their mom and dad.

They are raising their own little Lancer nation. Laurie married Ron Emery and have little Ronnie and Kayla. Lisa and her husband, Marc Walter, are blessed with Grant, Kasey, and Carolyn. They all can be found supporting their grandfather and Lancer basketball. I especially enjoy interviewing Ronnie and Grant, CI’s little assistants and ball boys. They are always paling around with their Grandpa and are must-see TV during our Webb Weekly broadcasts.

The greatest gift we can give our fellow man is love and support when most needed. All of us have our faith tested or lose faith at some point; we are mortal. It is at this time we must rely on others’ faith and that special love that is only found through compassion and selflessness.

Coach Boyer has been with CI since day one; his best coaching provided life lessons for a lifetime taught during that most difficult time.

Although the business of winning a State Championship may be completed, life’s journey will continue on for the Insinger family.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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  • Connie Vohrer
    April 7, 2021, 5:41 pm

    I grew up with Ron I was his aunt even though he was a year older then me. Me Ron &his brother Jack have some very good memories growing up.proud of him what he has with his basketball teams.

  • Cassie from North Idaho
    April 8, 2021, 7:38 am

    CI, Ronnie, was one of my best friends in high school. He and Carol have always been a special couple. Thank you for the fine article. Congratulations to the whole Insinger clan!

  • Micky Fulmer
    April 9, 2021, 9:50 am

    Thank you for the article. I’ve known Ron for years. His parents & mine were very good friends. Congratulations to Ron & his basketball team, The Lancers.

  • Chic Hess
    September 1, 2021, 1:44 am

    Congratulations to a great man and basketball coach.