Greensburg Central Catholic girls aim to continue golf dynasty under new coach

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Tuesday, August 30, 2022 | 3:12 PM


In what has been an astounding run of success in WPIAL girls golf, Greensburg Central Catholic has won seven consecutive championships since its program began in 2015.

A dynastic 7 for 7.

The Centurions are hoping to make it eight titles in a row this fall, but they are competing under new leadership.

Bob Statler has taken over the coaching reins from Gerry Police, who retired after four years, four WPIAL titles, two PIAA championships, two state runner-up finishes and a 40-0 mark in section play.

“Coaching took up much of my time and often interfered with other aspects of my life: being a grandfather, teacher at Saint Vincent and keeping in touch with old friends,” said Police, 73, the 2021 PIAA Coach of the Year in 2A. “At my age, I value being able to reunite with fraternity brothers I haven’t seen for over 50 years, or being able to leave on short notice to watch my grandson for a few days and to be able to give the time and effort to my classes at the college.

“I decided to step back and get closer to a full retirement. Coaching the past four seasons was a joy and something I will always cherish.”

Statler, 66, is a doctor of sacred ministry. He was a pastor for 20 years.

He was born of golf nobility: His late father (Martin) and grandfather (Robert) built Statler’s Fun Center just off Route 30 near Latrobe. The business used to have an 18-hole par-3 course (designed and built in the 1950s) and a driving range but now operates with a go-cart track and miniature golf.

Statler played the par-3 many times and emptied many buckets of balls.

“I grew up there,” he said.

He played at Latrobe and helped the Wildcats win a WPIAL championship in 1972 before playing collegiately at Lehigh.

His brother, Scott Statler, was the men’s golf coach at Pitt-Greensburg for 10 years, and Bob was his assistant.

GCC is embarking on a season without a Zambruno in the lineup for the first time since 2014.

Olivia, Abby, Ella and Meghan made their marks on the decorated program.

The team was 4-0 after a rain-plagued win Monday over Ligonier Valley at Mt. Odin Golf Course.

“They are off to a good start,” Statler said. “My real goal in doing this is not to win at any cost but to allow golf to make the girls better people. Golf is one of the few sports where you call your own fouls. It teaches you patience, courage and humility. It is also a sport you can play all of your life.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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