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Point Park's Bob Rager delivers commencement speech at Steel Valley High School

June 23, 2011

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Point Park men's basketball coach Bob Rager speaks at Steel Valley's Commencement June 3, 2011.
Photo courtesy SVHS

 

MUNHALL, Pa. – Point Park University men’s basketball head coach Bob Rager was the featured speaker at Steel Valley High School’s Commencement Ceremony on Friday, June 3, 2011. Rager is a native of Munhall, Pa., and he graduated from Munhall High School in 1969.

Although the Steel Valley School District has since been reorganized, and Munhall High School is no longer in existence, Rager’s ties to the Steel Valley community remain. Rager, who has won a school-record 310 games in 22 seasons as Point Park men’s basketball head coach, delivered an important message to the Steel Valley graduates.

“Bob Rager has had a remarkable career, he grew up in our area, and he is great role model for our students” said Steel Valley School District superintendent Dr. William Kinavey. “We wanted to show the kids that someone who grew up on the same streets that they did went on to success in college athletics and then on to a long and successful career in coaching. We’ve had a lot of success stories here at Steel Valley, and he’s one of them.”

Rager, who was an NAIA All-American player at Point Park from 1970-74, spoke to the Steel Valley graduates about their important role in determining the future of their country. The message went over particularly well since it was followed with a standing ovation at the Campbell Field football stadium.

“I told them that they are the future of America and that they need to take that very seriously,” Rager said. “They need to take an active role, get involved and remember to vote. I also asked all the veterans in attendance to stand up and be recognized because it is because of them that we enjoy our freedoms.”

In addition to serving as the commencement speaker, Rager was also named a part of the Steel Valley School District Distinguished Alumni.

Steel Valley High School athletic director and boys’ basketball head coach Shawn McCallister spent three years as an assistant on Rager’s Point Park staff in the early 1990s, and he was in attendance for the Commencement Ceremony June 3.

“Coach Rager spoke to the kids on a level that they understood, and it was a very good message,” said McCallister. “In talking to the kids afterwards, they appreciated the fact that he came from the housing projects of Munhall but still went on to succeed. It doesn’t matter where you grow up. The important thing is that it’s up to you to determine your success in life.”

Although his hometown ties are to Munhall and the Steel Valley, which are located just south of Point Park’s downtown Pittsburgh campus, Rager has been a part of the Pittsburgh community as a whole. In terms of college basketball in the City of Pittsburgh, Rager ranks third all-time in victories at four-year schools. He trails only Pitt’s Doc Carlson (367) and Duquesne’s Chick Davies (314) for that honor.

His impact on the Pittsburgh community was recognized in November 2009 when he was named a Pittsburgh Most Valuable Person (MVP) as part of the 34th Annual Willie Stargell Awards Banquet at the LeMont Restaurant. The awards program annually recognizes people who have had a positive influence on young people in Pittsburgh.

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Coach Rager receives the Steel Valley High School Distinguished Alumni Award.