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Rager to be named one of Pittsburgh's MVP during the 34th annual Stargell Awards

Nov. 10, 2009

PITTSBURGH - Point Park University men's basketball coach Bob Rager will be named a Pittsburgh MVP during Saturday's 34th annual Willie 'Pops' Stargell Memorial Awards Banquet at The LeMont Restaurant on Mt. Washington.

Rager in huddle (2)

Rager, who is in his 21st year as head coach at Point Park, will be among 10 honorees who will be named this year's group of Pittsburgh's Most Valuable Persons. The group also includes Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famer and four-time Super Bowl champion Mel Blount.

Former University of Pittsburgh men's basketball star Sam Clancy and former Duquesne University men's basketball standout B.B. Flenory will also be recognized as Pittsburgh MVPs.

Bill Neal, the President and CEO of Champion Enterprises, collaborated with Willie Stargell in founding the event 34 years ago. Since then, the awards banquet has been held every year to honor Pittsburghers who have contributed greatly the local community. Champion Enterprises is once again organizing the event, and according to Neal, Rager's award is well deserved.

"Bob Rager is someone who demonstrates a great commitment to helping young people," said Neal. "He genuinely cares about the young people who he comes in contact with as a college basketball coach.

"A lot of coaches show interest in the lives of young men when the lights are on, so to speak, but coach Rager is willing to go into the inner city and help guys in ways that are unrelated to basketball. I have a lot of admiration for him, and he has made a tremendous impact on the lives of those who have come in contact with him."

The naming of the Pittsburgh MVPs, and most notably this year, the recognition of Mel Blount as the top MVP, has been the main attraction at each of the awards banquets.

"It is a great honor to be named a Pittsburgh MVP," said Rager, a native of Munhall. "As coaches we put a great emphasis on winning as you should. But good things happen along the way, and helping young people is definitely one of them."

In addition to the MVPs, there will be 10 recipients of the Celebrating Women Award and 10 recipients of the Say No to Drugs, Alcohol and Violence Award. The latter award will be given to middle school students in the Pittsburgh Area who win an essay contest.

Rager became Point Park's fourth men's basketball coach prior to the 1989-90 season. He has a record of 286-274 (.512) and has made three trips to the NAIA Tournament. In 1996-97, Rager led Point Park to the best finish in school history when the Pioneers made it to the NAIA Division I Final Four.

Point Park made it to the NAIA Division II Sweet 16 in 2000-01. In 2006-07, the Pioneers earned a No. 3 ranking in the final NAIA poll after winning 29 of their first 30 games on their way to the American Mideast Conference title.

Rager has been named Coach of the Year in the American Mideast Conference on two occasions, most recently in 2006-07. He finished up his All-American playing career at Point Park in 1974, and he still ranks among the school's all-time leaders in points and assists.

Rager will begin his 21st season at Point Park Friday when the Pioneers open the season at the Notre Dame (Ohio) Tournament. Point Park plays Rochester (Mich.) Friday at 6 p.m. and faces Miami (OH)-Hamilton Saturday at 2 p.m.

For more information about the event, contact Bill Neal at Champion Enterprises at (412) 607-3697. The 34th annual Willie 'Pops' Stargell Memorial Awards Banquet begins with a cocktail hour at 6 p.m. Saturday followed by dinner at 7 p.m. The awards portion will begin at 8:30 p.m., and the program will end at 10 p.m