Former Clarion-Limestone Boys Basketball Coach Joe Ferguson Named 2024 Sportsmanship 1 “Sportsperson of the Year”

Photo Courtesy Sportsmanship 1/Fun With Fundamentals Basketball Camp – Coach Ferguson (Left) receiving the Sportsperson of the Year Award from Coach Baschnagel

Former Clarion-Limestone Lions Boys basketball coach Joe Ferguson was recently named the 2024 “Western Pennsylvania Sportsperson of the Year” by Sportsmanship 1/Fun With Fundamentals Basketball Camp. The award has been given out for over twenty years.

Coach Ferguson, who retired as head coach of Clarion-Limestone Boys basketball at the end of the 2022-23 season, after 17 seasons at the Lions’ helm, is the winningest coach in school history, with 284 wins. His Lions won 7 Keystone Shortway Conference titles in 9 appearances, made 16 District 9 playoff appearances, winning two titles and had 20 or more wins 7 times.

He is a local businessman and still one of the owners of Delta Contractors and Design, and Ace Concrete.

Coach Ferguson had this to say about receiving the award, “It is an honor to have been selected and voted as Sportsperson of the Year. I would never have dreamed of being selected for something like this, nor would I have ever dreamed of coaching for 17 years as a high school coach! 

“This award is mostly about character, not wins and losses, and that is what I appreciate most, since that is what I hoped to instill as a leader to my players. Most importantly, I hoped to direct the athletes to honor Christ in all they do, and to represent themselves, their parents, and the community with integrity and solid character.

“I want to thank Norb Baschnagel, the Sportsmanship committee that voted for me to receive this award, and to all those that supported me and the C-L basketball program through the years.

“It is very special!”

Forgive me for the cliche, but Coach Ferguson is more than a “One-Trick Pony.”

He was very active in Clarion Little League for a number of years as a board member, coach, longtime All-Star coach (think “Three Amigos,” Coach Ferguson, Coach Dan Shofestall and Coach Jim Campbell),and more.

He was softball player for various teams, church league and men’s league. He played in a local men’s basketball league and was one of the driving forces, along with Coach Baschnagel and others) in the early days of the YMCA, with funding, field procurement etc.

As he mentioned he is a Christian, putting Jesus Christ first in his life and is always wearing his Christian faith on his sleeve. Coach Ferguson’s order of priority has been 1) Jesus Christ, 2) Family, 3) Lions’ Basketball.

Forgive me again, but for this brief bit I’m going to break protocol. If you know me at all, you know my opinion that a coach, or teacher should be addressed as Coach, Mr., Mrs., Miss as a sign of respect.

But for this part, I am going to just call him Joe. I’m sure you will understand.

Joe and I have been friends for over fifty years. Where did we meet? at church of course? both of us were dating the young ladies who we would end up marrying. We were part of the Youth Group at the Liberty Street Church of God. That group’s influence on me, was very instrumental in my getting saved.

We played softball together, again church league and men’s league. The local church league was pretty solid back then. Joe and I could share some great memories from softball.

Joe and I had a Contemporary Christian Music program, “The Sonlight Express,” on WWCH in the 70s. Contemporary Christian Music was just getting a foothold in mainstream music at the time.

Joe was in our wedding party.

Yep, I’ve known Joe for over half a century. Class Act!!

Coach Bashnagel shared these fine words about Coach Ferguson.

I have known Joe Ferguson for over thirty years, and believe he is one of the most competitive individuals as a player and a coach that I know and have competed against. He and his basketball teams at Clarion-Limestone have always demonstrated great sportsmanship, integrity, poise, and discipline.

Joe’s record in Boys basketball at Clarion-Limestone High is the best in school history and he always did it with first class and dignity.

Joe Ferguson is a giver. who has helped the Clarion Community greatly to develop the Clarion County YMCA over many years of his support and leadership.

He is also very involved with his church and has been a major sponsor of the Clarion Area Chamber of Commerce Golf Scramble for many years.

Coach Ferguson’s players speak very highly of him on his impact on their basketball career and life skills they learned.

Ferguson would rather be noted as one who mentored his players to be men of integrity and character, and to understand that ‘life is about relationships.’ His relationship with Jesus Christ is his foundation to all other relationships and he knows that is what ultimately made the basketball program successful. Coach Ferguson is most appreciative of having the opportunity to mentor young men as well as have good relationships with the coaches, AD’s, officials, players, and most importantly his family, throughout the years.”

(Congratulations to Coach Joe Ferguson, your family, the Clarion-Limestone Lions Basketball players and assistant coaches, and everyone else who has benefitted from your influence over the years!!!!)