|Barry Streeter has been at Gettysburg long enough to coach sons of his former players.
Gettysburg athletics photo by Stacy Ukishima
By Adam Turer
|Regis Scafe holds aloft two game balls, one signed by the 2017 Saints and another signed by former Saints players who attended his final game as head coach.
Thomas More athletics photo
There’s dedication to Division III football, then there’s the 61 years of head coaching experience that Barry Streeter and Regis Scafe dedicated to the sport.
Scafe coached the final game of his 22-year career on Saturday. Streeter will coach his final game this Saturday.
Streeter spent all 39 years of his head coaching career at Gettysburg, guiding the Bullets to 196 wins with the chance to add one more against Franklin & Marshall this weekend. Scafe amassed 130 wins among stints at Case Western Reserve, John Carroll, and Thomas More.
These two men have given so much to Division III football, that there will no doubt be a void felt in 2018 and beyond.
“Barry has been a fantastic ambassador for Gettysburg College. He has represented the institution at the highest level,” said athletic director David Wright. “It has been apparent since the announcement of his retirement how much he is revered in the college football community. I have received numerous emails, phone calls and personal stories from constituents and all have the same story – Barry Streeter is a class act and he has represented Gettysburg College, not just the athletic department or football program, in a way that sheds the brightest light on the institution.”
The Lebanon Valley graduate had opportunities to go elsewhere over his four-decade run with the Bullets. There were reasons beyond football that kept him at Gettysburg.
“It is a very special place. Not because of the location, or how strong it is academically, because all those are really good attributes, but the people here are special,” said Streeter. “They really care. The administration cares about people here. They care about you as a person.”
That was never as evident as it was in 2004, when Streeter’s wife, Barb, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just one week before the Bullets players were to report for camp. The college allowed him six months of paid leave to care for his wife. When she passed away in February of 2006, the school was once again there for its longtime football coach.
“I’ll never forget what they did for me. There’s not many places you can work that would do that,” said Streeter. “They gave me an opportunity to be with her through tough times. That points out how much they care about people here. That’s the biggest thing.”
The Gettysburg community is an extended family for Streeter and his children. Wins and losses were always secondary, although Streeter will finish his career above .500. He led the Bullets to the national semifinals in 1985, still the deepest playoff run by any Centennial Conference program.
“We’ve had good seasons, not so good seasons,” he said. “They’ve supported me throughout.”
Both coaches announced their intentions to their respective administrations in the spring, with each college making a formal announcement in October. That allowed the coaches to continue doing their jobs — recruiting, preparing for 2017 and beyond — while the schools worked to put succession plans in place.
While Streeter has been at home since 1975, when he began his career at Gettysburg as defensive coordinator. Scafe’s coaching career nearly ended unceremoniously.
A successful high school coach at Chanel High School in northeast Ohio, Scafe took his first college head coaching job at his alma mater. He led the Spartans for five seasons before taking over the Blue Streaks program. After 14 seasons at John Carroll, he was two wins away from becoming the program’s all-time victory leader. He led the Blue Streaks to the 2002 national semifinals, a first in program history. Although he was not yet ready to retire, he was nudged out in favor of his former quarterback and offensive coordinator, Tom Arth, following the 2012 season. Little did he know that his days at Chanel would lead him back into the Division III head coaching ranks.
“Coach Scafe left John Carroll not under the best situation. I just thought that was not the right way for him to end his career,” said Thomas More president David Armstrong. “When Coach [Jim] Hilvert resigned, I gave Coach Scafe a call and said, ‘How do you like retirement?’ I said how about you come back to Thomas More and end your career the right way, the way it should be, because he’s a legend in coaching and in Division III.”
Armstrong and his four older brothers played for Scafe at Chanel. Several former players and assistant coaches of Scafe’s were on hand for his final game on Nov. 4. Armstrong and one of his brothers carried their coach off the field one last time following the Saints’ win over Thiel. The coach’s impact extends far beyond the playing field.
“I’m a college president today because of Coach Scafe. He was the one that got me into coaching and teaching while I was in law school,” said Armstrong. “For me, for all he’s done for me and my life, to be able to give back to him and give him an opportunity to end his career the way it should after 45 years of coaching will definitely go down as one of my favorite moments in my life. To be able to have this final home game with him, and bring people back who coached with him and played for him is just so special, I get chills just talking about it.”
For both coaches, the concept of retirement is not easy. This season has been a time for some reflection, in between getting their teams ready to play each Saturday.
“It’s been emotional at times. [The final home game] was somewhat emotional, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. It will sink in probably at the end of this semester when I’m finished,” said Streeter. “The two things I wanted to make sure—I wanted to be healthy when I retire and I didn’t want to still be coaching when I was 70. I’m going to take a couple months initially and just try to evaluate everything and see what I can do. I’m not going to be sitting around, I can tell you that.”
Unlike when he left his last stop at John Carroll, Scafe feels a sense of closure this time around. His three years with the Saints yielded a 26-7 record, two playoff appearances, and a South Region Coach of the Year award.
“My days of being a head coach are over, which is OK. I’m fine with that. It’s been fun. I’ve been a head coach at three different colleges. Who would believe it? When I first started, I was just happy to have a job doing something that I like. Year-by-year, next thing you know, what the heck, where did it go?” said Scafe. “I didn’t know what the heck I was doing back then. I was about 27 when I took over a high school team. Your first college job, you’re like, ‘Oh my God, this is crazy.’ But you get used to what you’re doing, and year-by-year hopefully you get better. The first year, you’re getting a feel for things. The second year, you’re a much better coach.”
The outpouring of love and admiration from former players has been overwhelming for the coaches. Several were on hand for Gettysburg’s Oct. 28 win over Susquehanna. Streeter has been such a fixture at the institution that he coached Don Brovero, the father of senior defensive lineman Dakota Brovero.
“People ask me what I’m going to miss the most, and it’s the kids,” said Streeter. “Just being able to have an impact on kids. I’ve heard from many former players; it’s really touched me, each one of them.”
Streeter will find more time to watch his son, Brandon, an assistant coach at Clemson. Scafe will spend most of his time in Oregon, where his wife is a park ranger.
More than their coaching, these men will be missed for their character. They both share values that they have instilled in thousands of young men over the decades.
“Barry has been a mentor for me from day one. It is through his example that he influenced me and so many others,” said Wright. “He lives his life in such a way where integrity and character are always at the forefront. He prepares himself and those around him at a level that is truly remarkable. Barry will be missed, but impossible to replace.”
To cap off his career, the Presidents Athletic Conference will be nominating Scafe for the NCAA’s Bob Frederick Sportsmanship Award.
“He is seriously the most principled person I’ve ever been associated with in my whole life. He’s influenced my life,” said longtime John Carroll wrestling coach Kerry Volkmann, Scafe’s best friend. “He’s so unselfish in his own aspirations. He’s one of the greatest player coaches I was ever around. He’s a great coaches’ coach. I know that in his heart of hearts that this is a really difficult decision, and because we’re kindred spirits, I feel that. I love him to death.”
The Division III football community is grateful for the everlasting contributions of these two men.
As part of my attempt to rekindle a love for football, I’ll be reaching out to players all season long to give them space to explain why they love the game. This week’s guest is Coe senior linebacker Dalton Shandle. The Kohawks had an unbelievable 2016 season, but suffered setbacks in 2017.
I think I started to fall in love with football after watching my first Iowa Hawkeyes game with my dad. According to my dad, I always used to say, “I want to be like them someday.”
I still love football because it challenges me every day. Whether it’s practice or game day, I know that I’m put to the test to make myself a better player and a better person. And regardless of the outcome, I still get to play with my brothers and have fun playing the sport we all love.
I want to thank every player who contributed to this section of the column this year. Each player shared his sentiments about why he loves football. If you didn’t notice, there was a theme this season.
I wanted to reach out to players from programs that were struggling. It was personally rewarding to see some of those programs snap out of their losing funk. To me, these players, seniors on losing teams, embody the purest love of football imaginable.
We often talk about how Division III is unique because the players truly play for the love of the game. There are no scholarships and the players must balance rigorous academic obligations. There’s not much incentive to play to begin with. Compound that with a seasons-long losing streak, and it would be completely understandable for a D-III student to give up on football.
But these players, without hesitation, shared why they still love football and why they play the game. The overarching theme shared by each of their responses was character and camaraderie. Their coaches and teammates have made them better men. That’s what keeps them playing football, and that’s why we here at D3football.com will keep sharing their stories.
Of course, these interviews would not be possible without the diligent assistance of Sports Information Directors all over the country. Most every interview you see on this site, every game recap, every box score, is due to the hard work of an SID. This happens to be #ThankYourSID week, so make sure you go out and do that today.
Not done yet
This is the final Around the Nation column of the regular season, but we are just getting started. The second season begins on Sunday, so be sure to check the site for our comprehensive playoff coverage. We’ll have team capsules, features, and predictions from here until the Stagg Bowl. The weekly Around the Nation podcast will continue, and I’ll have a Year in Review column after we get back from Salem. I’ll try to once again project the field of 32 in my Snap Judgments column on Sunday morning, and we will have bracket analysis as soon as the pairings are released on Sunday afternoon.
If you read my first column of the season back in August, you know how special of a place Salem, Virginia, is. I encourage all of you, whether you have a team in the game or not, to make the trip to Salem for the Stagg Bowl this year. It is a great experience and if you’re a fan of Division III football, I cannot recommend it enough.
Thank you for reading, commenting, emailing, tweeting, and most of all, for being fans and supporters of Division III football. This is a great community that I’m honored to still be a part of. Let’s keep the conversations and excitement going into the postseason.