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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Area News

VanLeer to Retire
As Basketball Coach
n At Pacific High School

By Julie Brown Patton
Pacific News Editor

This basketball season
was the final one for Pacific High School’s Head
Varsity Basketball Coach
John VanLeer, after 27
years at the helm.
his retirement March 3.
He plans to retire from
both teaching and coaching at the end of the 201920 school year.
“The overall support I
received from the Pacific
community, parents, administrators and school
board was unreal,” he
said. “In fact, it was second to none.”
coaching career, he and
his teams achieved many
accomplishments, including District Coach of the
Year, six-time Conference
Coach of the Year, seven
championships, a district championship, a career conference record of 128-70, and
an overall career record of
On Jan. 24, VanLeer,
players and fans delighted in his 400th career
win. The Indians basketball team currently is rated No. 63 in the Missouri
Class 4 rankings.
The game runs deep
in the family, starting
with this longtime coach
playing basketball himself from fourth grade
through high school. He
then played one season at
East Central College.
His oldest son, Cullen,
went on to play basketball at the University of
Missouri-Columbia. His
younger son, Cameron,
was voted as 2018 Missourian All-Area basketball player of the year before signing to play golf at
Columbia College.
Cameron also was the
Four Rivers Conference
Player of the Year and
was named to the MBCA
All-State and All-District
“Our district, school
and kids will greatly miss
Coach VanLeer,” said

Show Some Muscle for a Good Cause
Local firefighters and paramedics modeled purses at the Franklin County Area United Way Power of the Purse auction March 5 at the Pacific
Eagles Aerie. Approximately 250 women turned out for the annual event,
Longtime Pacific High School boys basketball which raises money and awareness for the United Way. Gross receipts
coach, John VanLeer, right, is retiring after 27 years. totaled $25,500.
Missourian Photo/Julie Brown Patton.
He plans to retire from both coaching and teaching
Submitted Photo.
at the end of the school year.


Andy Herbst, PHS activities director, who worked
with VanLeer for the last
15 years.
“The toughness he instilled in his players is
what set our teams apart
from the rest,” Herbst
added. “Coach VanLeer
pushed his athletes past
what they thought was
possible. I would think
if you asked the players
who are in their 20s and
30s, they would tell you
he taught them commitment, passion, toughness
and teamwork, and gave
them a confidence that’s
still in them today.”
On the court, Herbst
said VanLeer had high expectations of effort out of
his players and let them
know if they didn’t meet
those levels.
“What most people
didn’t see was the behindthe-scenes positive relationships he developed
with his players. He was
truly vested in his players and their future,” said
Aaron Brinker, 2004
PHS alumnus and basketball player said, “Great
coach. Better man. I
played for a lot of coaches
in my playing career and
none of them even came
close to VanLeer. I’m
thankful for everything

he did for me not only on
the court, but in life.”
VanLeer said helping
young men become productive citizens always
was the more important
part of this coaching role.
“I’ll miss those relationships,” he said. “And
I’ll miss the practices,
because that’s where you
can have the biggest impact on students. But I’ll
also miss the preparation and developing game
VanLeer plans to work
with a cousin in a private
business, but hasn’t ruled
out refereeing basketball
in the future.
Along with VanLeer’s
retirement news, basketball Assistant Coach Scott
Brown also announced he
will step away from basketball.
Brown said he will focus his time on teaching
physical education and
coaching PHS baseball.
“My time in the basketball program has been so
rewarding,” Brown said.
“Little did I know my
time as a player at Pacific
would turn into 27 more
years helping Coach VanLeer build a successful
A search is underway
to find VanLeer’s replacement.

Pacific JROTC Team
Wins Triple Crown
n Of Missouri Marksmanship

The Marine Corps
JROTC varsity marksmanship team at Pacific
High School, consisting
of Amanda Benetin, Julia Thomas, Lucas Hicks
and Preston Martin, has
had a remarkable school
year, according to WO
Brian Cain, coach.
In December 2019, the
team took a short drive to
St. Louis University High
School to compete in the
Missouri State NRA
“The competition is
always keen,” said Cain.
“This tournament occurs
during the beginning of
our season so in order to
win you have to be good
The team walked
away with championship
No. 1.
Six weeks later, on Jan.
18, the team traveled to
Missouri Military Academy in Mexico to compete
against 22 other teams in
the Missouri State CMP
(Civilian Marksmanship
Program) Championship.
“You have to bring your
‘A’ game to this event,”
said Cain. “The teams
are much more seasoned
and the really good shooters begin to emerge,” and
that’s exactly what happened.

beat the other 21 teams
with each member of
the Pacific team posting
their personal best score,
he said. Team captain
Amanda Benetin walked
away with the overall
best shooter award.
Cain said the third
and final leg of the triple
crown is notably the most
difficult to win.
The Missouri State Junior Olympics Championship was held Feb. 2829 at Ozark High School,
drawing the interest of
nearly 30 teams from
around the entire state.
“This is a great tournament,” said Cain. “If
you’ve won elsewhere,
this is when the competitors seek redemption.”
Three of the top teams,
including Pacific, have
he said, which means
that Pacific knew that it
would be going head-tohead with the best of the
Cain said the tournament did not disappoint.
When Pacific arrived
Saturday afternoon, the
challenge had been made.
Willard High School, the
nationally ranked Navy
competitor, was comfortably in first place while

Ozark High School, the
nationally ranked Army
competitor, was in second place, but the Marine
Corps unit at Pacific had
plans to disrupt the leaderboard.
After the last shot
was fired, the Pacific
team walked away with
the narrowest of victories, winning by just one
point. Benetin finished
individually atop the
score board, once again
posting her best score of
the entire year.
“These young people
work hard every day. We
practice before school and
nearly every afternoon,”
said Cain, but their discipline and passion for the
sport has paid off.
“I’m so proud of them,”
he said.
The team is not yet finished. Members are preparing to travel to Ohio
later in March to compete
against the top seven
teams from each military
branch of service at the
2020 All-Service JROTC
National Championship.
“This is the super bowl
of high school marksmanship,” said Cain. “There
are exceptional athletes
at this tournament but
I’m certain we are up to
the challenge.”

Pacific Supports
Power of the Purse
About 250 women attended the Power of the
Purse auction last Thursday, March 5, at Pacific
Eagles Aerie 3842.
The event benefits the
Franklin County Area
United Way. Gross receipts of $25,500 were
United Way organizers
said Pacific’s Power of the
Purse sets the bar for the
other events held in the
Last year, $108,000
was raised for the United
Way through a series of
purse fundraisers, and
$25,893 of that tally came
directly from the Pacific-

hosted event.
Donated purses, including popular brands,
such as Michael Kors,
Kate Spade, Coach and
Vera Bradley, were sold
through a silent auction,
starting at $15 each.
Raffle/lottery tickets also
were sold.
Purses in the live auction included a handmade
St. Louis Blues purse donated by Ramona Mundwiller with two Blues
tickets donated by Missouri Community College
Association; a Dooney
and Bourke St. Louis
Cardinals Tote donated
by a friend of United Way

with four Cardinals tickets donated by Citizens
Bank; and a Michael
Kors Vanilla Grab Bag
with matching wallet,
umbrella and sunglasses
donated by Schrader Funeral Home.
Highlighting the night
were local firefighters
and paramedics who
modeled purses for auction. The models were
Gary Graf, Kyle Sanders,
Jeff Horton, Kyle Gnau,
Matt Willoughby, Brandon Folk, Daniel Rodriguez, Thad Marrs, Terry
Gaston, Mike Borgmann,
Scott Kavanagh, Nick
Kuhn and Tim Schultz.

Parade Grand Marshals
Are Brother and Sister
By Julie Brown Patton
Pacific News Editor

Grand marshals of this
year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Downtown Pacific
Saturday, March 14, represent multiple generations
of residents whose local legacies started 152 years ago.
Brother and sister David
and Ruth Hogan will lead
the 2020 parade, with their
family members walking
and cheering proudly right
behind them.
Just look for green shirts
that read: James Hogan
Clan or Hogan Family established 1868.
David, 95, and Ruth, 91,
have decades of great stories and memories steeped
in Pacific. No doubt, they
will relive many of those
tales and moments during
and after the parade.
family, known locally for their
dairy and ice cream business, had a relative who
came from Tennessee to
settle in Pacific after the
Civil War.
MaryAnn Kinder said
her grandfather, James V.
Hogan Sr., started the dairy
business before World War
II, and during the 1950s
created the associated
building that still stands in
At that time, she said
the James Hogan & Sons
Dairy included her father,
James Jr., and her uncles
David, Don and Tom, as
well as her aunt Ruth.
The Hogans milked Holsteins, processed and delivered milk to locals, and
made their own ice cream,
which was sold in town.
Kinder said at least 20 of
her cousins graduated from
Pacific High School, as, of
course, did Ruth and David.
This year’s float lineup
begins at 9:30 a.m. at the
middle school. The parade
entry fee is $15 for a float,

and $10 for a car, tractor
or walker. There will be
awards for first, second and
third places for floats.
The parade starts at
10:30 a.m. at the Meramec
Valley Middle School. It
will travel on Union Street,
then turn right onto Sixth
Street, then proceed left
onto West St. Louis Street,
left onto First Street, left
on Union and back to the
middle school.
Bagpiper Michael Kotch
will march and perform in
the parade. Kotch, a member of the Midlothian Scottish Pipe Band, Chicago,

has been playing bagpipes
for nearly 25 years. He is a
registered instructor for the
St. Louis Caledonia Pipe
Following the parade,
there will be green beer,
food, live music and children’s activities at the
American Legion Post 320,
320 Meramec St.
Parade festivities are
presented by the Pacific
Downtown Merchants Association and the city of Pacific/Tourism.
For more information,
call 314-221-5919 or 314210-7033.

Saturday, March 14 - 10:30 a.m.
Presented By:

Pacific Downtown

Merchants Association
City of Pacific/Tourism
POST 320
Michael Kotch, Bagpipes

ROUTE: Starts
at Middle School
onto Union, right
on 6th Street,
left onto West St.
Louis Street, left
onto First Street,
left onto Union
back to
Middle School.

Michael Kotch has been playing bagpipes
for 23 years and is a member of the
Midlothian Scottish Pipe Band (Chicago) and is the registered instructor
for the St. Louis Caledonia Pipe Band. Originally from Minnesota,
Michael has traveled throughout North America and Scotland to
compete in Pipe Band competitions at all levels. Michael teaches
bagpipes in his spare time and works as an aviation instructor full time.

LIVE MUSIC - Noon - 2 p.m.
Come join us for corned beef and cabbage,
green beer, raffles, etc. Lots of fun!

American Legion Post 320
located at 320 Meramec St., Pacific, MO 63069

Awards dn
& 3rd-Plas

FLOAT - $15

Get entry forms at Osage Pawn
3330 W. Osage, Pacific, MO 63069

Larry Mueller 314-210-7033
Carol Johnson 314-221-5919
AMERICAN LEGION POST 320 | (636) 257-3298