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Paul Ziegenfus coaches life’s lesson both on and off the court

“There’s always a need for volunteers, and it’s important to find the time to be a positive influence in someone’s life.”

This quote from Paul Ziegenfus, Salisbury High School’s new girls varsity basketball coach, perfectly reflects his deep belief on the importance of stepping out in the community and helping others with whichever skills you have to offer.

Nurturing the idea of a community has deep importance to Ziegenfus. In a recent conversation with The Press, he spoke at length about how important volunteering is, helping one another and to be an uplifting force to someone who might need help. That’s what a community is in his view and that’s why he gives back to the residents of the township.

Born and raised in Allentown, Ziegenfus always had a love for sports. After living for a few years in Central Pennsylvania, he and his wife Kelly decided to move back to the area to be closer to family.

Salisbury became the obvious choice, with a tight-knit community and small school district, a perfect place to raise their four children. As far as Ziegenfus is concerned, the small community aspect of Salisbury has immeasurable benefits. As a dad, he loves the fact his children have opportunities to try different things, not necessarily as easy in neighboring townships.

“One of my twins decided out of the blue to try field hockey this year. No issues. That may not have been as easy in a larger school where there are limited spots.”

Shortly after settling into the area, Ziegenfus became an active volunteer with the Salisbury Youth Association, eventually becoming basketball director. As he told The Press, this was a role he loved as he was able to meet kids in the neighborhood of all ages, introducing them to sports and helping them have a fun experience.

Mentoring is key when one is involved in any activity with youth and it is clear when speaking with Ziegenfus this is a role and responsibility he does not take lightly.

“Part of being a coach is to nurture and encourage positive development. Who knows what is happening at home so you want to stay positive. Kids are smart. They can tell if you are real or fake, so it’s important to build that trust.”

This past May, SHS named Ziegenfus as the new girls varsity basketball coach. He is clearly excited and ready to meet the challenges of this new role, especially knowing he will be working with players he coached when they were younger and part of SYA. He said it’s a natural progression of trust building, as these players are in a different stage in their life.

“Are you ready to go to battle? Be part of a team? You need to teach them hard work pays off and when things don’t go the right way, what are the lessons to be learned?” These are key points for Ziegenfus, life lessons that go beyond the basketball court.