Our Viper players would have loved playing for these men. Icons of Bergen County baseball and their teachings, style, approach and personality would have been perfect f0r the Vipers.
On May 10th, Park Ridge High School honored these two legendary coaches and all of their accomplishments…Bob Kolb and Frank Daniel. Prior to the event, we were able to gain access to much Coach Kolb’s collection of memorabilia and so far have donated to PRHS: 1977 State and Sectional Championship Trophies, 1974 and 1976 County Championship Trophies, Game Balls from both County Championships and State Championship along with both County Finalist appearances. Also, a game worn Owls jersey that was signed by many faculty, players and alumni at a retirement gala in 1988. There is also a PRHS record book completed through the 1988 season…this will be donated to PRHS in the near future. There are also scrapbooks of all the seasons Coaches Kolb and Daniel coached together, along with many other game balls from milestone wins & league championships. This is a treasure trove of Park Ridge Baseball and in many ways Park Ridge history. We will be coordinating with the school and perhaps the town historian about how to properly store and display these items.
Lyn Daniel flew in from Arizona and shared many “Frank” stories. It was as if Frank was there (and he was). Lyn saw pictures and heard stories she never knew about…she is the Matriarch of Park Ridge Baseball
Alumni from early 70’s to early 90’s were on hand…some pictured below and some camera shy. Was a great day tpo celebrate the bond of community, baseball and family. So many memories were shared. What a special place.
Here are a few pictures and the article on Coaches Kolb and Daniel.
When actions speak louder than words: Park Ridge to remember Bob Kolb, Frank Daniel
Players knew Bob Kolb as a man of few words.
When it comes to remembering their baseball coach at Park Ridge High School, the alumni themselves are anything but.
The Owls will hold a ceremony to honor Kolb and longtime assistant/successor Frank Daniel prior to Friday’s NJIC Patriot Division game against rival Emerson. Both men passed away within the last five months, Kolb on Dec. 31 and Daniel on Feb. 19 in Arizona.
“Frank Daniel’s [widow] is flying in to be there to throw out a first pitch,” Park Ridge Athletic Director Chris Brown said. “Some of our alum from back in those days are going to throw out a pitch as well, say some nice words about him, and we’ll play ball.”
That was something the Owls did exceptionally well during Kolb’s 20-season tenure (1968-87), when they went 312-157. Daniel took over as head coach for five seasons before current coach Pete Crandall stepped in.
“I was very fortunate to be part of the amazing baseball run of success that Park Ridge had during the mid-1970s,” 1975 graduate and Pascack Valley AD Tom Gattoni said in a letter to NorthJersey.com.
“Over a four-year period, a small Group 1 school won two county championships (1974 and 1976), a state championship (1977) and finished runner up in the county tournament (1975).”
Kolb remains one of 11 coaches to win multiple Bergen County titles in the 61-year history of the tournament. He is also one of two coaches to guide the Owls to a state final. His 1977 squad defeated Florence in 13 innings, 1-0.
Brown credited Bob Germano (Class of 1987) with helping to organize Friday’s event, which will move from the baseball diamond to the gym in the event of inclement weather.
Gattoni offered many kind sentiments about Kolb into his 500-word letter. Germano, co-owner of the North Jersey Vipers softball program, posted a blog that was nearly four times as long – illustrating the impact Kolb had, even by saying comparatively little.
“When I became a head high school baseball coach in the early 1980s, he [Kolb] would often stop by to make sure I was doing well,” said Gattoni, a two-time Bergen championship coach. “He cared about me.”
Germano recalled one of his early days playing in right field, when he misplayed a double into a triple by staying too close to the fence.
“After the game in the team meeting, he says, ‘Bobby, now you know why you have to turn and play the ball off the fence. That’s the first mistake you have made since you have been here. You will get it right on the next one. Play a little more shallow and know where the fence is. Anything over your head will hit off the fence, and you can hold them to a single. You will be fine.’ I have never forgotten that direction,” Germano said.
The words remained fresh in his mind for the rest of his playing career at Park Ridge and, later, Seton Hall. “I never made that mistake again, and I have been able to teach countless players the right way for many years,” he said.
Kolb’s words of wisdom even stuck for those who didn’t necessarily stick with the game.
Ted Geer, an All-State catcher who batted .478 on the 1977 squad was drafted by the Detroit Tigers that year. He passed on joining the pros, accepted a baseball scholarship to Seton Hall and gave up the sport to join the medical profession.
“Coach Kolb really knew his baseball,” Geer told The Record in 1990. “He didn’t say a lot, but with an occasional remark or gesture, he hit home. Anything he said was worth listening to.”