Olean Times Herald

Crist Closing In On 6-3, Hoping For 6-5 And 220

Chuckie Crist is an amazing one in more ways than one.

The on-time boy wonder of Salamanca Central School athletics – and we mean ALL athletics – is a superbly conditioned specimen at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds who says, in an off-hand manner, “I’m still growing.”

Still growing?

“I’m closing in on 6-3 and I’m hoping, by my senior year, I’ll be 6-5 and 220 pounds. At least, that’s what I’m hoping to be.”

So’s John Bach, the Penn State basketball coach. It’ll be as one of Bach’s varsity dribblers that Crist hopes to make those big waves on the national scene.

That’ll draw approval from Bach, who has a few ideas of his own about basketball. Looking towards his second year as the Nittany Lions coach, Bach has a timetable that keys on the 1970-71 season – the season when this year’s Frosh recruits move into the varsity picture.

“We have them starting in at 6-4, then 6-6, two who are 6-5 and a 6-8 boy coming up,” Crist explained, going over the basketball products coming in September. “You can see where I’ll have to be playing, if I’m to be a starter – the back court.”

How well do we remember that afternoon, four years ago, when Chuckie was called front and center by his football coach, Joe Sanfilippo. “Take over, Chuckie, and show us how to handle the position,” Big Joe ordered, pointing to the quarterback slot.

A sophomore, then, on the Salamanca Central School varsity, Chuckie was 119 pounds and we added “dripping wet.” Height-wise, he was a mere 5-foot-5.

“Watch this kid handle the signal-calling,” noted Sanfilippo, his voice revealing pride in his young pupil. “This kid can’t miss.”

Now, four years later, football is in the past for Chuckie and that’s a story that doesn’t set too well with Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno. When Crist decided to enroll at Penn State in the summer of ‘68, he had been given a blank check: football of basketball, for Chuckie’s asking – such are his credentials in both sports.

Obviously, Chuck had to make his decision for, in this age of one-sport specialization, the all-round athlete in college has joined the stone age people. Actually, Chuckie would be a solid bet to be able to handle both football and basketball, such is the Crist ability to handle the classroom load with a minimum of sweat.

“This is the way I want it, though,” noted Chuckie, telling of his preference for basketball.

Spending the summer at home, Crist had an unusual off-season schedule – one that called for little or no basketball drills until last week. “I think it can be an awfully long season, with summer basketball every day. I did get out to play, maybe once a week and that was enough. I started in on a daily basis last week and hope to continue until I return to school in early September.”

Crist had offers as a counselor at several summer basketball camps, but decided to do a little painting in Salamanca. “When I do get down to serious basketball work,” he added, “I won’t be tired and worn out.”

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