Diocesan News

Newly Renovated Gym Floor Honors Late Coach in Bay Ridge

St. Anselm Catholic Academy in Bay Ridge unveiled its new gym floor Sept. 10 in honor of Bill Harner, longtime coach and youth leader. His family posed for a picture on the floor by his name. (Photo Matthew O’Connor)

St. Anselm Catholic Academy in Bay Ridge unveiled its new gym floor just days after students headed back to school.

It was dedicated in honor of a long-time coach and leader within the St. Anselm Youth Activities program, Bill Harner. Though he passed away 11 years ago, his memory has continued to live on through the Bill Harner Basketball Clinic and continued donations and hours of work in his name.

His wife, two children and two of his grandchildren were there to see the new floor with Harner’s name now printed on it.

Funds for this $100,000 project were raised by the Youth Activities Council with the help of donations from parish clubs and generous parishioners.

Harner’s daughter, Chris Norris, was there with her husband, Mike, and her two sons, Liam and Aidan.

A Great Honor

“It is a great honor for our family. My dad dedicated a lot of years here,” Norris said. “My brother and I both have two boys and they never got to meet him, but they now get to come and see his name on the court.

“It is really such an honor that we can share. He was the basketball director for almost 30 years and always bragged about how good certain teams were any given year. He was always so proud to see what the kids would go on to do beyond here and he would still be very proud.”

Msgr. John Maloney, pastor of St. Anselm parish, gave a blessing and thanked the many people that have worked to make this happen. “Tonight shows a real concern of the people to make this a place where children go and be safe. This whole project was done by the parishioners and the Youth Activities Council. They raised the money because the parish was not in a position to spend on this.

“So, we celebrate the parishioners and what they can accomplish but also Bill Harner and even though he was before my time, he remains a fixture to the athletic program and we remember him in this fitting way as someone who gave so much of his time to the program.”

James Condon, the youth director, saved pieces of wood from the old gym floor and turned them into plaques to thank all the men and women who contributed to the new floor.

“Bill was able to grow and help the basketball program, but the youth program as well. He loved this place and always wanted to see the best for it,” Condon said.

“The floor needed to be redone and to be able to honor someone who gave so much of his time I truly can’t think of a better way than this.”

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