For twenty-nine years, the late Herb Lauffer was a vital member of the Athletics Department at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. This year, Lauffer was inducted to the Athletic Hall of Fame as this year's only honoree.
Lauffer's induction took take place Saturday, June 15 during the Behrend Alumni Reunion. Family and friends were on hand to celebrate the occasion.
"What better tribute to a man who was truly in a class by himself," said Behrend's Director of Athletics Brian Streeter. "From Herb Lauffer's first days as the head men's tennis coach through his twenty-three years as head of the men's soccer program, he had a positive impact on everyone around him."
"Herb was a gentle man but a strong leader who helped usher in a new athletics era at Penn State Behrend," said interim Provost and Dean Dr. Jack Burke. "He reached out to the community, particularly to young people. In fact, he was founder and president of the Erie Youth Soccer Association. It's fitting that he be named to the Hall of Fame, since he initiated this important sports recognition at Penn State Behrend."
As head soccer coach for twenty-three years, Lauffer tallied 131 victories, making him the most winning soccer coach in Penn State Behrend's history. In 1971, he led his team to the Penn State Commonwealth Campus championship. He earned NAIA Coach of the Year honors in 1976 and 1978, and in 1978 coached his team to the NAIA District 18 championship. He also produced several NSCAA regional All-Americans and All-Conference players.
Lauffer became director of Athletics in 1981. Under his leadership, Penn State Behrend made the move from NAIA status to NCAA Division III and joined the Eastern College Athletic Conference. The college also expanded during this period from eight to twelve varsity sports.