BROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – The Brookville Lady Raiders have had a great leader and an avid sports fan at the helm of their program for the better part of the last twenty years.
Mark Powell, a native of Sigel, was a three-sport athlete in high school and grew up in North Clarion’s gyms, where his father was both a men’s and women’s basketball coach. Some of these recollections in the gyms are his earliest sports memories, but surely not his only ones in athletics.
In his own right, Powell was a great athlete and especially excelled in golf. He competed at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, a school that was NAIA at the time but is now a part of NCAA Division II. His love for golf still remains to this day as he coaches the Penn State DuBois golf team. Previously, he served as the PGA golf professional at the DuBois Country Club for about ten years before moving on to an opportunity with the Laurel Eye Clinic to become their marketing manager.
To say that Powell is busy may be an understatement. However, he always makes time for his athletes, and especially the young women that he has coached at Brookville.
While his first job with the Raiders was as the junior high boys’ coach, he has found a home as the head girls’ basketball coach, bringing four District 9 titles home. He has been able to win a District 9 championship while coaching each of his daughters Elaina and Kira. Powell’s wife, Amy, was also a D9 champ for the Lady Raiders during her high school days.
Powell also won a state playoff game in 2018, the first time the Lady Raiders have achieved the milestone in about twenty-five years.
When asked what the key to his success has been, the veteran coach brings various others who he says played a part in the program.
“The kids are a huge reason for my success. It takes a special group of kids who work hard to help be a successful coach, and I have coached a lot of great players. It is not easy playing for me; practice is difficult, so I feel fortunate to have coached some many great young ladies.”
Powell was also quick to mention the Hill family, who are close family friends with the Powells. Jim Hill has been a long-time assistant alongside Powell, and the duo provides great stability, mentorship, and experience to one of the area’s best basketball programs.
Coach Powell also noted the administration and athletic department at Brookville as one that is top-notch.
“I think of the great coaches in other sports like Scott Park and Dave Klepfer. They are also very committed and great coaches. Our school’s administration buys into the importance of sports, which is also a great quality of our school district. Dave Osborne is another person who deserves a lot of credit. He is a fantastic athletic director and has been a stable and important part of Brookville’s athletic success for many years.”
In his career, the Jefferson County resident has made some remarkable memories, but some of his favorites include winning D9 titles with his daughters, winning a state playoff game over Northwestern, and his first career win as Brookville Lady Raider’s Head Coach.
“I say the first one is a great memory because we were not favored going into that game against Philipsburg-Osceola. We played so hard that night, and it still is one of my favorite games to look back on.”
Recently, Powell made history and became the all-time winningest coach in Brookville Lady Raider’s basketball history. Back on March 8, Powell won game number 237 of his career that came against Eisenhower. Despite reaching the milestone, the wins have never been about him but more about his players.
In a speech delivered after the big win, Coach Powell said: “I cannot thank all these girls, and all the kids I have coached the last nineteen years, enough for all they have given me and given our program. It has been quite a run, and this is a special moment tonight.”
From time to time, Coach Powell brings out old game films and watches with his family to reflect on the run he has had as a high school girls’ basketball coach and the memories their family has built through basketball.
Some of the greatest and strongest bonds his family has are largely because of sports, signifying why sports are important, according to Powell.
In an interesting and COVID-19-impacted season, Coach Powell’s excellence shined through despite challenges the program and school faced during this basketball season. Overall, he’s done his very best to help young women become better players and people. His love for the game is something that still grows to this day, and he even mentioned this was perhaps the most excited he had ever been to coach heading into this season that featured so much uncertainty at the beginning.
Coaching and building lasting relationships are parts of Mark Powell’s DNA, and District 9, Brookville, and Penn State DuBois are fortunate to have a strong leader and role model that loves to give back and puts the players first.