Alumni Perspective: Tom Koehle
Tom Koehle ’03
Head Golf Professional, Iron Masters Country Club
Head Golf Coach, Penn State Altoona
President, Penn State Altoona Alumni Society
Member, Penn State Altoona Advisory Board, Penn State Alumni Council
When thinking back on several years of experiences at Penn State Altoona, one word comes to my mind: family. From my years growing up near Ivyside, through my time as a student-athlete, coach, volunteer, and Alumni Society President, I have come to realize that Penn State Altoona is very much a family.
I am the middle of three brothers who attended Penn State Altoona. Our earliest memories were of walking along Spring Run, feeding ducks in the reflecting pond, and grabbing an ice cream sandwich in Slep Student Center. Beyond Penn State football, Joe Paterno, and anything blue and white, Penn State Altoona provided us our first taste of what being a Penn Stater was all about. At a young age, we realized what a special place Penn State Altoona was.
Beyond your relatives, the closest thing to family is being part of a team. I have had the great fortune of being part of many teams and thus, many families at Penn State Altoona. When I was a sophomore, varsity golf was offered as an NCAA Division III sport for the first time. Little did I know that opportunity is what would shape my career and life.
Under Director of Athletics Fredina Ingold and Head Coach Greg Johnson, golf at Penn State Altoona became a team and a family. A year after graduating, I was presented with an opportunity to become the head golf coach at Penn State Altoona. The foundation that Coach Johnson had built was mine to run with. With the support of family and administration, run we did! Four Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference titles and four NCAA Championship appearances later, our family of golfers at Penn State Altoona had much to be proud of. Our success allowed me to embark upon a career as a golf professional.
I have had the privilege to work with many coaches over the years at Ivyside. It is remarkable how friends and colleagues turn into family. We cheer for each other, feel down over a loss, and feel great pride and joy over a victory.
The latest family I have had the pleasure of working with is the Penn State Altoona Alumni Society Board of Directors. We are a board with great history and pride that had fallen off the radar for a few years. In two short years, we have grown from a board of a few to a board of many; a board that was happy raising hundreds of dollars selling ice cream to one that now will not settle for less than tens of thousands taking plunges into frigid water!
This Board truly shows what a great family Penn State Altoona has! In 2013, we put together a Winter Plunge that raised $13,000 for our Society Scholarship and THON. For our family, that was great, but it wasn’t all we could do. With the help of the entire Penn State Altoona family—students, staff, faculty, administration, and alumni—we raised nearly $50,000 in year two!
I am eternally grateful to Penn State Altoona and its family of administrators, faculty, staff and students. Without a supportive family, none of those accomplishments would be possible. I am honored to be one small part of this great family.