Ivy Leaf - Spring 2004
A Legend On and Off the Court
Last fall, when retired women's volleyball coach Olana "Tick" Hedrick-Sheaffer learned that Penn State Altoona was planning a homecoming celebration for the first time in more than 20 years, she immediately began organizing a social for her former players and their families. She created and mailed dozens of personalized invitations and secured food and beverages, all at her own expense.
Hedrick-Sheaffer neither expected nor requested compensation. That's just the type of person she is. So when she recently created an endowed enhancement fund to benefit women's athletics at Penn State Altoona, with women's volleyball as a first priority, the act of benevolence surprised no one who knows her.
"It's not surprising to me at all that she would act in such a giving and selfless manner to establish this endowment," stated former volleyball standout Valerie Brumbaugh. "Thinking back on how much time she devoted to her team, I wondered what she would do with this extra time in retirement. Establishment of this endowment clearly explains the adjustment and transition. She's using the time freed from coaching to further serve student-athletes and the University. She's now channeling that energy, passion and commitment to make a positive impact on athletics at Penn State Altoona. Kudos to Tick for allowing her spirit of giving to blossom into such a meaningful and worthwhile endowment for the student-athletes of Penn State Altoona."
Despite retiring from the coaching profession last spring, Hedrick-Shaffer continues to serve on the faculty as an instructor in kinesiology, and she faithfully supports the volleyball team at home matches. She explained that the enhancement fund in her name represents appreciation for nearly three decades of positive experiences at Ivyside Park and an effort to ensure that the needs of Penn State Altoona's women's sports programs are addressed in perpetuity.
Hedrick-Shaffer's gift will, in part, help defray some out-of-pocket expenses for the players, a key motivator in her choice of the endowed enhancement fund as her gift to the College. It will provide discretionary funds on an annual basis to be used for unbudgeted expenditures, such as court shoes and practice apparel for members of the volleyball team – traditionally paid for personally by the players.
"I've spent a lot of good years here. Penn State Altoona has been good to me. I just want to show my appreciation. I've been happy here. I wouldn't have stayed this long if I wasn't."
A Legendary Career
Hedrick-Sheaffer's coaching career began in 1973 when Penn State Altoona athletic teams competed at the junior college level. Through her final season at the helm in 2002, her teams captured eight State Junior College Championships, 13 Commonwealth Campus titles and eight Western Pennsylvania Conference titles. In five seasons of competition at the Division III level under Hedrick-Sheaffer, Penn State Altoona won 52 percent of its matches against opponents with rosters laden with considerably more experienced juniors and seniors. In a brilliant career, Hedrick-Sheaffer was selected Coach of the Year eleven times, earned 497 victories and posted a .748 winning percentage.
Establishment of the enhancement fund is not the first significant act of philanthropy by Hedrick-Sheaffer. She also made a generous contribution to Penn State Altoona during the Grand Destiny Campaign and presented a major gift to the Physical Education Department of her alma mater, West Virginia University.
Hedrick-Sheaffer views the enhancement fund as "something to be remembered by." It's fair to say that no one who ever had the privilege of getting to know this remarkably caring human being could ever forget her. Her legacy is secure…both on and off the volleyball court.