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Dave Golen

One Golen in mind
St. John's Golen did anything necessary to help his Heralds get a victory

By Chris Larick
For the Star Beacon

When John Bowler wanted a model for the attributes he was determined to instill in his Edgewood Warrior basketball players, he naturally turned to Dave Golen.

Golen, one of the stars on Bowler’s 1988-1991 St. John Herald teams always demonstrated the tenacity and hustle that Bowler admired.

“He called me when he became coach at Edgewood and said, ‘I’d like to have you come back and help,’” Golen, who will be inducted into the Ashtabula County Basketball Foundation on April 13 at the Conneaut Human Resources Center, said. “‘I want you to show them how to play hard.’

“I had a ball doing it. I’ve done it for the past three years. Coach lets me talk to the team a little. It’s giving back a little.”

Golen, who grew up in Lenox Township, had begun playing basketball as a kid at the old Dorset Elementary School.

“They had open gym and my dad took me,” Golen said. “I picked up the game and really loved playing it.”

He went to Jefferson through the eighth grade, then started at St. John.

“Larry Daniels was coaching there at the time and John Bowler was  his assistant,” Golen said. “I liked Coach Daniels and Coach Bowler. I got to know Jimmy (Chiacchiero) and Steve (Hanek). My uncle Jim was a good ballplayer and a  lot of people said I could jump and rebound like my Uncle Jim.”

The Heralds team Daniels and Bowler assembled became arguably the best in school history, tying Ashtabula for the Northeastern Conference championship in the 1988-89 season, Golen’s sophomore year.

Chiacchiero, who is already a member of the ACBF Hall of Fame, was the point guard on that team and a remarkable shooter, especially from 3-point range. 

DAVE GOLEN of St. John works his way to the bucket during a game against Lake Catholic. Golen will join former teammates Jim Chiacchiero and Steve Hanek when he is inducted into the Ashtabula County Basketball Foundation Hall of Fame on April 13.

DAVE GOLEN, shown with his kids, Anthony and Isabella.

“He was a very good player, one of the best guards I’ve ever played with, even in college,” Golen said. “He was a super guy, too. He and Steve made me feel welcome at St. John. We still play in leagues and he’s still tough. He’s a heck of a player, a shooter, but he does everything well, shoot and rebound.

Hanek, who is also a member of the Hall of Fame, was 6-foot-6, but could play outside as well as inside.

“He was one of the first guys I saw who could handle the ball at 6-6,” Golen said. “He was very mobile and active. He wasn’t just a postup player; he could shoot jumpers and three pointers and drive. He was very athletic; a very good player. To this day, we have a good friendship.”

One of the biggest reasons Hanek could play outside so much was that Golen had him covered under the basket. Though only 6-1, Golen could rebound with anyone.

“I was more of a power forward and sometimes center,” he said. “Whatever they needed. Coach Bowler was good for us, got us where we needed to be. He would do whatever he had to do to win.

“I could jump pretty well and get position. Coach Bowler said at Edgewood, ‘Watch how Dave goes for that rebound. He goes after it harder. If you can play against him, you can play hard.’ I always tried to play the right way and to play hard.”

In addition to the three stars of that St. John team, Augie Pugliese and Greg Andrego were starters. Pugliese was a good point guard, excellent at distributing the ball. He could hit from the outside, but spent most of his time passing the ball. Andrego was a good shooter.

“Greg is still a great guard and plays with us to this day,” Golen said. “I’m lucky to have played with such good players, who are even better people.”

After all these years, that 1988-89 season still stands as the school’s best in basketball.

“I think we’re the only team in school history to win the NEC,” Golen said. “That’s one thing all of us are proud of and still talk about. St. John has moved into a new building but the trophy is still in that case.”

Golen, the son of Fred and Susan Golen, credits Bowler with much of that success.

“Coach Bowler is a great coach with a lot of energy,” Golen said. “One of the best things he did was make us compete against each other. We had hard practices, but he let us play, let us freelance a little bit.

“I also learned a lot of basketball from Larry Daniels when I was younger.”

One of Golen’s sterling performances came in the Star Beacon Senior Classic when he poured in 43 points to lead the Blue team to victory — still a Classic record.

In addition to basketball, Golen played four years of baseball for the Heralds (as a catcher), earning Star Beacon All-Ashtabula County honors as a senior to go with his first-team honors in basketball.

After averaging between 18-20 points and about 15 rebounds per game as a senior, Golen had to make a decision whether to play college basketball at Lake Erie College or Walsh College.

“I liked it at Lake Erie,” he said. “They were building a program, there were some good guys there, it was close to home and I liked the coach (Sam Corabi). Coach John D’Angelo (the great Harvey coach) came over to help us.”

Golen started every game for the Storm, except for one, when he was late for a practice.

“I played small forward and big guard, sometimes power forward,” he said. “I had a good career there and am now in the Lake Erie College Hall of Fame. As far as I know, I still have the career record for rebounds.”

Lake Erie was a high-scoring team at the time, benefiting from the recruitment of stars like Golen, Bob Chandler, Jason Waybrecht from Euclid, point guard Brett Vana from Padua and Kenny Murray from St. Joseph’s.

“We ran and pressed and did what we could do,” Golen said. “I loved rebounding. We took our lumps as as freshmen but we got better.”

The Storm made it to the NAIA Division II tournament Golen’s senior year as an independent.

“They took eight teams and we were the eighth team,” Golen said. “But we went to St. Louis and beat the No. 1 seed, Trinity, in overtime, before we lost to Chicago.”

Golen remembers tying the Trinity game in regulation, setting up an overtime that Murray dominated, hitting five 3s.

“Someone missed a shot and the ball came right to me,” he said. “I laid it up and the game went to overtime.”

Golen graduated from Lake Erie in 1995 with a degree in biology. He went to work for Premix in North Kingsville, where he had worked in the summers while in college. He then moved to North Carolina and worked for a chemical company there for about five years before returning to this area to take a job with Avery-Dennison in Painesville. He spent a couple of years there before taking his current job at the Perry Nuclear Power Plant, where he works in maintenance.

“It’s long hours, but it’s a good job and steady work and it pays well,” he said.

Now divorced, Golen has two children, Anthony, 15, and Isabella, 12. Anthony runs cross country for Lakeside and races four-whelers, while Isabella is into cheerleading and the dance team.

Golen continues to play basketball, often with his former teammates and Hall of Famers like Andy Juhola and Tim Bowler. Hanek doesn’t play any more because of old injuries.

“I’m going to play until I can’t play anymore,” he said. “I’m fortunate Coach Bowler asked me to come out and play. I like to give back.

“When I got the call (about his induction into the Hall of Fame), my first thought was, ‘That’s amazing, that with all those great players, they would pick me.’ I was humbled. I just played hard and banged around.

“I really enjoyed the game. It’s humbling that I played good enough to get to the Hall of Fame. I’m very fortunate to have played for Daniels and Bowler and the guys we had. I’m fortunate to play with guys I stay in touch with. If I needed something, those guys would be there and I could call them. And I still remember my dad driving me to all those games.”

Larick, a retired Star Beacon sports writer, is a freelance writer from Geneva.

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