Jim Podolinski Scholarship Recipient Honored As Epiphany Dad’s Club Tournament Kicks Off

(Athens, PA)  February 17, 2016—Jim Podolinski, through a lifetime of service, has had an impact on generations of youth in the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania and Southern Tier of New York.  Jim volunteered endless hours of coaching basketball and baseball in The Valley.  As a result of his devotion and dedication, a great sense of hope and joy has been bestowed, through the personal relationships we shared with Jim. 


In 1978, Jim founded and organized the Epiphany Basketball Tournament with the help of Art Johnston, Charlie Nittinger, Jim Anthony, and Dusty Shaw.  This annual event has had a substantial impact on The Valley over the past thirty-eight years.  The unique tournament for junior-high students began with a handful of teams and has evolved into an event that has impacted thousands of players, their families, Valley businesses and the development of our community. 


In honor of Jim’s commitment to the tournament, his love for his players and devotion to the community, a scholarship fund has been established in his name through the Epiphany Dad’s Club.  This scholarship will be awarded annually to an Athens, Sayre, or Waverly male or female member of the senior class who was an active member of the Varsity Basketball team and plans to pursue a degree in Business or a Human Resource related field.


Last year’s Jim Podolinski Scholarship recipient was Nathan Williams, a Sayre High School graduate.  Throughout his high school years, Nate was an active member in the community both as an athlete and a volunteer.  He participated in the Epiphany’s Dad’s Club basketball tournament for three years.  He played four years of varsity basketball for the Sayre Redskins, where he earned a starting position and was awarded several honors throughout his high school basketball career.  Some of his accolades include being selected for First Team All-Region for three years, entering the 1000 point club and in 2013 was named Player of the Year by the Towanda Daily Review and Valley Sports Report.


Nate co-founded a basketball based charitable organization known as Hoops for Humanity, that was responsible for donating over $10,000 to charities like Make A Wish, Wounded Warrior, American Cancer Society and Catholic Charities.


This past fall, Nate continued his athletic and academic endeavors at Emmanuel College, in Franklin Springs, Georgia.  He is a member of the Emmanuel Lions Men’s Basketball team while he pursues his degree in sports management and business marketing. 


Each semester, Conference Carolinas—a collegiate athletic conference comprised of several Division II schools in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, recognizes student athletes for their athletic and academic achievements.  The Presidential Honor Roll is awarded to students who achieve a grade-point average of 3.2 or higher on a 4 point scale.  Emmanuel College had 217 student athletes named to the Presidential Honor Roll for Fall 2015.  Nathan Williams was one of eight members of the Men’s Basketball team to have achieved this honor. 


As Nate continues to pursue his athletic and academic careers at Emmanuel College, his commitment to bettering himself both on the court and in the classroom, in addition to bettering his community through service, demonstrate the values that Jim Podolinski held with the utmost regards.


Donations can be made to the Jim Podolinski Scholarship Fund.  Your donation will honor and assist an aspiring Valley student.  It will also help to support Jim’s legacy to his players and the distinctive and extraordinary Epiphany Basketball Tournament he started in 1978. To make a donation please contact Chris Lynch at (570) 888-6602 or mail to First Citizens Community Bank, Attn:  Chris Lynch, 306 West Lockhart Street, Sayre, PA  18840.