HEISER: No matter where he's journeyed, Bruce Arians remains a Yorker at heart

  • Bruce Arians grew up in York and is now the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.
  • Saturday, Arians pledged $100,000 to the York City Parks Conservancy.
  • Arians also agreed to act as the honorary chair of the campaign.

Bruce Arians wasn’t born in York.

Bruce Arians no longer lives in York.

Arizona Cardinals coach and York High graduate Bruce Arians holds Austin Stock, 3, as they pose for a photo Saturday, June 17, 2017. They were attending a news conference at the Memorial Park Complex announcing a York City Parks Conservancy. Arians will serve as honorary chair of the conservancy. Bill Kalina photo

Bruce Arians, however, is still a Yorker at heart.

That much has become obvious over the years.

The latest evidence of Arians’ continued devotion to the city where he grew up came on Saturday, when Arians returned to York’s Memorial Park to headline a news conference announcing the creation of the York City Parks Conservancy.

Arians, however, didn’t just make a token appearance at the event and jet back to his Arizona home. He also lightened his wallet to show his commitment to the program.

He kicked off the fundraising process by pledging $100,000 toward the $3 million goal. He will also serve as the honorary chair of the conservancy.

Now, some naysayers might say that $100,000 is chump change for a man who makes a reported $6 million per season as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

Well, it doesn’t matter how much money you make — 100 grand is not chump change.

Arians announces city parks conservancy

The sizable donation and Arians’ willingness to act as honorary chair of the campaign shows just how much York still means to the NFL coach.

 “I know for a fact I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for (Memorial) Park,” Arians said during his speech.

For those who may be wondering, a conservancy is defined as "a body concerned with the preservation of nature, specific species or natural resources."

Well, there is no greater natural resource than our children, and the York City Parks play a pivotal role in the development of our local youth.

Arians’ commitment to maintaining and improving those parks should most certainly be commended.

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Arians’ background: By now, Arians’ story is familiar to many, if not most, Yorkers.

He was born Paterson, New Jersey, but spent most of his formative years in York. He starred for the York Catholic football team at quarterback before eventually graduating from York High.

He then landed a scholarship at Virginia Tech before embarking a four-decade football coaching odyssey that took him to nearly every corner of the country. Except for a six-year stint as Temple’s head coach in the 1980s, Arians was a journeyman assistant, bouncing from team to team at both the college and pro levels. Getting hired, getting fired and moving on became a way of life.

Finally, through a confluence of unexpected factors, he became the interim head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, where he excelled, leading the team into the NFL playoffs.

That performance earned him the head-coaching gig with the Cardinals, where he’s mostly thrived, despite a down season in 2016. In some ways, in his 60s, he’s become something of a coaching rock star.

He’s known for being refreshingly blunt, uncommonly funny and even unexpectedly fashionable in his trademark Kangol hat.

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He’s described himself as the “the cool uncle you like to have a drink with.”

Through it all, however, he’s never forgotten his York roots. He still has many family and friends in the area, and they remain steadfastly loyal to him.

In addition, he regularly returns to York and often takes the time to try make an impact on the city’s youth. For example, he did just that in 2015, on an unofficial Bruce Arians Day at York High, where he gave an inspirational talk to the school’s students.

So, his most recent efforts to boost the York City Parks shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

After all, no matter where he’s journeyed, Arians has been, and always will be, a Yorker at heart.

Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.