HOUSTON (WHTM) — A basketball coach with roots in the Midstate has been forced to evacuate his home in Texas.
Scott Pera, a Hershey native who coached Annville-Cleona to a state championship in 1999, is now head men’s basketball coach at Rice University in Houston.
“I honestly haven’t thought about basketball for five days,” Pera told ABC27 during a FaceTime call on Tuesday. “Overwhelming maybe is a word; unimaginable is another. It’s hard to describe the devastation that we’re seeing unless you are here.”
Pera is set to begin his first season atop the Rice hoops program after several years as an assistant. He says he has been unable to be on campus since Harvey made landfall last week.
The coach says while the university “is doing an amazing job taking care of the kids and protecting them,” there is no navigable road yet available between the school and his home about 12 miles away. He has been keeping in touch with players, staff, and administrators via email, text and phone calls.
“I’m just thinking about those kids. They are away from home. I try to put myself in their parents’ shoes, concerned,” Pera said. “And we’ll try to help anyone who needs our help, too. Where we can lend a hand, we will.”
The coach’s own living situation changed considerably on Tuesday when flood waters began creeping higher near his home.
“I live in a cul de sac,” he explained. “The four houses around the corner of the cul de sac from me all took on water, so we figured we were next. We lost power last night. We decided to evacuate the home.”
Now staying with friends about a mile to the north, Pera, his wife, and daughters Sydney and Brynn are safe. Reports from his neighborhood seemed to indicate the water level had not risen considerably since they left. Remaining optimistic, Pera hoped subsiding rains would allow him the opportunity to return and assess the situation for himself by Friday.
“We are praying that the water stays out of our front door,” Pera said, “but if it does, we’ll fix it in time. We will worry about people right now, not property.”
Pera, whose parents, relatives and friends are scattered around the Hershey, Harrisburg and New Cumberland areas, says he has been in constant contact with people in central Pennsylvania through social media.
“To everybody back in central Pennsylvania – that’s where I was born and raised, it is where I will always claim, and I am so proud to be from Hershey – to them, I just want to say that I am overwhelmed with gratitude over their concern for my family,” Pera said. “Alyssa and I can’t thank everyone enough for all your concern. We’re safe. We’re doing fine, and we’re just trying to make it through each day the best we can.”