FEATURED ALUMNI: Comanche Garcia

1994 B-A grad is headed to the LHU boxing Hall of Fame


Courtesy Photo

Comanche Garcia has his hand raised in victory following a win for the Lock Haven University boxing club.

Julian Bartlebaugh, Editor In Chief

Bellwood-Antis alumnus Comanche Garcia will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at Lock Haven University for his boxing career on Saturday, February 15.

Garcia was a three-time All-American in his career at LHU, which included national championships in 2000 (147 pounds) and 2002 (139 pounds), as well as a berth in the national semifinals in 2001.

“It has definitely been my greatest accomplishment in sports. Being ranked number one in the nation, at two different weight classes, at the Division 1 Collegiate level, has been quite an accomplishment,” said Garcia.

A famous quote for me has always been when people doubt you, or have written you off, always find a way to prove them wrong.”

— Comanche Garcia

Garcia graduated from B-A in 1994 and had a stellar sports career. He was a tri-athlete for the Blue Devils as a member of the varsity football, wrestling, and track teams. As a Blue Devils running back he rushed for over 1,300 yards and carried his team to a district championship game his senior year. Garcia was also a grappler with a 48-13 record. Garcia’s junior and senior years he went 44-11, making it to the postseason both years. 

Garcia took boxing by storm and instantly made an impact for the Lock Haven Boxing Club. Garcia made it to regionals every year he was at LHU.

“I owe it all to both my coaches, Dr. Cox and Coach Cooper, and to my life long friend Tom Partner, who introduced me to the sport, planted the seed, and watched me grow. A famous quote for me has always been when people doubt you, or have written you off, always find a way to prove them wrong,” said Garcia.

After Garcia completed his high school experience, he took the leap and enlisted into the United States Marine Corps and later enrolled at LHU. There he joined ROTC before going active into the United States Army National Guard. He served two tours of duty in the Middle East from 2005-2006, 2008-2009 and 2012-2013. Garcia received the Bronze Star Medal in Iraq for exceptionally meritorious service while assigned as a combat logistics patrol leader during Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Garcia’s early childhood is almost unimaginable for most people, overcoming adversity and becoming who he is today. He grew up in the Bronx  in the 1980’s and witnessed a double murder when he was very young. The two murder victims were his mother and 15-year old brother, and he was left as an orphan. At the age of 6 Garcia was part of the Fresh Air Fund, which led him to spend his summers in Bellwood. He was taken into foster care at the age of 10 and spent the rest of his teen life at Bellwood-Antis.

“Comanche is an all around loveable guy. He has a big heart and was always willing to do anything for anyone. He was an exceptional athlete and one of the hardest workers I know.  He has a good sense of humor and is a great friend, but most important was his loyalty,” said Tom Partner.

Partner, a middle school English teacher at B-A, played high school sports with Garcia, and eventually was a part of the boxing family at LHU. 

“It is really cool to see him being recognized at this level. It really goes to show how far he has come, to overcome all the adversity in his life. That right there is an inspiration to all of us,” said Partner.   

Coach Ken Cooper, who is the current head coach at LHU, was an assistant at Lock Haven when Garcia boxed there.

“He was an outstanding worker and was really driven. You could tell from the start, he had that personality about him and you knew he would be great. He was an amazing athlete and did what he did faster than anyone. He is extremely humble in what he does and I am glad he was chosen to be inducted,” said Cooper.