As former Steelers player John Banaszak enjoyed his retirement, the three-time Super Bowl champion and longtime college football coach was set to make a comeback to the sport in his own way.
He recently became president of Pittsburgh Indoor Sports Arena at Harmar. He knew the owners, Karyn and Bob Brooks, for a long time before taking the job.
“I was bored at home and was looking for something fun to do,” he said.
The establishment, open since 1999, offers sports enthusiasts and athletes a plethora of activities to experience, as well as a drink and a bite to eat at the PISA Pub & Cafe. The space is managed by Banaszak, Jenna Plummer, Director of Marketing and Events, five full-time employees and five to six part-time employees.
Three turf fields make up the back half of the building, along with batting cages. Multi-sports grounds are located on the other side of the building, allowing the practice of more than 10 sports: basketball, volleyball, roller derby, futsal (a form of indoor football), pickleball (a game of racket) and Moreover. Summer camps are also offered for children.
Memberships are $ 30 for the entire year. Plummer said they are looking to expand membership options to help cater for different groups, including retirees, veterans, family members and walkers.
“We want to create individualized memberships to meet people’s needs,” she said.
Expansion is just one of their plans to increase traction towards the facility. Before covid, more than 800,000 people visited the facility in one year. Covid has had an impact on business, but PISA has worked to get back to normal while maintaining a safe environment, Plummer said. No cases of covid have been reported.
“It is important for us to provide a clean and safe environment for our customers. This is our number one priority, ”she said.
As a retired veteran himself, Banaszak would love to see more veterans visit the facility. He pioneered the idea of offering free memberships to veterans. He will visit the H. John Heinz III Medical Center of the Department of Veterans Affairs in O’Hara to see how he could help their fitness programs.
Event space is provided in the property for all the special occasions that people wish to organize. A birthday party, a regional NFL Combine, and an antique toy exhibit are examples of events that took place in space. Banaszak said the space offers many possibilities.
“Anything you can hold in a convention center, you can hold it here,” he said.
The facility has not finished expanding. Plummer said there are plans to add more sports to play. The pair are considering wheelchair basketball, a golf simulator, and cornhole tournaments. Part-time employees are needed to help with the establishment’s pub and cafe.
“The growth of the business has been tremendous. We have had a period of growth in the last four years that I am here, ”she said.