While former Steelers player John Banaszak was enjoying retirement, the three-time Super Bowl champion and longtime college football coach was ready to make a return to sports in his own way.
He recently became president of Pittsburgh Indoor Sports Arena in Harmar. He knew the owners, Karyn and Bob Brooks, for a long time before taking on the position.
”I was bored at home and was looking for something fun to do,” he said.
The facility, open since 1999, offers sports enthusiasts and athletes a plethora of activities to experience, plus a drink and a bite to eat at the PISA Pub & Cafe. The space is run by Banaszak, Marketing and Events Manager Jenna Plummer, five full-time and five to six part-time employees.
Three turf fields make up the back half of the building, accompanied by batting cages. Multisport courts are on the other side of the building, allowing more than 10 sports to be played on it — basketball, volleyball, roller derby, futsal (a form of indoor soccer), pickleball (a racquet game) and more. Summer camps are offered for kids, too.
Memberships are $30 for the entire year. Plummer said they are looking to expand membership options to help cater to different groups including retirees, veterans, family members and walkers.
”We want to create individualized memberships to meet people’s needs,” she said.
The expansion is just one of their plans to increase traction to the facility. Before covid, over 800,000 people would visit the facility in a year. Covid impacted business, but PISA has been working to get back to normal while also maintaining a safe environment, Plummer said. There have been zero reported covid cases.
“It is important for us to to offer a clean and safe environment for our guests. That is our number one priority,” she said.
As a retired veteran himself, Banaszak would like to see more veterans visit the facility. He pitched the idea to offer free memberships to veterans. He will be visiting the H. John Heinz III Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center in O’Hara to see how he could assist with their fitness programs.
Event space is offered at the facility for any special occasions people want to host. A birthday party, a regional NFL Combine and an antique toy show are examples of events that have been held in the space. Banaszak said the space offers many possibilities.
“Anything you can hold at a convention center, you are able to hold here,” he said.
The facility is not done expanding. Plummer said there’s plans to add more sports to play. The pair are eyeing wheelchair basketball, a golf simulator and cornhole tournaments. Part-time employees are wanted to help out with the facility’s pub and cafe.
“Growth for the business has been great. We have had a growth period over the last four years I have been here,” she said.