5TH Annual Banquet
Jim Garret has done it all in football. But right now, He’s doing what he loves best: coaching. He was an All-Conference fullback at Utah State, played a season each with the Eagles and Giants and finally bowed out as a player after two years in the Canadian Football League.
He then coached 9 years as a college coach, highlighted by a 5 year period at Susquehanna during which his teams were 40-3-1. He worked as a talent scout for the NFL before returning to his first love: coaching. He has been an assistan coach with the Cowboys, Giants, New Orleans Saints and since 1978 the Cleveland Browns.
Few people approach their jobs with as much commitment, enthusiasm or sense of purpose as Jim Garrett. He is certainly a man who is in love with his work.
Cleveland Browns Coach Jim Garrett stunned some people at a banquet recently when he said he considered Ben DiFrancesco “the finest football player I’ve ever coached”. Remember now, Garrett has coached NFL for 15 years, including several championship games and at least one Pro Bowl.
People who had seen the Atlas Native were not surprised. In 1960 Ben had already played for two years as a linebacker at Susquehanna for Coach Whitey Kiel. But new Coach Garrett has come to Susquehanna and He was a discipline of the Gap 6 defense. The success of this defense depends on the presence of a guard, playing the “gap” between offensive linemen who is quick enough to rush the passer, agile enough to avoid blockers and prevent the sweep and tough enough to stop the fullback drive up the middle.
Back then “grass” was still something you mowed or fed your horses, Bob Pittello was a certifiable addict. Not the dangerous kind. He was a football “junkie” who for 25 years drove 60 miles a day to coach at Susquehanna University. This was after working all day. When the Crusaders were at home Saturday, He’d rush home form their Friday evening practice change clothes and head for the Mount Carmel Stadium where He’s sit in with the Tornado Coaches during their game. Following morning He’d drive back to Susquehanna to prepare for that afternoon’s game. Busy Schedule? Sure. But they were playing a football game, and a football junkie needed a fix.
He was a pretty fair country football player too. Good enough to get into Susquehanna U’s Hall of Fame in 1970.
Ray Singley epitomized the Coal Region youth, who used his skill as an athlete to finance his education. He was one of 13 children living in a Company house, whose football ability as captain of the Mount Carmel High School team earned him a scholarship at Gettysburg College.
He played 4 years at Gettysburg, captaining the team in 1925. In 1926 he returned to Mount Carmel as head coach of both Football and Basketball. The following summer he attended Knute Rockne’s Coaching School. Apparently the lessons of the Old Master were learned well: in 1927 he coached the Tornadoes to the State Championship in Football.
He left Mount Carmel after another 4 years to become an assistant at Williamsport with Coach Harold Rock. He remained there 9 years and then retired. But he kept his interest in the sport alive by officiating until 1950.
In 1977, on the 50th Anniversary of the State Championship, he was honored at a Banquet by the Mount Carmel Rotary Club. His acceptance speech was one of the most emotional and dignified, ever heard. It was one of the Highlights of the 63 year History of that Banquet. Mr. Singley passed away in 1980.
There aren’t a lot of people who can boast of having played in three major bowl games, but Dennis Zmudzin can. The former Lourdes Standout played against LSU in the ’74 Orange Bowl, against Baylor in the ’75 Cotton Bowl, and against Alabama in the ‘75(’76) Sugar Bowl. (At that time the Sugar Bowl was played December 31.)
Dennis is probably Lourdes High’s Outstanding All-Time Athlete. Though he is mostly known for his football reputation, Dennis was a tough rebounder, who was voted the outstanding player in the Central Pennsylvania Catholic Basketball League in 1971.
His career as a player at Penn State, during which the Lions were 33 and 6, was capped by selections to the All East and All State Defensive Teams. He was a tough defensive end who provided excellent pass rush for the Nittany Lions. Following Graduation, he took a brief shot at the NFL with the Baltimore Colts before returning home. He’s employed by B&L Dodge-Chrysley, Shamokin, PA>
Another of the Coal Region Stars who gave the University of Pennsylvania its last fling at National Football Prominence. Jim, along with previous inductees Glenn Adams, Walt Hynoski, and Ed Binkoski, starred at Penn between 1950 and 1955. He played 2 years on a National Championship Service Team at Bolling Air Force Base. He finished his football career with one season in the Canadian Football League on the roster of the Saskatchewan Rough Riders.
Jim coached briefly and then entered the insurance business. He was a company Executive until 1979 when he purchased an Insurance Agency in Hanover, Pennsylvania where he currently resides. His wife is a partner in the insurance operation. His eldest son, Mike is a teacher-coach at Freedom High School in Bethlehem. Hi daughter, Maureen is a social worked in Adams County and his youngest, Jim, Jr. will join his aren’t in the family business upon graduation from Penn State this spring.
Gary was a standout football player for Shamokin High School during 1952 and 1955. Upon his graduation from Shamokin, He attended East Stroudsburg State College during the years of 1956 and 1959. When he graduated from East Stroudsburg, he became an assistant coach at Bloomsburg High School in 1960. In 1963 He became and assistant coach for the Pottsville “Crimson Tide”. Finally in 1966 Gary became the Head Football Coach at Blue Mountain High School, where he was head mentor until he passed away on July 26, 1968.
Felix was a native of Kulpmont, attended Mount Carmel High where he played end and captained the 1931 team. Wilkes-Barre G.A.R. was the only team to score on and defeat the Tornadoes 13-6. Upon graduation he enrolled at Perkiomen Prep where he lettered in track and football.
Matriculating at LaSalle College, Kadel played varsity football four years under Marty Brill of Notre Dame fame. He also captained the track tea, at LaSalle.
Kadel joined Mike Terry’s coaching staff at Kulpmont, and played pro-football two season with Shenandoah and Allentown. In 1943 he joined Nick Kotys at Pottsville High. After six successful seasons, he became head coach as Kotys went on to Yale University.
As Pottsville head coach Kadel won three consecutive Keystone Championships. He won the Southern Conference but lost to Swoyerville 20-2 in the play-off.
Sportscaster Ed Romance and Kadel purchased the Pottsville Packers in the Easter Professional Basketball League. They defeated the Harrisburg Caps for the League Championship.
ATTORNEY CHARLES AMBROSE
Attorney Charles Ambrose was a graduate of Mount Carmel Area High School, Conway Hall Prep School in Carlisle, and Dickinson Law school. He was a 3 sport athlete both in High School and Prep School. He once competed against the legendary Jim Thorpe in a meet between Conway Hall and the Carlisle Indian School. He practiced lay in the Coal Region from 1910 until his death in 1958.
During this period 1920 through 1940, Mr. Ambrose was the leading football official in Eastern Pennsylvania. He handled many of the early pro games in this area.
ROGER “RED” BARNHRT
Roger “Red” Barnhart started playing baseball at the age of ten. From 1930 to 1936 he was a member of Kurt Shaffer’s Indians. He played for Trevorton form 1936 to 1941.
In 1941 he went to Trenton, New Jersey, where he played until 1943. During that time he was nominated to the All State National Baseball Congress team in a tournament at Perth Amboy, New Jersey.
In 1944, “Red” played with the Trenton Giants, in 1945 he played with the Jamestown Falcons. For the next two years he played baseball in Pennsylvania for a Bradford team and a team in Sunbury. In 1949 he returned to play in the Interstate League and played for Mahanoy City in the North Atlantic League in 1951.
“Red” was a baseball manager in the Black Diamond League, Elysburg, Benton, Twin and Tri County Leagues. For four years he was a Commission Scout for the Washington Senators.
Many of our High School Students will remember “Red” as their football trainer. He was a football trainer at Trevorton High School for 16 years, at Line Mountain High School for 2 years, and several years at Our Lady of Lourdes High School. From 1969 to 1974 he was also the Trainer for the Shamokin Area High School Football Team. He also trained for several years with the Coal Crackers and the Chambersburg Cardinals.
JOHN “WITT” GILCHRIST
John “Witt” Gilchrist was one of the greatest football players ever produced in Trevorton and an outstanding baseball star. He was once described as an athlete who could provide any coach or player with good sound advice.
He participated in games against some of the best gridiron aggregations in the state, among teams on which he played were the famous Shenandoah Presidents. The Mount Carmel Wolverines of the Anthracite League, the Shamokin Second Street Team and The Shamokin Maroons. While playing with Shenandoah Presidents in 1925, he played against the Frankford Yellow Jackets at Philadelphia, at the now J.F.K. Memorial Stadium. He would play in Philadelphia on Saturday and then travel to Atlantic City, N.J. to play on Sunday.
“Witt” was noted for his ball carrying ability and was classed as one of the most difficult ball carrier to tackle because of his unique method of running and speed.
He played baseball for the Trevorton Orioles between the years of 1917 to 1935. One summer while playing for the West Cameron Baseball Team at Rolling Green, he had the longest home run ever hit at that field.
Football and baseball were not the only sports he participated in. For a short while he also played on a basketball team in Trevorton.
We are sure if he would have lived at another time, he would have gone on to play professional football or baseball. When “Witt” was on a field participating in a sporting even, he was his happiest. One of his finest qualities was he never had an unkind words to say about an opponent, which is why we are sure the baseball field in Trevorton was dedicated to his honor on August 20, 1960.
If your recollection of Girl’s Basketball is two bounces and stop; and fouls called for “over guarding” you’ve been away a long time. Today’s girls game has pressure defense, the fast break and pretty girls who dribble and shoot just like the boys do…and sometimes better.
Nobody combined the above attributes more than Mount Carmel Area’s freshman sensation, Maria Fantanarosa. In her first season with the Tornado Varsity Maria scored 886 points, a state record. That many points used to be a pretty good career for most Coal Region basketball players, regardless of sex.
She’d led the Schuylkill League in field goals (351), free throws (185) and free throw attempts (306). Six times she
Gene Mattucci loves sports. He also loves kids and cooking. We all know how successful his restaurant is-that’s testimony o how well he cooks. Not so many know how he satisfies that love for kids and sports, however.
For openers, Gene has given away more than 300 pizzas a year for more than 30 years. The pizzas were given to members of the Tornado Football team at first, but later to members of the baseball, basketball, track and wrestling team were included.
Additionally, a Mount Carmel Area Sports Banquet is not complete without the presentation of the “Chef’s Trophy” to both the participant and his or her mother.
THE ATLAS FIRE COMPANY
Interest in sports is part of the structure of all organizations in the Coal Region. And they are to a large degree responsible for the Region’s success in athletics. No period with as much success as the Atlas Fire Company. The “Hosey” seems to reflect the competitive nature of the people of the little town. Its athletic success is far out of proportion to its population. They have sponsored Men’s Softball continuously since 1940, winning League Championships in 1947 and 1952. Their Girl’s Softball Team, started in 1975, won Pre-teen 1977, 1978, 1980, and 1981. The Ladies Bowling Team won a State Championship in 1979. The Men’s Bowling Team, active since 1958, won Championships in 1958, 1973 and 1977. They have competed on a team basis in Darts, Shuffleboard and Pool. Winning Championships there, too.
However, it is in Little League Baseball that they have enjoyed the most success. In the twenty two years since their sponsorship of Kid’s Baseball the “Hosey” has won 16 pennants and 9 World Series Championships.
Bob Greco is another of those unsung people who have had tremendous positive effect on the athletic lives of our kids. Like others before him, Bob finished his High School Basketball career still needing an outlet for his competitive drive. He played on several semi-pro teams including the Locust Gap Apollos for a while; but when the opportunities to play dried up he turned to coaching as an outlet.
He coached St. Peter’s CYA Team from 1960 through 1965, and the Holy Spirit Team from 1966 through 1980. His teams have always been fundamentally sound, having winning records of 19 of 20 seasons. He has also won two and third in the State CYA Championship.
Terry Faust is another person whom the competitive fires just never went out. After a High School Career in Township to the 1962 Southern Division Championship and played as a guard on the 1962 District 4 Basketball Championship team, Terry played softball and turned to coaching midget football in order to stay active.
Ever an organizer, in 1962 he helped build a Softball field in Ferndale. This project evolved into an excellent sports complex, which includes lighted softball and little league fields plus a playground area. Terry is President of the Ferndale Sportsmen’s Club, which runs the complex.
He is being honored for his contributions to local sports.
Danny Venn is an achiever. At Coal Township High School he was an outstanding three sport athlete. He never lost a match as a member of Coal’s boxing team. After graduation he was a member of an undefeated college football team; and late on compiled a record of 22 wins and 1 draw as a 155 pound boxer for the Navy Air Corps team at Olathe Kansas.
As a dog breeder, his “Venn’s Home of Champions” kennel has been the East’s most consistent producer of Field Trial Winners. He’s produced 23 Field Champions; and in 1977 and again in 1979 produced the Pennsylvania Grand Champion.
WILLIAM “JUDGE” DERRICK
Judge graduated from Trevorton High School in 1944. In 1950 he graduated from Gettysburg College with a BA Degree and from Bucknell University in 1960 with an MA Degree.
As an athlete and coach, Judge competed in basketball at Trevorton High School, where he coached basketball from 1951 to 1958.
He coached football at Trevorton High School from 1951 until 1959. He served as a volunteer trainer for the Line Mountain Football Program from 1975-1980.
In the 1940’s he was the Coach of Post 92 American Legion Junior Baseball Team. He also coached baseball at Trevorton High School from 1951-1958. He organized and conducted the Midget League Baseball program in Trevorton from 1952 until 1963.
Judge was affiliated with the Zerbe Township School District in the roles of teacher, coach, guidance counselor and principal. In the Line Mountain School District he served as a program coordinator, principal and acting superintendent. At the present time he is an administrative assistant.
Dawn is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. John Bush, 416 North Market Street, Mount Carmel, Pa. Dawn is a seventeen year old Senior at Mount Carmel Area High School who has lettered in Track, Cross-Country and Basketball. She has lettered four years in Basketball and has been a starter her last three years and aslo a Captain or Co-captain during those years. She was selected as a member of the Senior All Stars of the North Squad of the Schuylkill Basketball League.
At the completion of her junior year she ranked third in her class of two hundred four students at Mount Carmel Area High School. She is the Secretary of both the National Honor Society and the National Athletic Honor Society. She is also a member of the Quill and Scroll and Masque and Gavel Societies. Dawn will attend Bucknell University in the fall of this year.
WILLIAM JACOB NIEHOFF
William, is the son of Mrs. Judith Strunk & Mr. Jacob Niehoff, and lives at 501 Balsam Street, Shamokin, Pa. Bill is a Senior at Shamokin Area High School who has played four years of Basketball, four years of Baseball and a member of the Honor Society in his junior and senior year.
In his senior year he played in the Whitey McCloskey Roundball Classic Tournament, and was Co-Captain of the “Indians” Basketball Team. Bill lettered in Basketball in grades 10, 11 and 12, he also lettered in Baseball in grades 11 and 12 He made the Honor Roll Listings in grades 10, 11, and 12 and was a member of the Varsity Club in grades 10, 11 and 12. Bill played Teener League Baseball in his freshman and sophomore years and played American Legion Baseball in the summer of 1981 and 1982.