10th Annual Banquet
Lenny Kuczewski epitomized the football player who used courage, quickness, desire and brains to overcome his lack of size, and become an outstanding high school and college football player.
He was, along with previous inductee, Ralph Menapace, one of Mike Terry’s famous “watch charm guards”. He had a sixth sense, which gave him the ability to diagnose plays quickly, and he was able to make tackled in the opponent’s backfield over and over.
After graduating from high school, he felt he was too small for college football and joined the Army. The lure of the gridiron became too much for him, however, and he soon found himself in a football uniform while in the service. He performed so well as a member of some service teams for talent that they knew would be available as soon as the war ended.
Coach Bob Devaney of the University of Wyoming saw something special in Lenny Kuczewskiu. Coach Devaney came to Mount Carmel and recruited Lenny between shifts at a local coal mine. With the encouragement of his family and friends, he decided to give college football a shot. He attended the University of Wyoming, and was an outstanding lineman, and captained the team in his senior year. He was named most valuable player in the Sun Bowl.
Tom “The Bomb” Alexander- Tommy Alexander has always had a little bit of recognition problem. Because he was surrounded by so many outstanding athletes, the tendancy was to give others the praise. However, even on the basis of his statistics, he belongs right there with the Doviak’s and Buchinski’s when the great quarterbacks of Mount Carmel High School are recalled.
Tom holds seven Mount Carmel High School passing reords. Among these are: The leading career pass completeiong percentage of 51.6%. The one season pass completion percentage of 56.76% in 1969. The fewest career interceptions. The most games with a pass completion. The most extra points rushing in one season. And the most extra points passed for in one season. In addition, he is among the top 10 in single game passing, single season passing, career passing, career and season touchdowns, and career and season completions.
He was, pure and simple, a winner. Is record as a quarterback form Mount Carmel teams was 57 and 1. His only loss came in the 1970 Eastern Conference championship game at Valley View when Valley View shocked the Tornadoes 14-8/ Putting his leadership role in perspective is a fact that in 25 years of coaching at Mount Carmel High School, Jazz Diminick allowed only one quarterback to call his own plays. That Quarterback was Tom Alexander.
After graduation, Tom quarterbacked for four years at Salem College in Salem., West Virginia. His record as a starting quarterback there was 20 wins, 8 losses and 2 ties.
“Tom the Bomb” is still a winner. He runs an auto dealership in Sunbury and lives on a farm in Paxinos, Pa.
TOM (VERNON) VERSHINSKI
Tom Vershinski was such an outstanding athlete in so many sports that it would be difficult to choose which sport was his best. Tom was an extremely big man for that day. And the combination of his height and strength, together with his outstanding speed, made him a great three-spot athlete in Mount Carmel. He captained the football, basketball and track teams in 1932 when e graduated. He threw discus, high jumped, and held the school record in the long jump for many years., After high school, he attended West Chester State on a football scholarship, and in 1932, ran 85 yards for the winning touchdown as West Chester State defeated Indiana State for State Teacher’s college championship, 6-0. He transferred to Bloomsburg State in 1933, where he played football, basketball, track and baseball. In 1933, he won the State Teacher’s discus title. He began teaching at Mount Carmel High School in 1947. He was an assistant under Mike Terry, and was also head basketball coach. Probably his outstanding player during that period was his son, Tom. Jr., one of the finest athletes ever to compete at Mount Carmel High School.
He also coached baseball and his 1948 team was good enough to win the South Anthracite League championship. He is remembered by many students and former athletes, this great sportsman, teacher, and athlete. He died on September 14, 1985.
Ray Green was an unusual high school athlete. Even though he was short and strong, which made him a natural lineman, he was versatile enough to run the mile on some very good track teams.
He was an outstanding high school athlete, who received a football scholarship to attend Bucknell University. He was a starting guard as a sophomore. Against St. Thomas University, he blocked a punt, picked it up and ran it in for a touchdown, which gave Bucknell a 12-6 victory. As a result of that victory, Bucknell was chosen to play in the first Orange Bowl game in 1935. AS a college senior, he was selected to play in the college all-star game against the Philadelphia Eagles. One of his teammates was Vince Lombardi.
Ray returned to Mount Carmel to work and began his coaching career at Mount Carmel Catholic. His Mount Carmel Catholic teams were known for their hard hitting tough brand of football. He later moved to Mount Union coached there for a short period, then returned to Minersville where his teams were perennial conference contenders.
He was one of 13 children of hard working parents. Like so many others, his only opportunity to get out of the coal region was to capitalize on his athletic ability. So when the opportunity to play under Coach Carl Snavely at Bucknell presented itself, he was willing to do whatever it took. He paid for his meals by digging coal on weekends, and then bartering the coal for food at the College Inn in Lewisburg. Ray Green is presently enjoying retirement at his home in Hegins, Pa.
Al is one of the great little men who dominated athletics in the late 20’s at Mount Carmel High School.
In football, he was at his best when the going was toughest as in the famous game against Shenandoah at Lost Creek/. This is the game which made the Tornadoes the champions of the Eastern Conference. Even though he was hurt, he played an outstanding game against the big, tough Shenandoah team that featured the likes of Ed Katalinas and Bobby Nork.
Fortunately, he recovered in time to help Mount Carmel win the State championship against Bellefonte in a game at Penn State. Al and Jim Morrison, who was previous inductee, were the leading receivers of quarterback Mike Terry on the team.
He lettered in football, basketball and track for four years at Mount Carmel High School. He also held the record in the low hurdles for a number of years and was a member of some good Mount Carmel High School mile relay teams.
Following high school, he went to Beckely College in Harrisburg, which at that time was a favorite stop for many coal region athletes. You could imagine Beckley compiled a fine football won and lost record during that period.
After graduation, he returned to Mount Carmel Township where he coached football and basketball along with fellow inductee, Charlie Karlow. His most successful athlete was Len Eshmont, who later made history at Fordham and with the San Francisco 49’ers. His high school coaching career was interrupted by a hitch in the Navy. After the war he returned to Mount Carmel Township, where he was given the job of reviving the athletic program.
He was also an outstanding musician. At one time or another, he has been a member of almost every region band. He still makes appearances with Shamokin’s “Our Band”. He enjoys retirement, presently living in Atlas, Pa.
Gary Howanec was a three-year starter and one of the primary factors in the “Golden age” era of Mount Carmel football during the late 60’s. During a period as a three-year starter as offensive tackle from 1967 through 1970, Mount Carmel High School’s football team won 44 games. Additionally, he was a big scorer as a discus thrower and shot putter on a Mount Carmel High School track Team that was undefeated for five consecutive years.
After graduating, Gary started for three years as an offensive tackle at Brown University. He was voted outstanding player of the game in the Ivy League Championship, in a game against Harvard in 1974. After graduation he returned to Mount Carmel where he started in the insurance business and coached the Mount VCarmel High School freshman football team to a 19-1 record over a three-year span. It was during this period that Ed Romance’s dream of starting a chapter of the Pennsylvania State Sports Hall of Fame germinated, and Gary was one of the original founding members.
He and his wife, Jean, now live in Atlanta, Georgia where he is a highly successful insurance executive with the Prudential Insurance Company.
JOHN "DAY DAY" GREDZINSKI
John “Day Day” Gredzinski was a real gentle giant. You’ve heard the story a hundred times; but he was another one of those guys whose potentially great athletic career had to sacrificed because of war intervened.
“Day Day” finished up at Mount Carmel Catholic as a defensive end and linebacker, then immediately left to join the Navy.
After returning to the Mount Carmel area, he married Lillian Holubowicz. He also played in a tough semi-pro football league with the Anthracite Maroons. His team, which included people like Mike Terry, George Wrona, Bob Ballent, Earl Dallabrida, “Dee Dee” Deitrick and Tony Mosello, was one of the best ever assembled.
His play was so outstanding the he was offered a trial with the Baltimore Colts. But, by that time, his two daughters, Suzanne and Kim, had arrived, and it was important for him to begin making a serious living. He was employed by Lukens Steel Company as a millwright in the Glenmoore area near Pottstown, Pa. He remained there until he died on February 6, 1986. His daughter, Suzanne, is a nurse who works for the federal government. His daughter, Kim, is a special education teacher and coach at the Coatesville Area High School.
Bill was born in Locust Gap, one of seven children of William and Mary Beierschmitt. At Bradely High School in Locust Gap, he was a starter on the football, basketball and track teams for three years. He played halfback in football and forward in basketball. AS a sophomore, he led Mount Carmel Township to a victory over a bigger Mount Carmel Area team. As a sophomore, he also was a first place winner in a long jump, in a meet which later became the district championships. After high school, he went to Beckley Business College in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and graduated from that institution in 1931.
He became a Director of Athletics of Kulpmont High School in 1932 and remained in that position until the jointure with Mount Carmel in 1964. He coached Kulpmont High School basketball for 11 seasons, compiling 134 wins and a 55 loss record. Five of the 11 years as Coach, he took the Wildcats to the District IV playoffs. Two of those times, his teams reached the finals. This is quite an achievement when you consider that all teams played in one classification, and Kulpmont’s enrollment was among the smallest.
He teams won three league championships, including the Susquehanna Valley League and Keystone League Championships in both 1941 and 1944.
Tom Brennan, who was then editor of the News-Item and a Kulpmont High School alum himself, commented on his ability as a basketball coach: “Even though Bill Beierschmitt’s abilities as a basketball coach are overshadowed by the creative accomplishments of his friends Mike Terry and George Wrona’s football powerhouses, his court teams were feared from Altoona to Scranton, and it was Bill Beierschmitt who was responsible for making Kulpmont a basketball hotbed.”
Bill Beierschmitt joined the Mount Carmel Area faculty in September 1965, and died shortly thereafter in December 1965. He is survived by his wife, the former Ruth Dempsey, and three daughters, Joan, Ruth and Louise.
Coach Charlie Karlow looked like a prizefighter, but his interests were much deeper and much more varied than just sports. Apparently, this was noticeable at an early age because his 1929 yearbook says, “None, by himself, is his parallel”. He was a man who coached, played, ran tournaments, and then was able to go home and build a house all by himself.
After a fine career in high school in all three sports-football, basketball, and track- he earned a full scholarship to Albright University. His senior year there, he co-captained the team along with Stan Hino of Shenandoah. He also lettered in track, participated in the weight events.
When he came to Mount Carmel High School in 1953, he continued to coach football and basketball, and, in addition, ran intra-mural programs in volleyball and basketball,
Coach Karlow had a broken nose that had never been fixed, which gave him the look of the tough guy that central casting might have chose. But he spoke five languages, played guitar, mandolin, piano, organ, accordion, harmonica; was a super dancer, swimmer and diver, and a horseshoe champion. Mostly, he was a great guy who was a lot of fun, and made an indelible impression on a whole generation of high school kids.
When Ed Romance got his plans for a Sports Hall of Fame going, he insisted on one additional award each year- the honoring of the Outstanding High School Scholar Athlete. He recognized the importance of encouraging excellence not only in sports, but academics as well. We have always had outstanding award winners, but Lori Rothermel’s accomplishments rank with the best.
Lori is #1 in her class with an average of 97.52. He SAT scores are 1259. She is president of the National Honor Society. He has won District Championships in booth informative and persuasive speaking. She’s been a Summer scholar at both Lebanon Valley College and Washington and lee University.
She was Rotary’s Exchange Student to Korea in 1985-86, and a winner of Lebanon Valley College’s Presidential Leadership Scholarship.
Athletically, she’s just as big a winner. She’s lettered in four sports: Cross country, track, swimming and basketball. She captained last Fall’s Girl’s District Courses year’s Lady Tornado Track Team. Lori has narrowed her choice of colleges to four; Princeton, Bucknell, Penn and Lebanon Valley.
Lori is the daughter of Linda and Ray Rothermel of Mount Carmel. This delightful, pretty teenager will continue to succeed wherever she decided to go- accomplishment is part of her makeup.
A four year Varsity player, earning playing time and her letter in each of the four years as a “Lady Tornado”. She was a Freshman member of the 1984-1985 Varsity team that won the District IV AA Basketball Championship. She made the All-Star Holiday Tournament Team in her sophomore, junior and senior years. Her 1000 point was scored on January 6, 1988 (senior year) against West Hazleton.
And, in her four years of Varsity ball, scored a total of 1181 points making her the third highest scorer since the inception of Girls Varsity Basketball at Mount Carmel. Being Co-Captain of the 1987-1988 team and, with the aforementioned achievements, Shannon can be proud of her past performance.
Tony Dunkelberger is co-captain of the 1987-1988 Lourdes Basketball Team, which won the Susquehanna Inter-Scholastic Athletic League Championship for the first time in the school’s history. He has scored more than 1,000 career points and is Lourdes fifth highest all-time scorer.
He is also second in career rebounds with 778, and fourth in all-time field goal percentage with a career percentage of 49%.
He is eighth in all-time career steals with 110, and 10th on Lourdes all-time career assists with 106. He is the leading hitter on the baseball team, and one of the leading contributors to Lourdes golf team.
However, Lourdes basketball coach, Lee Korbich, feels that his records were secondary to the contributions made because of his leadership qualities. Coach Korbich feels that Tony Dunkelberger has been an inspiration to his teammates and that his actions on and off the court made him a perfect role model for teammates and younger players.
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Dave Daya is representative of the kinds of men to have elevated pool from the smoke-filled rooms of pool halls to the ballrooms of the large hotels in Las Vegas.
Dave got his start in pool at what is now called Academy Sports Center. At that itme, it was clled the “Greek’s”, and his father was the pool manager. By hanging around the tables, he developeda nice relationship with Ed Murray, who took an interest in him, and taight him some of the fine points of the game. He began to improve to the point where he began entering local tournaments. At age 14, he won his first trophy. Since there were few tournaments on a local basis, his need for competition was not being met. But a meeting with Tom Monaski, the organizer of the Pennsylvania State Pool Championships, encouraged him to enter the State pool championship. He placed ninth in his first 9-ball championships, and that taste of victory got him eager for more.
He began playing tournaments in New York, Ohio and even Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, he placed fifth in a tournament against World Class 9-Ball players. He also won tournaments in Williamsport and York, and became recognized as Pennsylvania’s outstanding 9-Ball player. At that time, he was invited to play an exhibition against Allen Hopkins, the current World 9-Ball champion in Atlantic City.
In 1987, he won the New York State 9-Ball championship and is mentioned notably in the bible of pool, “Pool and Billiards” magazine. He continues to compete nationally- an outstanding champion.
KULPMONT HIGH SCHOOL 1938 STATE CHAMPIONS
The Sunday morning edition of “The Philadelphia Inquirer” on December 4, 1938 carried the headline: “KULPMONT SMEARS FERNDALE”. Underneath, smaller headlines said: ‘Temple Victor, Notre Dame Beats Army”
The Wildcats had indeed “smeared” Ferndale 50-19. Led by the running of Joe Pezelski (Pell), they had added one more convincing chapter to the growing legend of the Coal Region football.
Many of that team’s members are among this Hall of Fame’s brightest stars.