11th Annual Banquet
Joe Greco, Jr., was one of the leaders in the “First Wave” of great Joe Diminick teams. AS a sophomore he was part of Mike Terry’s last team in 1961. That team was already showing its promise by going 8-2-1. After the untimely death of Coach Terry, Jazz Diminck took over and the squad was 18-3-1 over the next two seasons. Joey was the region’s leading scorer and Honorable Mention All State and Big 33 in 1963, when the only blot on the team’s record was a heartbreaking 14-6 loss to Pottsville.
Joe was also a Track standout. He was Southern Division Champion in both 180 Low and 120 High Hurdles; and held school records in both events at time of graduation.
He received a full scholarship to Villanova University. As a 3-year starter at Defensive Back he led the Wildcats in interceptions. At the end of his career there he held records for most interceptions in a season, most interceptions in a career and most yards returned after interceptions. He ranked 5th in the nation in interceptions and was voted by both All State and All East as a Defensive Back. His approach to the game was extremely cerebral; and he played his position with elegance and intelligence. These attributes carried over into his coaching style where he has also achieved success.
After college he returned to Mount Carmel as an assistant to Joe Diminick for two separate periods: 1968-1971 and 1975-1978. In between those assignments he was an Assistant Track and Football Coach and Recruiting Coordinator at Susquehanna University; and for one year was an Assistant Football Coach under Jim Weaver at his Alma Mater, Villanova University.
Joe is presently affiliated with his brother, Dr. Jeff Greco, as a nationally certified Physicians Assistant here in Mount Carmel. He still takes athletics very seriously as Chairman of the Athletic Committee of the Mount Carmel Area Board of Education. He has three sons, Gary, a freshman at Penn State University; Doug, a member of the current Tornado Team; and Joe, an upcoming 8th grader.
Jim Darrup received 15 varsity letters in a brilliant high school athletic career at Mount Carmel High School. He earned 4 letters Football, Baseball and Track; and 3 letters in Basketball.
In addition, he was Captain or Co-Captain of all 4 sports as a Senior. He ran in the Penn Relays for 4 successive years as a member of the Tornado Track Team.
He was an especially gifted running back. He led the team in scoring both as a Junior and Senior. In 1958 he was named to the Sporting News All American Team, one of 200 chosen from among the 300,000 who play High School Football each fall. After graduation he attended North Carolina State University on an Athletic Scholarship.
At NC State he continued his success. He was Team Captain of the Wolfpack Freshman Team…and led the team in scoring from his starting Tailback Position. He was voted to the Freshman All State Team in North Carolina, which included the “Big 4” Colleges : NC State, University of North Carolina, Duke, and Wake Forest.
He played one year Semi-pro Football with the Hazelton Mustangs before hanging up his football cleats. But he needed an outlet for his competitive juices, and he played for many years in the Inter City Fast Pitch Softball League. He led the league in every single hitting category in one year or another. He was recognized as the League’s Most Valuable Player in 3 different years.
Recently he coached Football and Basketball for the Holy Spirit Youth League Team. His athletic ability has shown up in his kids, all of whom are outstanding students and athletes at Mount Carmel High School.
Aldo started his high school athletic career as a promising freshman football player under Coaches George Kavel and Joe Ambrose. He was tough, aggressive and fast. He played both ways, but it was on defense that he really shone. He was an outstanding linebacker because of his speed and his ability to diagnose opponents’ formations. Aldo was a two-year captain, a tribute that is not very accorded. He was Honorable Mention All-State in 1939 and 1940 as a Guard. Aldo was also an outstanding High School Wrestler. But, because he was so much of a team player and team leader, it may have cost him an opportunity to win a State Championship. Coach Al Morse would have Aldo wrestle whatever weight class was needed to win a particular event, and as a result, he often wrestled opponents 30 to 30 pounds heavier than he was. An example of this is that in his Junior year, 1939, he won the District IV Championship at 185 pounds, and the next year, he won the Championship at 155 pounds- a 30 pound swing.
Mr. Cortellini continued his interest in athletics throughout his life. He became Manager of the American Legion Bowling Lanes, and was one of our areas outstanding amateur bowlers.
A special hallmark of Jazz Diminick Teams has always been the great breakaway back, the homerun hitter who helps you score from anywhere on the field. In most instances the back was a little guy with dazzling moves, great balance and a sense that every play is designed to go all the way.
From 1970 through 1972 John Muolo fit the pattern perfectly. During his career he rushed for 1914 yards, returned punts for 581 yards, ran back kickoffs for 224 yards and accounted for 172 yards receiving. That total of 2891 all purpose yards put him solidly in the in the top 10 of all tornado Backs in that category. Throughout his Tornado career he averaged 7.3 yards every time he touched the ball.
John was Co-Captain of the 1972 Eastern Conference Champions; and also won the Mike Terry Award and Len Eshmont Award on the way to becoming All Susquehanna and All-Lower Anthracite.
After graduation he moved on to Susquehanna University. He played there with distinction for two years and then turned to Rugby. He got good enough to lead the team in scoring and become most valuable player at the Annual Wilkes Barre Rugger Fest.
He is still active in sports. He takes running very seriously and has started and completed two marathons: in Montreal Canada and Sunbury.
He is a recent Cum Laude Graduate of University of Pittsburgh’s Law School and is presently employed by the law firm of Buchanan-Ingersoll in Pittsburgh.
MIKE "SUGAR" LASHENDOCK
Mike “Sugar” Lashendock was the outstanding Quarterback and Team Leader of Kulpmont High School’s last great athletic dynasty before his jointure. He was a three sport dynamo, a very intelligent player with great speed, which helped overcome his great lack of size.
As Quarterback of the “Wildcats” he led his team to a 23-3 record in games he started. His Senior Year his team went 11-0 and won the Eastern Conference Championship. Along the way he set passing records for yardage and completions which undoubtedly can never be erased. In addition to playing Quarterback he played Safety on Defense and returned Kickoffs and Punts.
He was the centerfielder and leadoff man on the Wildcat Baseball Teams where his outstanding speed could be utilized. In Track he ran the 100-200 and 440 yard dashes. Mike ran them well enough to finish fourth in the 100 and 5th in the 220 at States. This, by the way,, was before the State was broken up into classes according to enrollment as they are today. His flat time in the 100 held up as a league mark for some time, before being erased by Gary Diminick of the Tornadoes.
After graduation, Lashendock, played Quarterback and Safety for the Bloomsburg University Huskies. He set passing records while at Bloom, and once again showed his talent as a leader and winner by pacing Bloomsburg squad to the State Teachers College Championship in 1951. In all the years he played competitive sports he never played on a losing ream.
After graduation he began his teaching and coaching at Sun Valley High School in Philadelphia Suburban League. In a 30 year coaching career that ended in 1982, he helped coach 3 undefeated teams and won 6 championships in a 10-year period.
Mike is married to his childhood sweetheart Charlotte Pettello, who was his neighbor in Marion Heights. They have two daughters and three grandsons.
LOUIS J. KLEMA
Louis Kleman was an outstanding athlete at Mount Carmel Township High School in football, basketball and baseball in the mid-20’s. In addition to his high school athletics, he played on many of the local baseball and basketball teams that were sponsored by the communities at that time.
In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, while attending Mount Saint Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland, Louis again excelled at football, baseball and basketball. In baseball he received recognition as the Most Valuable Player for two consecutive years.
After college, he joined the teaching staff at Mount Carmel Township and accepted the position of head basketball coach, serving this capacity into the late 1940’s. During this time, he also held positions as assistant football coach and baseball coach.
During the 1950’s and early 1960’s, Louis served as freshman basketball coach at Mount Carmel High School.
Louis retired in 1968 and passed away on February 6, 1970.
The Syracuse University Varsity Club honored John Hordines at a ceremony in the Carrier Dome in September 1985. The certificate it presented to Mr. Hordines exemplifies why the spirit of Coal Region Athletes is so important, and how athletes like Mr. Hordines inspired those who followed. In part, the certificate said: “John Hordines, 1934 graduate in education, you hitchhiked to Syracuse University in 1930 to try out for the football team, and thus began a college athletic career during which you earned letters in football, crew, track and wrestling. You played semi-pro football, edited a wrestling magazine, wrestled professionally and originated the Mr. American contest before you found your true calling in life: working as athletic director, coach and industrial arts teacher at the New York State Institute for the Blind.
“With a will as ahrd as anthracite, you taight young men to see without eyes. You established a Boy Scout Troop of the Blind. You organized and coached a Blind Rowing Crew and took them into competition. Your dream today is to establish a Hall of Fame to honor handicapped persons.
“Your story of personal triumph and of meeting the great challenge of teaching self esteem to those les fortunate provides inspiration for all. We are honored to name you a Syracuse letterman of distinction.”
Mr. Hordines still lives in New York near his alma mater. Though retired, he still dreams of ways to help the blind complete in athletics and life.
KITTY BOYER CULBERT
Kitty Boyer was born to shoot. The first time Penn State Football Coach, Joe Paterno, saw Ted Kwalick the future all-pro was just a high school freshman. But Paterno saw enough to say “What God has in mind here was a football player”. Similarly, what God obviously had in mind with Kitty Boyer was a trapshooter.
Kitty grew up loving sports and animals. She was a pretty fair lawn tennis player in her teens; and all the neighbors brought her animals for her “tender loving nursing care”.
She was attracted to trapshooting early, but was not encouraged by her father because he felt the recoil of the shotgun was more than she was able to handle. She persisted however, and finally was given an opportunity to shoot. Using her brother’s shotgun, she broke 10 rocks out of 25 the very first time she shot. She tried another 25 rocks and this time broke 18. The rest, as they say, is history.
Within two years she went from the point to a National Championship. The front page of the Mount Carmel Item of August 22, 1928 announced that, “The greatest honor ever achieved by a son or daughter of Mount Carmel in the sports world was won by 19 year old Kitty Boyer, who broke 186 out of a possible 200 to capture the Ladies National Championship of the Grand American Trapshoot”.
She was the youngest person to ever hold the National Championship. The Chairman of the Pennsylvania Trapshooters Hall of Fame said, “What a remarkable year for Kitty Boyer. It is a shame she did not continue her career to any degree after that ‘one great season’.”
She maintained an interest in related activities, however. And gained an excellent reputation as a horsewoman and animal rights activist. Mrs. Kitty Boyer Culbert died November 14, 1987.
Dan Ficca, already inducted in the Pennsylvania State Sports Hall of Fame; and a1976 Inductee in one of our sisters chapters, The Jerry Wolman Chapter, is along overdue addition to our local Hall of Fame. But that’s all right; because more than one “chapter” is needed to chronicle all of his sports accomplishments.
He was a consensus all-state first team lineman as both a junior and senior at Mount Carmel. Parade Magazine named him to their First Team All America and called him and Bob Lilly, the great Dallas Cowboy all-pro, the nation’s two best college prospects. He was also a first team all America selection of the Wigwan Club; capped his great career by being named to the first Big 33 Team.
As a high school trackman he was that State Champion in the Discus and a fourth place finisher in the Shot Put. His best Shot Put of 57’5” was among the country’s best. Competing in both spring sports at Mount Carmel, he found time to hit .585 and lead his team to the District IV baseball playoffs as a senior.
Dan headed west to Southern Cal University to continue his outstanding career. The “Trojans” were putting a monster team together, aided by a brash young recruiter/talent scout named Al Davis, now owner of the Oakland Raiders. His teammates included 12 future pros…names like Ron Mix, Monte Clark, Jo Arnett and the McKeever Twins. None shone brighter than Dan Ficca. He started as a sophomore, playing more minutes than any previous sophomore ever, he was Honorable Mention All American in 1959 and first team All American in 1960. Dan also competed for the Trojan Track Team. Under famed coach Brutus Hamilton, did well enough to be invited to tryout for the 1960 Olympic team as A Discus Thrower.
After graduation, Dan was drafted by the NFL Eagles and the AFL San Diego Chargers. He signed with the Chargers but delayed his pro career until 1962 while he finished college. He was traded off season to the Oakland Raiders and then to the New York Jets in 1963. He became and AFL All-Pro in 1964 as part of what many consider the finest offensive line in Jets history. Some Jets teammates at that time were Joe Namath, Don Marnard, George Sauer, Matt Snell and Sam Deluca.
Dan is currently president of the Ed Romance Chapter and one of the Regional Vice Presidents of the State Sports Hall of Fame.
In mid-September 1932, a meeting took place which changed athletic picture at Mount Carmel Catholic High School. Father James Clark, later Monsignor Clark, called a gathering at Joe Young’s Drug Store at Second and Oak Streets. Mr. Young incidentally was the son of Joe Young, Dr., who was Mount Carmel’s first big league baseball player with the old St. Louis Browns.
At that time, Mount Carmel Catholic had only a two-year high school, and wanting to make it a four-year school, Father Clark thought he needed something to attract male student athletes, and decided to add a football program.
At that first meeting, in addition to Joe Young, were Mr. Young’s son, John, who was one of the two Juniors; Francis Crawford, who later became Father Francis Crawford, and was honored by the Hall of Fame; Jerry Breslin, who became Mount Carmel Catholic High School’s first football coach, and; Herb Curley, who from the very beginning was a trainer, friend, confident, and father confessor to Mount Carmel Catholic High School athletes. The first squad had only fifteen to eighteen players and had to invite various town teams in order to hold practice scrimmages. Herb was an assistant coach, but more importantly, as a trainer, had a tremendous job trying to keep eleven players healthy enough to play.
With the same gently fatherly approach that characterized all his dealings with kids, Herb was able to get a team ready for Mount Carmel Catholic’s opening game. The brand new team played its first game in a brand new stadium- the Mount Carmel Silver Bowl. The game was played as part of a double header, in which Mount Carmel Catholic played Pottsville Catholic, followed by the Mount Carmel Township Golden Bears vs. the Susquehanna University Reserves.
Herb Curley was a integral part of Our Lady’s School and Mount Carmel Catholics sports for the next 25 years. There is not a single athlete who played at Mount Carmel Catholic who does not have fond memories or a favorite Herb Curley story to tell.
Joe Lech was an outstanding lineman for the undefeated Kulpmont Wildcats of 1944 and 1945. Even though the ’44 team was beaten out narrowly for the championship under the conference’s complicated rating system, the e’45 team won the championship easily, dominating every team they played.
Joe is remembered by teammate Jazz Diminick as the most serious member of the team…the person who felt best when the team won and took it hardest when the team lost.
Joe also boxed for the Wildcats in the same period; and never did lose a match... He played for the Jan Sobieski Club in a local semi-pro league and was a good enough player to make an Army All-Star Team which Toured Japan playing exhibitions in 1946.
He also continued his football career at Mansfield State before being drafted in the Army. In the service he was an outstanding guard for the Fort Campbell, Kentucky team.
After returning from the service he played several years for the Anthracite Maroons, a local Semi-Pro Team.
He was a solid backer of his community. He annually donated saving bonds to member of the Tornado Football Team and was a volunteer coach and scout for the Kulpmont High School team under Coach Ed Stavenski in the late fifties.
He was also one of the original group who met with Ed Romance and helped found the Ed Romance Chapter of the State Hall of Fame.
Elaine Gustus is an excellent choice to continue the excellent tradition of our student athletes. She ranks 32 out of 157 in her class and has already decided on Kutztown State University as he college choice.
On the track she’s a dynamo. She won 4 first place ribbons in the 1988 All League meet. In the 100 meter dash, the 300 intermediate dash, the 300 intermediate hurdles and the triple jump. Her 400 meter dash time of 60.1 seconds is a new school and league record.
In District 11 competition she finished second in the 100 hurdles, second in the 300 hurdles and third in the 400 meters. She also holds school records in the 100 high hurdles and the 300 intermediate hurdles.
She has led the Lady Tornadoes in scoring for the past three years. She is a member of the cross country team, the swim team and as a member of Mount Carmel Area High School Band has been selected to both the District and Regional Band.
She is the daughter of Margaret and Alan Gustus, and lives at 137 West Third street in Mount Carmel.