15TH Annual Banquet
RONALD D. GROSSMAN
Ron Grossman joins his father as a member of our chapter’s Hall of Fame. He won 11 letters as a Tornado athlete, and in 1963 was the first winner of the Mike Terry Award and an Honorable Mention All State and Big 33 Player.
He had a wonderful college career at Princeton where he also letters in football and track. In those days the Ivy leagues were as good as anybody, and the 1965 teams for which he lettered were undefeated and ranked number 13 in the nation. He was Honorable Mention All Ivy his senior year. During the 3-year period he played at Princeton, the Tigers were 24-3, one of the most successful periods of their football history.
He has remained active in sports and jogs 25-35 miles per week. Additionally, his interest in sports has led him to a specialty in sports medicine. He is team physician for the Princeton Football Squad. He also served on the Medical Staff for the United States Olympic Committee.
Dr. Grossman lives in Hopewell, New Jersey. Both his daughter Rebecca and his son, Hunter, are outstanding athletes.
JOHN F. PATRICK
Johnny Patrick is really amazing. He started competing in sports at age 16, and 70 years later is still competing...and winning.
If it requires hand-eye co-ordination, and it involves a ball, my bet is that Johnny Patrick will beat you at it. Baseball, golf, pocket billiards or bowling...he played the best in the region and the country, and much more often than not, ended up winning.
Two years after he took up billiards, a mere 18-year old, he was matched up with a known money shooter named Stan Madalis and beat him for $440.00, a fortune in those days. Three years later, his reputation was made in a highly publicized money match with John Campbell, who until then was considered the best money shooter around.
Pocket billiards was a big thing in those days. But for a sport to capture people’s imagination a rivalry must exist. Wilt vs. Bill Russell. Palmer vs. Nicklaus. Hogan vs. Snead. In those days, it was Patrick vs. Kotch. Patrick and Kotch played 1000-point matches in 8 different places. And their rivalry was so big that a match between those two superstars in the Mount Carmel High Gym raised $11,000. for a war bond drive. By the late 40’s a billiards league was such big stuff that its results dominated the local sports headlines. And Patrick’s team won when he defeated his old rival, Kotch, in the deciding match by a score of 100-73.
He played against three World Champions and did well each time. He still plays competitively, and last year, playing for the Sunbury Moose, he played 90 games and won 73 times. He only ran 126 balls in a competitive match.
In 1960, he discovered bowling and became a champion. He once bowled 289 in competition, missing the perfect game when he left a pin standing on his next to last ball.
In 1968, the golf craze swept the Coal Regions. He was a natural. He won his division at the tough Bucknell University Golf Course. Last year he shot his age, 86, at White Deer Golf Course.
He also Competed in a statewide basis in golf, bowling and billiards. Since 1983, he won 19 medals in those events at the Seniors Championships held each summer at Shippensburg.
ADAM “ACE” WILLIAMS
Adam Williams was the only Mount Carmel Trackman, ever, to win two gold medals at the State Championship meet. In 1945, he anchored the victorious mile relay team to victory, then returned to win an individual gold in the 440-yard run.
According to this coach, Jerry Breslin, Williams redefined the way the event was run. Most runners, according to Coach Breslin, went into a stride on the back stretch, conserving energy for the final rush to the tape. Williams, though, had “another gear”, says Coach Breslin, “and he simply overwhelmed his opponents.”
That same year, Williams anchored the mile relay team to a victory at the Penn Relays, teaming up with “Red” McCann, John Patrick, and George Teufel. Those three victories made that season one of the most successful ever at Mount Carmel.
Williams served in the Army until 1947. He attended both Penn State and Temple. He worked as manufacturing manager for S.I. Allen Company of Philadelphia, the leading maker of sleds in the country. The Company’s product could have been named after him - “The Flexy Flyer”!
Williams died in 1972. He left a wife, Frances, and a daughter, Mary Ellen.
The more you get to know about a guy like John Zenyuh, the more impressive he becomes. You know, one of those guys who wears well...who just keeps piling one quiet accomplishment on top of the other. And that goes for his career off the field as well as on the field.
You also notice that he has played on an awful lot of “winning” teams. As a defensive halfback at Mt. Carmel High he was in the 1954 Championship Team. As a starter of the Naval Academy he was on teams that beat Army three consecutive years. In 1960, his final year with the Middies, his team, played in the Orange Bowl.
John also starred in track while at Mt. Carmel. He was a Gold Medal Winner in the hurdles at Conference and Districts and got all the way to the State Final his junior and senior years. He also competed as a member of the Mile Relay Team at the Penn Relays.
He is presently Principal of the West Point Middle School in West Point, New York. In between he has taught and coached in Germany and Ethiopia. He has gotten a Masters Degree from Bucknell and his Doctorate from Southern Cal. He married his high school sweetheart, Loretta, and has two boys – John, Jr., and Christopher.
Tom Nolan spent his early youth in Connorsville and attended St. Peter’s Schools until 1953. His family then moved and as a result his great high school sports career flourished at St. James High School in Chester and at PMC (Penna. Military College), now Widener University.
He played three years of football at St. James and four at PMC, and was good enough to be named Little All American and be drafted by the New York Titans of the fledgling American Football League. But his greatest achievements came in track. He was Middle Atlantic Conference Shot Put Champion three of the four years he competed. And his heave of 50’6” still remains his school record.
After graduation he coached successfully at Susquehanna High School in New Freedom. He moved on to Susquehanna High School in Glen Rock, PA., and was head track coach and assistant football coach there for a number of years. He was about to become head football coach there when he died. He was only 28.
JOSEPH C. AMBROSE
People who saw Joe Ambrose compete in three sports as a Mt. Carmel High School athlete rave about his combination of speed, strength, and toughness. They wonder what he might have accomplished with the opportunity to go on in college.
A big rawboned kid, Ambrose was a Fullback who averaged 71 yards per carry for the Tornadoes. He was athletic enough to average 19.6 points a game for the Tornado Basketball squad, and fast enough to break District IV records in BOTH the 180 yard low hurdles and the 120 yard. Despite that Fullback-size, he finished an amazing 4th in the PIAA State Class A Finals.
He was recognized for his all around talent by the Reading Eagle, who voted him the Lower Anthracite Area’s Outstanding Athlete. He closed out his high school athletic career by being named the Outstanding Defensive Player in the Big 33 game at Hershey. His fine play at defensive end led his East team to a 7-6 victory over the Western PA. All Stars.
Shortly after high school Ambrose was drafted into the Army and received awards as “Outstanding Basic Training Leader”. He served a tour of duty in Vietnam and was decorated with the Army Commendation Medal, the Oak Leaf with “V” Device Medal and the Bronze Star.
JOSEPH A. WITOWSKY
Joe Witowsky has to be considered among the finest all around athletes EVER in our area.
He was a center and linebacker on Kulpmont’s Undefeated 1951 team, which spawned other Hall of Fame Inductees, and in basketball he just dominated. As a four-year starter for the Wildcats, he averaged 24.9 points per game. In the 52-53 season he made 144-209 foul shots, records for both attempts and percentage. He was a First Team PIAA All State Choice and Kulpmont’s “Athlete of the Year”.
But he was only warming up! At Mansfield University he participated in football, baseball and basketball, and started every game in all three sports for four successive years! He was chosen Mansfield’s “Best Senior All-Around Athlete” in 1956. When the University began its Sports Hall of Fame, he was the first athlete chosen from the decade of the 80’s.
He also played semi-pro basketball with the Locust Gap Apollos. He averaged 16 points per game and helped the Apollos win the State Semi-Pro Basketball Championship.
Joe coached basketball at Port Allegheny, PA and West Genesee in New York for 17 years.
So many of our honorees were hugely successful in their business careers. Obviously, the same characteristics necessary for sports success – Character, Determination, Strength and Persistence, are requisite in the business world, too. Throw in brains and you get a combination tough to top. Russ Cesari has them all.
You could see the pattern emerge early. He excelled as a Kulpmont junior athlete then began to roll at Mt. Carmel Catholic. He was in the National Honor Society and Captain of the Rams. He led them to one of their finest seasons – A 9-win 1-loss beauty, that remains one of the best in school history. He was named All State by the U.P.I. Press Service. He won a total of 14 Varsity letters, and the leadership was there: He captained the football, baseball and basketball teams.
Jazz Diminick had some impact in helping him decide on Alfred University in New York. Same pattern emerges – He was a 3-year starter and captain his final year. Off the field he continued the leadership role – Fraternity president and student senate.
CARL FRANCES “BARON” BUGLER
Ever notice how kids are right on the mark when they choose childhood nicknames? Carl Bugler was the “Baron” to his friends as a kid, and obviously they had an inkling of the kind of life he would lead.
He was an organizer and leader right from the start. He was one of the student leaders responsible for initiating the football program at Mt. Carmel Catholic High. He was captain of the 1937 team; played end and tackle and wherever else they needed his strength and leadership.
There was a war on, as they said in those days. Kids who got out of high school then postponed their personal plans in order to serve their country. Bugler enlisted in the Army-Air Force. That talent for organization and leadership was evident and he became part of a very elite group called the “Flying Tigers”. He was to become the Chief Administrative Officer of the “Tigers”, and during that period was credited with shooting down two planes from the ground. During the war he was also a bomber pilot and was decorated many times. He received the Air Medal with Three Palms, the American Defense Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and the Chinese Medal of Honor for Heroism during the Middle Eastern Campaign. He received three Bronze Stars and the Presidential Citation.
OUTSTANDING STUDENT ATHLETE
JOSEPH F. GRECO III
When the Hall of Fame began to honor local athletes in 1078, our founder, Ed Romance, wanted a special category to honor those special people who were able to star in the classroom as well as on the playing fields. Since then we’ve had some outstanding honorees, but none more deserving than Joe Greco III.
“Joey” joins his Grandfather, Joseph “Doc” Greco, who was honored in 1978, and his Father, Joe, Jr., honored in 1989 as Hall Honorees.
Look at his record: Ranks second in a class of 130. G.P.A. 96.06. Class President 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. President of Student Council. National Honor Society and Mt. Carmel’s Representative at the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar.
He will sing the lead role in the class operetta and has been an altar server for 10 years.
Athletically he has lettered four years in both football and track. He co-captained last year’s Tornado football squad and was an All League All Star in the 4x100 sprint relay team. “Joey” is an excellent selection to continue our tradition of Excellent Student Athletes.
Rocco has won 11 letters as a Tornado athlete: 4 in football, 4 in track, and 3 in baseball. He was co-captain of this year’s football squad and made both the Reading Eagle and Press Enterprise First Teams. But the big honor came in January when Rocco was named to the Associated Press All State First Team. The 6’5”, 250 lb. Lineman is currently sifting through some offers to play college ball.
Ron Miller was an outstanding high school football player who continued to improve as he got older. An All Anthracite and All State Honorable Mention selection for the Tornadoes when he co-captained the 1989 squad, he utilized hard work and determination to become an All American selection as tri-captain of the Susquehanna University Crusaders in 1992. Ron will graduate this spring with a Bachelors Degree in Political Science. He wants to coach football on the college level and hopes to become a graduate assistant at some college this fall.
Michael Fantanarosa is being honored by the Hall for some Special Achievements to date. But his athletic career is really only beginning and it’s only a matter of time until Mike joins the Hall as a full-time member.
Mike has already won two State Championship Medals in the shot put – A Silver as a junior and the Gold last spring. It was only the eighth Gold Medal won by a Tornado athlete. He is now at Kutztown University competing in track and football. Watch this career. He will set lots of records before it’s over.