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coaches, scorekeepers, referees, writers, famous Pennsylvanians, and T. J Cirincione

Abele, Paul "Smoke." A four year varsity basketball letter winner playing for Duquesne University in the 1930 's, he went on to coach at Johnstown Catholic, Meyersdale, Ligonier, and then for 21 years at Johnstown High School where his record was 398-120 with eight District6 Class A Championships. Quite a record for a fellow who once quit high school to work in the steel mills, but later returned to finish both high school and college with a flourish. (Fred Yost, Johnstown Tribune Democrat).

Abraham, George. He averaged 21 victories per season while coaching from 1984 to 2000 at Grove City, George Junior, and Butler.  He  won 4 League titles (2 at Grove City 1985 and 1988) and (2 and George Junior 1992 and 1993).  His 1993 George Jr. Republic team went to the PIAA State Finals.  He guided two teams to undefeated seasons: (Grove City [23-0] in 1988) and (George Junior [24-0] in 1993). His George Jr. Republic stint included 2 District 10 titles, 1992 and 1993.  His tenure at Butler added 2 turns in the Western Finals.   (Nominated by Sid Snyder).  See Butler Eagle article HERE

Anderson, Bill.  This popular and well-liked coach from Lower Merion High School won four PIAA State Championships in his tenure: 1933, 1941,1942, and 1943. His amazing 18 year record when he retired was 346 wins and only 59 losses. (by Todd Jones)

Bach, John. He played two years with the Boston Celtics; he coached at Fordham (18 years) and then at Penn State (for 10 years 1969-78); Bach has 6 NBA rings as an assistant with the Chicago Bulls; he was one of the coaches for the USA Olympic team in 1972 when the U.S. lost the controversial game with Russia; known for tuff man to man defense that Bobby Knight and Jack Coffee called the best "belly up doberman defense in the country". Still coaching at age 80!  (Brendan Bach)

Benkovic, "Marty." One of the legends of the game, started his coaching career at Shamokin Lourdes and then established an outstanding program at Steelton-Highspire High School where his 19 year record was 345 and 133. On Jan 30, 1998, the Steelton-Highspire Gymnasium was officially named the Martin J. Benkovic Gym. "Marty" twice took his team to the state championship game (1965 and 1969). He was also chosen to coach in the very first Roundball Classic Game in 1977. He surprised the partisan all-star crowd by dressing the East All-Stars up in Steel High "Roller" uniforms for the game.


Bernosky, Sy . His impressive career included winning all three titles, the Class A, Class B and Class C during his 43 years of head coaching at three different high schools. He began his coaching career at his high school alma mater in Hughstown Pennsylvania in 1949. It was here that his team won the Class C District championship. In 1954, he left Hughstown and accepted the head basketball coaching job at Montrose Area High School in Susquehanna County. In fourteen years, he established a veritable powerhouse in rural Susquehanna County winning the Class B title twelve times, while four of his teams advanced to the State Championship winning the State Championship in 1964 against Mercer High School. His fourteen year record at Montrose High School was 342 wins and only 43 losses. Also during this time, his teams won an impressive 88 straight league games and also won 55 straight games without a loss. In 1968 he accepted the head coach and athletic director positions at Wyoming Area High School where his team won the 1972 Class A District Championship.
Of all the accomplishments which he attained throughout his career, perhaps his greatest accomplishment in life is summed up by his son: "Whenever I meet someone who remembers him and reminds me of his coaching feats, I respond yes, Simon Bernosky was my father and he was a great coach, but he was an even better father!" He passed away on Sept. 14th 2000.
(Credit: James Bernosky, 570-756-2327,

Bessoir, Bob. He retired after his last game at Long Center at the University of Scranton on Saturday Feb 17, 2001. He started his basketball coaching career at Bishop Klonowski High School (1960-67) before going onto a storied career at his alma mater the University of Scranton. It included553 victories and two NCAA Division III national titles. In October of 1983,he was a featured speaker at the 3rd Annual Championship Coaches Clinic at the Harrisburg Marriott. One of his topics was "the importance of determining the dominant eye when positioning your athletes." See the story "Even without the strut"
(Credit: Jerry Kellar, Wilkes Barre Times Leader)

Birch, Paul. He played at Duquesne form 1932-1935 under Chick Davies and helped lead the Dukes to a record of 51-4.  He attended Homested High School (1927-1931)  and later returned to coach Homestead to the 1939 state title.  From 1939 -1941, he  played with Joe Lapchick, Davie Banks, Nat Hickey, Pat Herlihy, and Dutch Dehnert on the Original Celtics.  He played for the Ft. Wayne Pistons (1943-1945) when they  won 2 World Championships.  He coached the Pittsburgh Ironmen (1946-1947) and Ft. Wayne in the NBA (1951-1953).  He returned to the high school ranks and coached General Braddock to the 1972-73 state tittle.  This established him as one of the few coaches ever to coach a high school state championship at two different schools in Pennsylvania. He was named to Duquesne's All-Time Team in 1972 along with Dick Ricketts, Chuck Cooper, Si Green, and Willie Somerset.  He passed in 1982 at  72 years of age.        (Credit: Richard P. Birch, El Cajon, California)

Bozinski, Sy. In March of 1961, Nanticoke High School rang up its 21st straight victory to defeat Hickory Twp. 56-46 and win the state title with a record of 26-1. This ran Coach Sy Bozinski's seven year record to 141-30. A fire truck met the bus at Bloomsburg and escorted the team bus the last 41 miles of the 114 mile trip from the championship game in Harrisburg.

 Bressi, Joe. He has been successful at each stop of his coaching career.  He coached the girls for 10 years at Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg compiling a  record of 238-40. He then moved off to coach the girls at Bloomsburg State University and added an  eight year stint of 175-47.  From there it was on to Lycoming College to coach the boys team. His five year record at Lycoming is 81-44. His career record stands at 493-135 with 15 championships in 22 years of coaching. He then moved to Central Dauphin H. S. as the Athletic Director.

Brown, Larry.
On February 16, 2001 he recorded win #1,000 as a professional coach. These wins extend over his career in the ABA coaching Carolina and Denver, and his NBA wins at Denver, New Jersey, San Antonio, the Los Angeles Clippers, and Indiana. The big win came as the coach of the Philadelphia 76ers in a 108-93 victory over the Los Angles Clippers. The win placed him third on the all-time professional list behind Lenny Wilkens and Pat Riley. He then moved on to coach the Detroit Pistons and won the NBA title.  The Knicks became the next stop on his basketball odyssey.

Calabrese, Ralph ("The Baron").  Member of 1932 Erie Strong Vincent team that lost to Old Forge  in the State Championship game; he was the  head coach at Strong Vincent from 1952-1970, including 14 consecutive winning seasons;  Championships - City (5), Section (9), District 10 (7, including 4 consecutive); Western Regional finals in '58.  His legacy, "Coach Calabrese was universally respected as a true gentleman and class act, forever  remembered as "The Baron."  (Credit: Dave Brown, Erie Strong Vincent alum 1965, now in California)

John Calipari-He played for Joe De Gregorio (1981 and 1982) at Clarion State University. His 143 assists in 1982 are tied for the 14th most in school history and at the time were the 9th most. He was the starting PG on the 1981 team that went 23-6 and was the first Clarion team to qualify for the NCAA D-II Playoffs.   They went 1-1 beating Monmouth 80-78 before losing to Cal Poly SLO 84-61. He later distinguished himself coaching at the college and professional levels.  (Chris Rossetti, Sports Information, Clarion State).  He was inducted to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.  He hails from Moon Twp in the Pittsburgh area. 

Carlisemo, P. J. He played high school basketball at Scranton Prep in Scranton (PA) where his father, nicknamed "Banjo-Eyes," was the football coach at the University of Scranton. P. J. coached at Seton Hall University, then the Trailblazers, and then the Warriors before being thrust on to the pages of basketball history in the "Sprewell Incident." (by Bud Davis)

Photo credit:

Reading Eagle/Times
Story Credit:
Tony Zonca,
  Carril, Pete. He coached eight years at Reading High, compiling a145-42 record. Carril's teams won two CPC titles and two district titles. His last team went 25-1, and Carril was off to Lehigh for a season and then to Princeton, where he and his teams won national recognition while coaching against John Wooden and Dean Smith among others. He then moved off to a position with the Sacramento Kings in the NBA and recognition in the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was named as one of coaches at the 2001 NBA All-Star Game played in Washington, D. C. While at Reading, "the Red Knights" belonged to the old Central Penn Conference that included John Harris, William Penn, Steel-High, Lebanon, York, and Williamsport. Pete Carril talked about his final game as Reading High's coach. It was 1966, against Chester in the Eastern final. "Thirty-nine buses went up to Harrisburg for that game,"Carril said recently from his Sacramento Kings office. "The guy who owned the buses, Bieber, ran out of bus drivers. So he drove the team bus himself."

Chaney, John. His successful coaching career spans stints at Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia, Cheyney State University (10 years), and the Temple Owls. His pre-dawn practice schedules at Temple have become part of Pennsylvania basketball lore. What did he tell his team one night in Wichita, Kansas after a difficult loss?  It's a very funny story!  But, you will have to ask one of the players who were there and have not forgotten the message their coach provided for them on that evening. 
He retired in March of 2006 at age 74 with 741 wins and 17 NCAA appearances.

Chronister, Charlie.  Coached at Hanover High School from 1964-67 compiling a 59-8 record.  Served as an assistant coach at Gettysburg College for four years before taking over at Bloomsburg University in 1971.  He compiled a 559-288 record prior to his retirement in 2002.  He made NCAA Tournament appearances during seven seasons.  When he retired, he was fourth on the all time men's coaching list for victories in Division II basketball.

(Photo credit: 12/7/02, Retirement Dinner Program)


 Cirincione, Tom J. alias "TJ" alias "Toody." Known as the world's most devoted basketball junkie. He worked the basketball summer camps every year, he could be found in Madison Square Garden on the St. John's bench, he could be found in Las Vegas on their bench when the Tark was the coach, he shows up at basketball's premier events around the country. He grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, and aspired to coach basketball. A book about his life, A Boy, A Ball, A Dream by Chris Roche was sold by The Christopher Publishing House, 24 Rockland St, Hanover, MA 02339 for $21.95.

 Conboy, Jerry.  At age 70 in 2000, he was named "Coach of the Year" by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. He had coached over 45 seasons and won close to 800 games. His career started in 1955 at South Hills Catholic (11 seasons), and then moved on to Davidson University(2 seasons), Point Park "College (21 seasons). But after retiring from Point Park he continued to coach basketball. Then after 34 years of coached the boys, his retirement included going back to high school coaching, Elizabeth Forward girls (5 years), Montour boys (3 years), then the Seaton La Salle girls for the 1999-2000 season and winning the WPIAL championship.

(4/9/00, Pittsburgh Post Gazette).

"Coach of the Year" 

Crum, J. Birney.  He compiled an .818 winning percentage coaching at Allentown Allen High School. He won 490 games and lost only109 in 25 coaching seasons. His team won the state championship three straight years 1945, 1946, and 1947; however, they had to vacate the'46 and '47 titles due to rules infractions. He coached basketball from1925 to 1950, baseball from 1925 to 1950, and football from 1925 to 1949. Now that was a lot of coaching!! (Robert Unser)
Note: William Wanish who played for Allentown Allen from '45 to '47 was named First Team All-State by both the UPI and the AP.

 Daly, Chuck. He played his high school basketball in Pennsylvania for the District 9, Kane High School Wolves, graduating in 1948.  Chuck Daly later went on to coach at Punxsutawney H.S., Duke University, Boston College (replacing Bob Cousy), the University of Pennsylvania (his assistant was Rollie Massimino) and in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers,the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Detroit Pistons, and the Orlando Magic. Daly was selected to coach the United States' first "Dream Team" in Olympic competition, taking Team USA to an 8-0 record and a gold medal inthe 1992 Games in Barcelona. (see the book, Daly Life by Joe Falls, Masters Press, Grand Rapids, Michigan:1990). Can you NAME the team manager of the 1947-48 Kane H.S. team and later the Mayor of Kane, PA? (Answer: Jessie James who died in Jan 2000)
Thanks to Coach Lewis of the Lady Red Raiders of Cameron County for his input in helping to correct information in the Daly story).

Dalious, Freda Kline
She began teaching at Greenwood High School, where she started the field hockey, softball and girls basketball programs. After three years at the Millerstown school, and moved to Southern Columbia High, where she also started the girls programs. Her basketball accomplishments virtually mirrored field hockey as she posted a 303-160 career mark. The basketball teams won nine league titles and three District 4 crowns. She compiled a 303-83-34 record in field hockey, with 12 league and four District4 championships. Dalious gave up coaching softball in1981, basketball in1989 and field hockey after the 1992 season. (Sunbury Daily Item)

DeFrank, Harry.  He coached his second girl's state championship for Trinity High School in a 67-58 win over Vincentian Academy of Pittsburgh in the Class AA game in 2001. Harry 's career spans 40+ years, the first 25 in the girl's CYO program. He started coaching in 1957 on Market Street for St. Francis Grade School. The past 20+ years he has coached Trinity High School in Shiremanstown.  His record topped 500 wins in January of 2004 with a 54-23 victory over CD East.  Win #500 came at age 76 and during his 47th year of coaching.  He also runs a popular girl's fall basketball shootout every year at Gettysburg College.
(Photo Credit: Patriot News, 1/14/04)

Charles A. DeVenzio.  A 1947 Geneva College graduate, Coach DeVenzio won more than 600 games leading teams at Ambridge, Springdale and North Allegheny high schools. He served two tenures at Springdale, one in the 1960s and the other in the '80s. His 1966-67 Ambridge team went 27-0 record and won the state championship with a 93-61 win against Chester.  From a story written by Colin Dunlap, for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (November 14, 2006) " a story told by his son Dave DeVenzio, who was 12, sitting inside the locker room at the Farm Show Arena in Harrisburg at halftime of the state championship game as his father, Charles, the Ambridge High School boys' basketball coach, stewed.  At the time, Dave was a ball boy for the undefeated Bridgers, who were locked in a state championship tussle with Chester, also undefeated. Dave's brother, Dick, was the star point guard on that Ambridge team.  My dad was a little bit hot and said to my brother, 'You know, if we wouldn't have had those couple turnovers, we could have broken this game open,' 'Then, my brother looked up at him and said, 'Dad, you know we're ahead by 30 points, right?  That summed up my dad, said his son, Dave."
(Credit: Dave Burman, Lewistown)

Frank Dolson, the Philadelphia Inquirer columnist whose favorite sports included the Penn Relays, Palestra basketball and, baseball, died  Oct 8, 2006  several hours after the team he adored, the New York Yankees, were eliminated in the American League playoffs.  He covered college basketball  and the Philadelphia 76ers.  "Frank was a purist who treasured the sport and the athlete," said former Temple basketball coach Don Casey. "If someone tainted or tarnished a particular sport, Frank would attack the individual and defend the sport to the fullest."
He much preferred watching a Penn-Princeton basketball game, a college track meet, or a minor-league baseball game.  And he had no mercy on anyone he believed was violating a game's integrity. In a series of memorable columns in the late 1960s, Mr. Dolson exposed financial-aid abuse in La Salle's basketball program.   
 (Credit: Jim Salisbury and Mel Greenberg,
Philadelphia Inquirer, Oct 09. 2006)

Jim Dooley. He has won 100 games or more at three different schools: Shippensburg H.S., Cumberland Valley H. S., and Gettysburg H. S. His more than 400 wins is pretty impressive when achieved at three different schools, while at the same time he served for one season, 1982-83, as the coach of the Icelandic National Team while living in Reykjavik, Iceland. He was also inducted into the University of Scranton Hall of Fame as a former player. The best testament came from a young lady working at a local bank. She said, "Mr. Dooley was the best teacher I ever had!"  He currently  is  the coach at Delone Catholic.  See special York Daily Record article on Coach Dooley HERE

Bobby Donato, at 5'10" he was named All-DElCO at Ridley Twp. High School in 1961, he then went on to start for Penn State University and captain the 1963-64 team.  He became a well known and well respected college basketball official. He distinguished himself as a Naismith NCAA Referee of the Year and as a four time NCAA Final Four referee.  He is #32 in the photo at the left taken at the Tyrone YMCA when he played in the 1964 YMCA post-season tournament as a member of the All-American Rathskeller team.  Others in the photo: #63 Neal Kemp, #62 Ulo Kart, #36 Bill Gaffey, #78 Joel Mertel.


Dougherty, Dan. Episcopal Academy coach Dougherty has had a successful, long, winding and dazzling career that spanned head stints at Army  also St. Pius X, 1959-61; Malvern, 1962-66; Penncrest, 1976; and then Episcopal. Education: St. Joseph's Prep, Saint Joseph's. Career: 587-253; 455-185 at Episcopal.. Many of his players have gone on to successful playing and coaching careers. Dougherty was a former assistant to coach Jack Kraft at Villanova and worked for some years at Jack Kraft's Camp Green Lane (,Bruce Adams).

Ellis Dwyer,  he taught math and coached baseball and basketball, first a Chester High (until 1942) and then at Radnor High School. He was head basketball coach and Athletic Director at Radnor when he retired in 1974. Dwyer's teams had won their basketball league title for 13 years, the district title for seven years, and made the Eastern Finals five years, advancing to the State finals once. He was honored for his coaching abilities in 1973 with the University of Pennsylvania Watch--Coach of the Year Award. (Credit: Washington College website)

Bill Ellerbee. He compiled a record of 451-100 and six Philadelphia Public League championships in 20 years as a teacher and coach at Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia. He went to Temple university as an assistant and Leonard Poole took his place at Gratz. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Frank Etchberger. His 23 year career coaching mark of .703 was established with a stop at Annville-Cleona High School with a record of 100-37 and then at Hershey High School with a record of 287-126. He was a three sport athlete at Milton Hershey High School, went to Ohio State on a football scholarship, and spent a year as a pitcher with the Philadelphia Phillies farm team in Bradford. He was, as one sportswriter once said, "a classy gentleman."
(Mike Drago, Lebanon Sunday Pennsylvanian).

Abe Everhart (A. J. Everhart Jr.).  Uniontown High School basketball coaching victories: 549; coached 2 State Championship Basketball Teams, 1962-1964. Coached WPIAL Champions in 1962, 1964, 1966, and 1975.  His teams won 52 straight games between 1963 and 1965. (That's a tie for the most consecutive wins in WPIAL history. Washington has also won 52 games in a row)  Between the 1959-1960 and 1965-1966 seasons Everhart's teams had combined 95-1 section records.  Between the 1956-1957 and 1965-1966 seasons Everhart's teams won 11 consecutive section titles.
Of more note, A.J. Everhart Jr's father, A.J. Everhart Sr. coached Uniontown's 1925 State and 1925 and 1926 WPIAL Championship teams.  (Joe Everhart, Abe Everhart's son, is the current track coach at Uniontown Area High School, making the Everharts one of the most venerable coaching families in Pennsylvania State Athletic history)  
(Credit: Edward A. Owens)

Bill Flaherty. Led Erie Cathedral Prop to the 1980 Class AAA State Championship with a 33-1 record. He served as State Director for the Pennsylvania CYO Basketball Program and served on the National Board of Directors for the CYO Basketball Program. His strong defensive game plans earned him 102 wins in just his first four years as the Prep coach. In October 1982, he appeared as a guest speaker at the Second Annual Championship Coaches Clinic held at the Marriott Inn in Harrisburg along with Rollie Massimino (Villanova) and Lou Campanelli (James Madison).


 Bob Forwood. His six year record at Chester High School was 153-14 with three trips to the State Championship Game. In 1954 and 1959, they lost to Farrell, and in 1955 they lost to McKeesport in the title game. After his coaching stint at Chester High School, he coached for six years at Swathmore College.

Forwood is shown in the photo to the left as the captain of the 1934 Prospect Park basketball team.
Photo and supporting data were taken from a series written by Rich Pagano for TOWN TALK. This material appeared in April and May issues of1998.


Gordon “Gordie” E. Foster was an educator, coach, and friend to hundreds of boys and men at Upper Dauphin Area High School and Lebanon Valley College for 39 years.  His overall coaching record was 702-282.  Highlights of his high school coaching career include an incredible 640-142 record (80% overall with an average of 20 wins per year), 19 league championships (11 undefeated), 5 PIAA District 3-A championships, and 13 holiday tournament championships.  Outstanding team accomplishments include a 95 consecutive regular season home court win streak (1964-1973), 55 consecutive league wins (1969-1972), and a 97.6 points per game average over a 15 game span in 1967.  He graduated from Wiconisco High School in 1943, served in the US Navy in WWII and after graduating from Elizabethtown College he took his first teaching job at Gratz high school.  Gratz had no gym so they built their own outdoor court using trees to support backboards and hoops constructed by a local blacksmith.  His official coaching career started in 1956 at Lykens High School which then became Upper Dauphin Joint and subsequently Upper Dauphin Area.  Following a seven year stint at Lebanon Valley College (1982-1989) he returned to UDA for five more seasons before retiring in 1995.  In 2003 the gymnasium at UDA was officially dedicated as “Gordie Foster Gymnasium” where a brass plaque notes his contributions as -- “Educator…Coach…Friend”.



Bill Fox. Father Judge basketball coach Bill Fox helped Charles "Obie" O'Brien accumulate some of his 541 wins as a player at La Salle High School.  Now as a coach, Fox has 541 wins after his Crusaders beat visiting La Salle, 44-29, in a Catholic League Northern Division game.  Fox began his career at Judge in 1975 and is in his 29th season. He tied his old coach as the winningest coach in Catholic League history. Fox's record is 541-267; O'Brien's record was 541-248. 
(Feb. 09, 2005 story in the Philadelphia Inquirer)

Bill Fulton. From 1974 to 1979, he coached both the boy's and girl's teams at Johnsonburg High School in District 9. The girl's team went to the State Championship Game twice, 1978 and 1979. Coach Fulton's overall record in 25 years of boys and five years of girls coaching was 477-215, a nifty 70%.His overall record was achieved at six schools in Pennsylvania and New York where he was named Coach of the Year 13 separate times in six different leagues. His coaching stops included Pine Valley Central in New York state, and Sayre, Lewisburg, Warren, Kane, and Johnsonburg, all in Pennsylvania. (Nominated by Phil Popelski)



Frank "King" Funair and Pat Funair.   Frank coached football and taught at Johnsonburg High School and was one of the leading basketball officials in District 9 for many years. He and his son, Pat Funair, became the only father and son officiating team to referee a state championship game. They refereed the 1967 PCIAA Class A Game at the Johnstown War Memorial Arena between Altoona Bishop Guilfoyle and Shamokin Lourdes. Frank was also an outstanding inter-collegiate boxer in his day and he held the record for the longest touchdown return in the Orange Bowl while  playing in the 1935 for  Bucknell University in their 26-0 win over Miami, Florida!  Pat went to Penn State on a football scholarship and was also a baseball pitcher.

Gaffey, Bill.
In 29 years as a head coach, he was one of the very few Pennsylvania High School coaches ever to win the State Basketball Championship at two different schools while compiling over 400 wins in his career. His 1967 Altoona Bishop Guilfoyle H.S. team won the State PCIAA Class A Championship. In 1980, his Susquehanna Twp. H. S. team won the PIAA Class AA Championship. Gaffey was also a coach with the 1986 Susquehanna Twp. State Championship Track team, and the coach of a 1975 Cross Country State Champion at St. Mary's Area H. S.
Trivia question: Can you name any other coaches ever to win a State Basketball Championship at two different schools? How about J. Michael Bailey, his Williamsport "Millionaires" won the 1999 Class AAAA State in Pennsylvania and his Bethel H. S. team in Hampton, VA won the State title with Allen Iverson in the backcourt. How about James (Lash) Nesser, who led Uniontown High and St. John's both to state championships.



Gayeski, Eddie. (1918-1985) One of Pennsylvania's most successful scholastic basketball coaches: 744 wins, 195 losses; .792 pct.; 20 wins in 24 of 34 seasons coached; two state championships, 13 league titles;14 District Championships at Northwest High School.

Gahr, Bob and Gene Dauer, A popular referee team, in Northwestern Pennsylvania in the 1950 's. On Feb 13, 1955, they traveled to Ridgway to referee the game between the Emporium Red Raiders and the Ridgway Elkers. "Bleak" Allegretto scored 22 points to lead Ridgway to a 58-20 landslide victory over the visiting Red Raiders. Gahr and Dauer were two of the "good guys" in Pennsylvania sports. Bobby Gahr's son, Pat later coached basketball at Clearfield, Cedar Cliff, and Harrisburg Area Community College!

Gelet, Carol. Only the second woman in history to coach a boy's team in the Pittsburgh area WPIAL. She raised a few eyebrows by coaching the Clariton High School Boy's Varsity team to two consecutive WPIAL Championships in the1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons. She again attracted attention when she was hired to coach both the boy's and the girl's teams for the 1998-99 season (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,10/23/98). Now there is another challenge that has caught Gelet's interest. Gelet has accepted the position as women's basketball coach at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. (McKeesport Daily News, 8/1/99)

Graham, Don. He has the most wins of any Pennsylvania High School coach ever with over 800 wins in a career at Pittsburgh North Catholic High School that started in the 1940's and has lasted to the 1998-99 season, 51 SEASONS. On Saturday April 3, 1999, he coached the U.S. East Team in "Magic's Roundball Classic" held at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

Hager, Bill. He achieved his 500th win with an overtime state championship win in 2001. His Franklin "Knights" defeated Allentown Central Catholic 58-50 for the Class AAA title. Franklin ended its classic season at 30-2.


Hankinson, Mel.  He still holds a collegiate scoring record in Pennsylvania; he was  both a high school and collegiate coach for over 30 years.  He was a much respected speaker, clinician, and author.  He traveled the world teaching basketball.  Find his story  HERE






Harrison, Dave. In 1941, at 16 he became the youngest approved referee in Pennsylvania history to call high school and college games. In the early years, one referee handled a game, a far cry from the three-man teams of today. (Credit: Zaq Harrison, Chicago).

Heckman, Dick.  He was a standout at James Buchanan High School in the early 60's, scoring over 1000 points.   After graduating from Shippensburg University, he returned to coach at his alma mater from 1970-1975 and 1986-1997 and Broadfording Christian Academy (Hagerstown , Maryland)
 from 1976-1981, where his team won the Private School National Championship in 1978.
Coach Heckman coached his teams to over 400 victories, including a school record 10 consecutive seasons in which they made the District 3 playoffs. Coach Heckman also had the opportunity to coach all three of his sons:  Mickey ('86-'88, All-State selection, 1204 career points), Bobby ('90-'92, a
standout on the '91 team that went 26-3 and lost to eventual state champ Glen Mills in the state playoffs) and Tony (leading scorer on '94 team that knocked out then #1 team in the state Bishop McDevitt in the first round of the District 3 tournament).  He  is currently the Athletic Director at James Buchanan High School.

Heim, Dave and Ron Rickens. One of Blair County's most popular and respected officiating crews. They worked in the '60 's, 70 's, and 80's,everything from YMCA games to State Championship Games. You could find them in Hershey every year at playoff time.


Hennon, Butler. He won 620 games and lost 259 in 38 seasons of high school coaching at Wampum and Elwood City.   Wampum High School  won three state championships in 1950's and 1960's. In 1955, the team went undefeated, 31-0. The coach, L. Butler Hennon was known for unusual practice techniques, such as players wearing weighted jackets, workmen's gloves, and winter galoshes to improve their quickness, and wearing special glasses to help them improve their dribbling touch. Hennon's theory was that such handicaps in practice made things easier in games. His techniques were featured in a Life magazine article (January 1988) and used by the Russian Olympic basketball team.  Wampum High School merged into the Ellwood City School Districtl in 1961-62  The former school gymnasium and auditorium in Wampum, serving as a community center, was renamed the L. Butler Hennon Recreation Center in his honor.
                                                                                                                                             (Credit: Jeff Bales Jr,




Hoffman, Lorenzo "Renzie." His is truly a remarkable record. He coached for 30 years, 17 years at Clintonville High School and13 years at Mercer High School. In most of those thirty years, he coached both the Junior Varsity and the Varsity, boys and girls. His record 1,255 wins and 311 loses. Can any other coach in Pennsylvania make such a statement? But, he also coached football at both schools, totaling 21 years with a record of 89-36-10. Add 7 years as Mercer track coach. He also took time to canvass the Mercer community to raise enough money to erect lights at the Mustang football field. He was a 1923 graduate of Slippery Rock State College.


Margie Holland
She won numerous league and district basketball championships while coaching the girls at Bradford High School in McKean County. In 1977, she was awarded Northwestern Pennsylvania "Coach of the Year" Honors in the Northwestern All-Star Program. The game that year was played at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Gymnasium. Margie had coached in the very first Northwest Senior Girl's All-Star Game in 1975, one of the very first all-star games for girls in Pennsylvania.

Steve Honzo.  from Palmerton in Carbon County was a longtime NCAA basketball referee working games mostly in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Eastern College Athletic Conference and Ivy League over his 35 year career. He worked many NCAA and NIT tournament games including the NCAA Final 4 Championship Game in 1965 (UCLA over Michigan), 1966 (Texas Western over Kentucky), and 1968 (UCLA over North Carolina). He was presented the coveted NIT Officials Award for career achievement in 1995. In both 1953 and 1955, he refereed the PIAA Class A State Championship Game  at the Palestra in Philadelphia.  He was  inducted into both the Lehigh Valley Basketball Hall of Fame and the Carbon County Sports Hall of Fame.  J. F "Jock" Gearhart (Exton, PA) said, "Steve was a true gentleman on and off the court, he had a great sense of humor, and he was always in position to make the right call. He got most of them right too!   His was a very special personality, a take charge personality, but he never let his personality outshine the game he was working. When Steve Honzo showed up to work a game, everyone - players, coaches and fans - knew they would get a very well officiated game!"


Hughes, Dr, "Skippy." This Hollidaysburg dentist was the long time coach of the St. Francis College "Red Flash." His teams played three times in the NIT, 1953-54, 1954-55, 1957-58. His 20 years as the coach resulted in a record of 293 wins and 206 losses. He served as the coach at the small college in Loretto outside Altoona from1945 to1966. His most famous player, Maurice Stokes, came to St. Francis College from Pittsburgh Westinghouse High School and helped to gain national recognition for St.Francis College before a career in the NBA with the Cincinnati Royals. Dick Carnicella of Altoona, and long-time "Red Flash" fan, said, "Dr. Hughes was one of the best!"


Lurline Jones. She recorded her 600th win at University City High School in Philadelphia on January 12, 2005.  She had won 12 public league championships.  Her 1979 lawsuit ended the Catholic/Public City Championship Series.  The Public League Boy's Champion and the Catholic League Boy's Champion had played for the City Championship dating back to 1939..  There was no girl's championship series.  Ms. Jones filed a suit to force the Catholic League to play a girl's championship game.  The Catholic League dropped the entire series rather than face Title IX sanctions in the courts.  The first Catholic/Public City Championship game  played in 1939 saw Simon Gratz defeating South Catholic 23-13.  Harry Barfoot and Jocko Collins refereed that game.  The last Catholic/Public City Championship game was played in 1980 with Overbrook defeating Roman Catholic in overtime 65-56.  Caesar Williams and Jerry Donaghy refereed that game.  (Philadelphia Inquirer)

John Joy. From 1948 to 1961 at Meadville High School, he won five conference titles, two District 10 championships and included appearances in the Western PA championship. He coached eight years at Clarion State. In 1966 his team was the PSAC West Runner-up and earned an NAIA District 18 playoff berth. His program produced two All-Americans, Terry Thompson and Jack Derlink. "One thing I wanted my players to learn from me was character," said Joy. "I taught that you area good winner, as well as a good loser. You have to learn how to accept defeat. So I taught sportsmanship, character and discipline. But my main thing that I worked on was defense." (Credit: click HERE for story by Wes Kimple The MeadvilleTribune).

Coach Mark Jula, currently head boy's basketball coach at Center High School in Beaver County. Coach Jula has been coaching high school basketball for 29 years throughout the state of Pennsylvania, starting out upon graduation from Juniata College in 1975 at Solanco High School in Quarryville, PA, then after 5 years he moved to Boyertown High School.  He has coached  at the following schools: Moon Area, Butler Area, North Allegheny, and currently Center High School. Coach Jula has 444 career victories, one WPIAL championship and 5 Section Titles. His teams have played in 4 WPIAL finals and one Western Final in 1991.  (Credit: Susan M.  Julia)

Alvin "Doggie" Julian attended Reading High School (1915-19).  He coached basketball, football and baseball at Ashland (PA) High School (1933-35).  In 1947, he coached  Holy Cross College to  the NCAA title.  In 1948, Julian became coach of the Boston Celtics. He moved next to Dartmouth, where the Big Green became an Ivy League power, winning titles in 1956, 1958 and 1959. In a 41-year coaching career that included stops at Albright, Muhlenberg, Holy Cross, Dartmouth and the Boston Celtics, Julian won 435 games. Overall, he coached in five NCAA tournaments and two NIT. He authored a popular basketball text, Bread and Butter Basketball. (Credit: Berks County Athletes).

Karl, George. he played for the Pennsylvania All-Star team that defeated the U. S. All-Star team in the 1969 Dapper Dan Classic in Pittsburgh. As a player at Penn Hills, he was held to 14 points in a 1969 loss to Farrell (70-59). Farrell entered the game at 23-1 and Coach Dick Meisenhelter's Penn Hills Indians were 24-0. The game was billed at a matchup of two great teams with two great players - Farrell's Dave Johnson and Penn Hills' George Karl. Johnson led the Steelers with 27 points, and his man-for-man defense limited Karl to 14. Karl, of course, later starred at the University of North Carolina, the ABA and NBA.  He has excelled as a coach for many years with Cleveland (2), Golden State (2), Seattle (7), and Milwaukee (5).   (Photo Credit: USA Today)  (Game story: Jim Raykie, Sharon Herald)


Keeseys — "the two players-turned-coaches" —  the first father-son duo to reach the York Area Sports Hall of Fame.  The father, Tom Keesey was named to the sports hall of fame in 1981.  He died in 1996, one day before the York Catholic Irish coached by his son, Mike played William Penn H. S.. Mike Keesey coached York Catholic that night.  Mike won 465 basketball games and lost 147.  He won seven district championships and two state championships.  Congratulations to the Keesey family!
(Information from a 1/15/05 article by Jim Seip, York  Daily Record/Sunday News)

Ross Kershey graduated from Dunbar High School (Fayette County) and Temple University, where he played for the legendary Harry Litwack. He began his teaching and coaching career at Coatesville in 1956. Ross was the varsity basketball coach at Coatesville for 22 seasons, missing post season play only twice, and accumulated a record of 462 wins and 128 losses. His teams won 12 league titles, 1 district championship and the prestigious 1967 Johnstown Christmas Tournament. Former La Salle All American Hubie Marshall played on his first varsity team and Detroit's Richard "Rip" Hamilton was on the last. The new gymnasium at Coatesville is named in his honor. Known as the "Silver Fox", Kershey also coached track for 14 seasons with a dual meet record of 103 and 1, 2 district titles, 1 state title and the Penn Relays Mile Relay Championship of America in 1974. An educator first, Ross was the recipient of the first Educator of the Year at Coatesville, an award now known as the J. Ross Kershey Award.  (Nomination and information credit: Thomas Taylor)

Louis "Red" Klotz, an outstanding basketball player and scorer at South Philadelphia High School, Villanova University and the Baltimore Bullets, is probably best known an the most losing coach in basketball. As coach/player/owner of the Washington Generals, the perennial opponents of the Harlem Globetrotters for many years, Klotz boasts to losing more than 13,000 games during his coaching career. In 1953, Abe Saperstein, owner of the barnstorming Harlem Globetrotters, offered Klotz the opportunity to put a team together and play the Globetrotters  on a regular basis. The rest is history.  Klotz boasts to having lost basketball games against the Trotters in front of four popes, queens, kings and princes, having lost on an aircraft carrier, and  in a leper colony while losing in 113 countries and 1,341 towns throughout the United States.                 (Credit: the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame


Mike Kopp led the Allentown Central Catholic Vikettes  to an unprecedented fourth consecutive PIAA Class AAA girls basketball championship.  Previously, only the 1985-88 Carlisle and 1998-2001 Kennedy Christian boys had won four PIAA basketball championships in a row.  Kopp, 51, has a 677-155 record in 28 seasons of coaching, including 594-131 in 24 years at Allentown Central Catholic.   Kopp was  voted "The Associated Press Class AAA Girls Basketball Coach of the Year" two straight years by Pennsylvania sports writers and broadcasters.

Kunda, John, sports editor for the Allentown Morning Call, retired in Feb 1998 after 42 years of writing and editing in which he never missed a deadline. One of his most unforgettable moments in sports-"It was easily the best basketball game I've ever seen" Kunda said in his last column. "It was 34 years ago (1964), Larry Miller, a high school basketball player at Catasauqua High School, single-handily carried his basketball team to a win over Steelton High School in a PIAA Eastern semi final in Hershey. He scored 46 of Catasauqua's 66 points, including the team's last 11 points. "Miller went on to an All-American career at North Carolina, where the now-legendary Dean Smith was only in his third year of coaching.   (from the last Kunda column, Allentown Morning Call).

Kuzma, Henry (Hank) was head basketball coach at Midland High School from 1960 to 1967,  his Leopards won five section titles, one WPIAL championship, and a PIAA state basketball title in 1965. Over seven seasons, Hank’s Midland cagers piled up a 152-20 record.  They won an unprecedented four straight section titles from 1962 to 1965.  His 1964-1965 squad won the WPIAL and PIAA titles with a perfect 28-0 record.  Hank graduated from Steelton H.S.; played his college basketball at Duquesne University and had a highly successful career as basketball coach at Steubenville College from 1954 to 1959. His teams there had a 97-19 record.  (Credit: Beaver County Hall of Fame)

Landa, Howie  was  a star player at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania where he established 16 individual records. He is a member of the Lebanon Valley College Hall of Fame and Pennsylvania All Sports Hall of Fame as a player and is a member of the Mercer County College Coaches Hall of Fame and the NJCAA Hall of Fame.  For 26 years ending in 1989, he was the head coach at Mercer County College in Trenton, N.J. His Mercer teams competed four times for the National Junior College Athletic Association Championship, winning twice. His teams also won 10 Regional Championships and 15 District Championships.  In 1989, he was an assistant coach at UNLV under Jerry Tarkanian. From 1990-1994 he was UNLV assistant women's coach. In 1994, seven games into the season, he was named the interim head coach for the Runnin' Rebels.  He also coached the Allentown Jets in the Eastern Pro League in 1972-73 and was named Coach of the Year. (Nominated by Jim Gaffey)

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