There's nothing like having the "local touch" when it comes to steering pigskin prospects from Pennsylvania’s hard-coal belt to the college or university with the "home town" flavor.
Take George Washington University for example. There's been a bigger migration to the nation’s capital every September since Andy Kalen joined the Colonials' football coaching corps.
There were exactly 21 Pennsylvanians on the Colonials 36-man varsity squad roster this year. And 10 of the 21 were sons of coal miners.
Kalen, who coached at Coaldale for seven years prior to shifting to George Washington University, still hasn’t completed his talent tour of the coal region.
He has another strong contingent from the anthracite belt ready for delivery as freshmen next September, including Tony Fredicine, who was recently selected as the most outstanding athlete at Tamaqua High School for the 1958-59 term.
Kalen is not revealing the names of other choice prospects for fear some other college talent scout might give them a bigger pitch.
The Colonials' 1958 roster included Joe Ozefovich, Coaldale; Walt Ligenza, Nesquehoning; etc.
There were several occasions last fall when George Washington had an all-coal backfield of Ozefovich, Hino, Colna and Whetstone operating as one unit.
Kalen joined the staff at George Washington in 1956. He served his apprenticeship under Tom Raymer at Coaldale for 17 years before being elevated to head coach in 1949.
Kalen's 1949 squad, engineered by George Welsh who later gained wide-spread fame at the Naval Academy, finished undefeated. His overall record in seven years was 47 victories against 22 losses and 4 ties. Kalen also served as track tutor for over 10 years at Coaldale.
One of the trade secrets of Kalen's success in securing coal region gridders has been his many years of association with practically every school in eastern Pennsylvania as a coach and official. Coaches who formerly sat on the opposite side of the field and matched strategy with Kalen have become his "bird dogs."
They keep him well-informed of the better-looking prospects during the football season with the result Kalen has had his route well charted when he goes on a talent tour between January and June. Andy already knows which schools to visit for possible candidates, and which ones to bypass.