Coaldale Virtual Sports Hall of Fame

Dear Coaldale Sports Fans,

Please nominate your favorite Coaldale sports FIGURES and FEATS to the Coaldale Virtual Sports Hall of Fame by sending your facts about them to:

Any sports FEAT that you nominate should have been performed by any male or female athlete who was born in Coaldale or who lived in Coaldale at some point in his/her life. The FEAT should have been performed by the athlete while he/she was on any pro team (e.g., The Coaldale Big Green), semi-pro team, college team, military service team, prep school team, high school team (e.g. Coaldale High, Marian High, St. Mary's High, Panther Valley High), pre-high school team (e.g.,St. Mary's and St. Cyril's), or any other Little League or sandlot team or bar team that you can remember. The only criteria is that the FEAT must have been neat or cool and suitable for publishing on a family-oriented website.

Any sports FIGURE whom you nominate should have been born in Coaldale or should have lived in Coaldale at some point in his/her life. He/she must have made a significant contribution to sports at the pre-high school, high school, prep school, college, semi-pro, pro, and/or sandlot level as an athlete, coach, manager, sportswriter, umpire, referee, team manager, fan, and/or as an organizer of a sports team or sports league or sports organization.

You may nominate any FEAT or FIGURE from any sport. For example: archery, arm-wrestling, auto racing, baseball, basketball, bicycling, bocce ball, boxing, cricket, darts, fishing, football, golf, Greco-Roman wrestling, gymnastics, handball, hockey, horse racing, horseshoes, hunting, ice-skating, lacrosse, racquetball, roller-skating basketball, rounders, rugby, polo, soccer, softball, squash, swimming, synchronized swimming, tennis, track & field, wrestling, etc..

Greetings Tigerman,

Bernard "Bunny" Blaney was born in Coaldale in 1936 but moved to Delaware when he was in the 8th grade.

In 1950, he was named Delaware's Athlete of the Year. He is a 1981 inductee into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame and a 2002 inductee into the Delaware Track & Field Hall of Fame.

As a junior cager at Newark, DE, High School, he established a basketball scoring record only to obliterate his own record with 621 points the following season.

On the gridiron, the 5' 7" Blaney also led the state of Delaware in scoring in his senior year.

An exceptional sprinter, he was Delaware's Junior High Champion at 50 yards and 100 yards in 1949. In 1951 and 1952 he was the state 100-yard champ and in 1952 the state 220-yard state champ. His 9.9 seconds clocking in the 100-yard dash and 22.6 seconds in the 220 were the fastest ever recorded in Delaware at the time.

He attended Duke University where he played football and baseball. One of his football teammates was legendary quarterback Sonny Jurgensen.

In seven years as head football coach at Durham High School in Durham, NC, he led his team into the North Carolina state playoffs seven times, reaching the final game five times and winning three state championships.

As a Coaldale native, Bunny certainly belongs in this Coaldale sports hall.


I nominate James H. "Casey" Gildea to the Coaldale Virtual Sports Hall of Fame.

The information I am providing here consists of verbatim excerpts from a 1986 article written by Joe Zagorski and titled "Coaldale's Man of Action," which I found online and to which a link is provided at the bottom of my letter.

In his hometown of Coaldale, locals described Casey as "the man to look up to" and "the guy who always got the job done."

He was Coaldale's man of action and he was the leader in promoting local sports. Shortly after World War I ended, a multitude of energetic young men found themselves back in the coal mines and missing the exhilaration they'd known in combat. Gildea believed that more fights could be fought on battlefields of a different kind. He sponsored, managed, promoted and supported many seasonal sports activities, including basketball and baseball teams. But, perhaps his greatest success came when a new sports frenzy took hold throughout the anthracite hills right after the war – pro football.

Coaldale's pro football team – the Big Green – was formed by Gildea, with a roster of mostly local talent. Nearby towns favored importing ringers for their teams, but Gildea preferred searching his own sector of the coal region for players. He came up with some gems. Two of the best were James "Blue" Bonner and Jack "Honeyboy" Evans. Both were Coaldale natives, both were built like ironmen, and both could really punish Coaldale opponents.

The Big Green, under Casey's leadership, won three consecutive coal region championships in 1921, 1922, and 1923.

Casey went on to become a U.S. Congressman, and he deserves induction in the Coaldale Virtual Sports Hall of Fame.

For the full article about Casey, please see:


According to this internet link (See
: Sean Fitzgerald Love was born in Coaldale in 1968. Therefore, according to your criteria that anyone who was born in Coaldale can be inducted, I believe Sean qualifies for the Coaldale Virtual Sports Hall of Fame.

Sean starred at Marian High School (Tamaqua) and at Penn State before embarking on a 3-year National Football League career as an Offensive Guard with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers.

Love Fan

It gives me great pleasure to nominate Coaldale native and Panther Valley High School graduate Dan Blazosky
for the Coaldale Virtual Sports Hall of Fame.

A tough, 6' 2", 235 pound linebacker, Dan starred for the Panthers and for the Hawks of Monmouth (NJ) University of The Northeast Conference.

As a freshman in 2001 at Monmouth, Dan contributed to one of the Hawks' greatest wins ever over Division I-AA Towson University. The 24-17 upset win was the Hawks' first ever triumph over a Patriot League conference school and marked just the second time a Northeast Conference school ever defeated a team from the Patriot League. Blazosky had three tackles and two fumble recoveries, one of which he picked up and then scampered 11 yards to the end zone to give his team a 14-0 lead in the game.

As a sophomore in 2002, Dan had 39 tackles and in his junior and senior seasons he helped the Hawks to two consecutive Northeast Conference crowns.

In 2003, he led the Hawks' defense with 66 tackles during their remarkable 10-2 Northeast Conference championship season.

In 2004, his senior year, he contributed 56 tackles (5.5 for losses) and broke up 6 passes as his team won a share of the Northeast Conference title with a 10-1 record. In the championship-clinching game, a 49-39 decision of the St. Francis (PA) University Red Flash, Dan showed his versatility by scoring two points on a Monmouth "swinging gate" play on a point-after-touchdown attempt.

Following his senior season, he was honored as a linebacker on the All-Northeast Conference Second Team.

Dan has certainly made Coaldale and the coal regions look good by carrying on the superb traditions of the hard-nosed, hard-working, and intelligent football players from Coaldale who preceded him. He definitely deserves to be in this hall of fame.

Respectfully yours,


Tiger Dude,

How about when George McDonald scored 80 points for St. Mary's in 1956 when they beat St. Ann"s of Lansford 102 to 26 in a CYO basketball game which lasted just 28 minutes? Was that cool, or what? The full story about this feat is right there in the history section of the Coaldale website.
St. Mary's George "Beaky" McDonald scored 80 points against St. Ann's



I nominate "Bogie" Griffith.

A natural-born leader and a gifted all-around athlete, he was co-captain of the last Coaldale High School football team
in the 1963 season and co-captain of his Moravian University football team in the 1967 season.

At both Coaldale High and Division III Moravian he was a tough, agile, intelligent, and mobile Tackle.

While at Moravian, he lettered all four years and was named to the All-Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) team twice. He was also honored as the ECAC Player of the Week during both his sophomore and junior years.

In one game that Moravian played against Wagner College from Staten Island, NY, Bogie was matched up against Little All-American Tight End Richie Kotite, who later played with the New York Giants and then became head coach of both the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles. Following the game, Kotite shook Bogie's hand and said "You are the toughest guy I've ever played against during my four years of college."

During the two seasons that he was a starting offensive and defensive Tackle for the Tigers, his teams compiled a combined record of 21 wins and 2 losses.

On the field, he was a key figure in the Tigers' success. When you view the game films from those two seasons, you will see that he never—never—was pushed backwards from the line of scrimmage whether he was playing on offense or defense. In the final game of the Tigers' undefeated, untied season of 1962, versus Lansford, he recovered a critical Panther fumble to help stop a Panther rally late in the close, hard-fought 14-7 Tiger victory.

Off the field and in the locker room, he was a key ingredient to the team chemistry that ensured that magnificent s11-0 eason and the 10-2 season that followed. His unique sense of humor was contagious and unparalleled and was effectively instrumental in keeping his teammates loose and relaxed during the pressure-filled atmosphere of a football season.

Bogie also displayed his agility while playing basketball for several years for the Tigers. He also was the starting pitcher on opening day for the "Colts" in Coaldale's first-ever official Little League in 1958. During that inaugural little league season, he batted a respectable .330, and, as a flame-throwing pitcher, he struck out 61 batters in 37 innings, which averages to 1.6 strike-outs per inning.

He also served one year as an assistant football coach at Dieruff High School for the legendary "Jeep" Bednarik.

Bogie made a significant contribution to sports in Coaldale and in college and I think he definitely deserves to be inducted into the Coaldale Virtual Sports Hall of Fame.



Don't forget "Blue" Bonner. He was a great halfback for the Coaldale Big Greens
. I don't think he's even in that carbon county hall of fame yet. He should be, and he surely belongs in the Coaldale sports hall. I don't have much information about his career, but according to the website link below, Big Green coach Casey Gildea said about Blue, "He could run like coal coming down a chute and he was twice as hard to stop." Check this:


The Blue Bonner Fan Club


Please consider Vince Gildea for the Coaldale Sports Hall of Fame.

As a star quarterback for the Coaldale Big Green in the early 1920s
as the head coach of the 1924-1925 St. Mary's High School football team, and as the head football coach at Panther Valley High (the predecessor of Marian Catholic High), he made significant contributions to the world of sports and to the development of Coaldale's young athletes.

An article in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin on November 24, 1919, described Vince as "a clever quarterback and drop kicker." "Tiny" Maxwell (the namesake of football's Maxwell Award) said in that same article that Vince was "a high-class player who uses excellent judgment in selecting his plays. He is also a good drop kicker and is very dangerous inside the 25-yard line." In fact, during a 1923 Big Green game against the Pottsville Maroons, Vince drop-kicked a field goal to lead the Big Green to a last-minute 10-7 victory.

As the head football coach for Coaldale's St. Mary's High School in 1924 and 1925, his team won 18 games, tied one, and lost just one game. Following the one loss to up-state Catholic High, Vince revolutionized and perfected his team's offensive attack. A clipping from the Philadelphia Record dated December 26, 1925, says: "Instead of plunging through the line, running off tackle and remaining wedded to the old game of brute strength versus brawn, he adopted an 'open game.' Small but fast men were given the half-back positions and the entire system of play was changed. So potent was the transition from beef to brains that in the very next game St. Mary's beat powerful Lansford, 29-0. After this, the games of St. Mary's were simply parade and procession of triumph. They battered down all their foes, and established such a record that they loomed as formidable as any high school eleven in the coal regions."

St. Mary's High at the time had 35 male students and 27 of them played football for Vince. His players' names are probably familiar to many Coaldale football fans: "Bartel, Blaney, Bechtel, Cannon, Crewalk, Duffy, Fisher, Furey, Gallagher, McCartney, McGeehan, McLaughlin, O'Donnell, Radocha, and Sharpe." Thanks to Vince's tutoring, many of these young men also contributed significantly to other sports later in their own lives. "Sharpe" was Joe "Chappy" Sharpe, who later became Coaldale Mayor and the founder of the Coaldale C.H.O.S.E. organization.

I think Coaldale's youth really benefited over the years from the guys who played for and learned sports and sportsmanship from Vince. Chappy and many of the others gave an enormous amount of their personal time to ensure the existence of little leagues in Coaldale, to ensure that the kids received a kick in the butt when necessary, and to ensure that the young folks were recognized publicly for their achievements. I bet that if guys like Vince, Chappy, and the others were alive today, some of them would have stepped forward by now to ensure that Coaldale is represented again in the Carbon County Area Sports Hall of Fame. But, I digress. Anyway, please consider inducting Vince Gildea for his significant contributions to sports. He really deserves to be honored

Thank you,
Big Green & St. Mary's Fan


May I nominate 2 Coaldale Tigers together for their punt-related football feats
which occurred about 10 years apart? In the early 50s, Pete Julo (Class of 1954) scored 2 touchdowns on 2 long punt returns in the Tigers' football game against West Hazleton. Nearly a decade later, Bob Urban (Class of 1962) scored 2 touchdowns following 2 blocked punts in a Coaldale victory over Nesquehoning. How many times have you ever seen 2 touchdowns off 2 punts (or attempted punts) in 1 game? That's pretty neat. Therefore, I think that these punt-related feats performed by the tandem of Julo and Urban belong in this hall of fame.
Dear Tigerman,

I propose Coaldale native and sportswriter Gene Collier for the Coaldale sports hall of fame
. Gene graduated in 1975 from Penn State with a degree in Journalism and followed that with a career writing about sports in the following newspapers: Pottstown (PA) Mercury, Philadelphia Journal, Camden (N.J.) Courier-Post, Pittsburgh Press, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he currently works. His most recent sports columns may be found here: Pittsburg post-gazette.- columnist.

In 1985, he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in the distinguished social commentary category. In 1994, he won the National Headliner Award for sportswriting for a sampler platter of his sports columns, and he has turned up several times among the top 10 sports columnists in America according to the Associated Press. In 2001, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists judged his humor columns the best in a nationwide contest

You may see him on the following Youtube video as he was interviewed about a year ago on the Pittsburgh sports talk show "In the Locker Room" with former Pittsburgh Steelers Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley: See Gene Collier on youtube - One of Coaldale's Favorite Sons

Hello Tigerman,

I'd like to nominate Marian High School graduate Dennis Gildea
to the Coaldale Virtual Sports Hall of Fame. He is currently an Associate Professor of Communications and Sports Journalism at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Dennis graduated from Marian High in 1962 when the school was located in Coaldale. He played football for the Colts and was an excellent baseball player in the Coaldale baseball leagues. His coach one year was Punk McHugh. You may see his sports story about that baseball season on Nick's Articles of Interest page at: Forever Young - Dennis Gildea

Dennis earned his B.A. in Communications at Villanova in 1966 and his Ph. D. in Mass Communications at Penn State in 1988. He has been at Springfield College since 1994. He spent 14 years as a reporter, writing sports, general assignment news stories, features, and columns. He teaches Introduction to Journalism; Introduction to Mass Communication; the Literature of Journalism; the Press in America; the Muckrakers; Sports, Gambling, and the Media; Sports Information; and the Athlete in Literature.

Currently, he is researching and writing about the lives and works of W.O McGeehan, sports editor and columnist for the New York Herald Tribune in the 1920s and early 1930s, and his wife, journalist and playwright Sophie Treadwell. His research has been published in American Journalism, The Colby Quarterly, the Dictionary of Literary Biography, and the International Ski History Congress Collected Papers, 2002, a collection of papers presented at a ski history conference held in conjunction with the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

Note: I found this information about Dennis' biography at:

Springfield College - Dennis Gildea
A Marian Colt


My nominees for a great feat are all the members of the 1947 Coaldale track team
that won the District 11 track meet title in May 1947. Joe Rilo won the gold medal in the broad jump with a leap of 19 feet, 6 inches, a meet record. Joe also won a gold in the 440-yard dash, which he ran in 59.3 seconds. Joe Zenko earned gold in the 100-yard dash, Charlie Hontz won the 220, Charley Berry won the 880, Tom Flyzik finished first in the shot put, Leo Shanosky won the discus event, and Mike Hydock heaved the javelin for another gold medal. The mile relay team also won. The only reason I know this is that a note about this team appeared in the Lehighton Times-News last week. Pretty good team, huh?

How about John Molotzak? He was one of the best linemen on Coaldale's 11-0 team in 1962
and on the 10-2 team in 1963? Thanks to his blocking, the 1962 team scored 353 points, the most in Coaldale High history, and the 1963 team scored 344 points, the third most in Coaldale history. John graduated from Panther Valley High School in 1965. He coached football, track and golf at Dieruff High School in Allentown and in 2000 he was inducted into the Dierfuff High School Hall of Fame. Thanks for considering him for the Coaldale virtual sports hall of fame.

A Guy from First Street
Dear Tigerman,

Pete Sachon is already in the Carbon County Area Sports Hall of Fame, but I think he should also be in this Coaldale hall of fame for a feat he performed in college. Pete was a quarterback and kicker for Catholic U in Washington, DC. One day against the University of Miami he completed 11 of 13 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns. He also punted nine times for an average of 44 yards and he kicked two field goals and two extra points in his team's 20-18 win.

A Fan of Pistol Pete

Dear Tigerman,

I hereby nominate the Tigers' 28-13 comeback victory over Kulpmont in 1950 as one of the best Coaldale football sports feats.

The game was played in Lansy and Kulpmont was undefeated at the time and supposedly on its way to easily winning the Eastern Conference championship that year. The Wilcats pulled ahead 13-0 and then Coaldale began its comeback. Here's what an article from an old Evening Record says about what happened: "Not one boy on the Coaldale team could be criticized for his deeds on the field last night. Throughout the second half, the surging Tiger line outplayed the great Kulpmont forward wall. Ends Bob Zebian and George McCartney were brilliant as pass receivers and as defense men. Eddie Shubeck, little Ziggy Karpa and Ronnie Richards hit the line gamely. But a major share of the credit must go to Coaldale's outstanding "T" quarterback, George Welsh, who proved last night that those who are boosting him for All-State honors know whereof they speak. The heady signal-caller took to the air early, and passed the Wildcats dizzy. He completed 13 out of 20 for a total of 181 yards. He again demonstrated an uncanny ability to eye his receivers, oblivious of onrushing linemen, then rifle a bulls-eye just at the last minute. Coaldale's touchdowns were scored by Bob Zebian (2) and Ed Shubeck (2). George McCartney added an extra point on a pass from Welsh, and John Hatchko kicked three extra points. The starting lineup for the Tigers included: LE George McCartney, LT Bernie Kovach, LG John Posta, C Bob Orledge, RG Peter Ginda, RT Keer, RE Bob Zebian, QB George Welsh, LH Ziggy Karpa, RH Ron Richards, FB Ed Shubeck."


I found this note in an old issue of The Valley Gazette: "Thursday, October 21, 1915. The Coaldale roller skating basketball team defeated the Tamaqua club at Burns' Hall, Coaldale, last night by the score of 36-0. The work of Keiper, Fussleman and O'Brien was the feature of the one-sided contest." I'm not sure if this really qualifies for the Coaldale sports hall of fame or not, but you must admit that the fact that Coaldale at one time even had a roller skating basketball team is pretty cool. And, they beat Tamaqua. How cool is that?



I'd like to nominate the entire team of the 1934 coaldale football tigers for this here hall of fame.

They went 9-0. Tom Raymer was the head coach. I found the following info about that team in an old article from the Tamaqua Courier: "Listed in the Coaldale High School yearbook, Stentor, as graduates from the then third undefeated team in the school's history were the following linemen, Michael Povalac, Al Yesulaitis, Dan Starry, John Flyzik, Ben Williams, John Polischak and William Miller. Senior backs on the squad were Ed Sicenavage, George Barron, Joe Ferry, a quarterback, Paul Dirnberger, another quarterback, Joseph Lutchkus and John Lankalis. Underclassmen on the team were Mike Skeerca, John Kuzman, Joe Pisanick, Frank Burns, John Paslawsky, Dave Griffiths, Steve Hlavka, Joe Solko, Pete Sachon, Wash Chabala, Anthony Matukoais, John Kupec and Alec Pabuda. The Tigers opened the season with a 12-0 win over Shenandoah, then walloped Catasaqua Catholic, 46-0 and Tamaqua 39-6, before eking out a 6-0 decision over Freeland, a 12-0 win over McAdoo and a thrilling 6-0 conquest of the St. Thomas Frosh. The last three games of the season found the Coaldale team dumping Summit Hill, 27-6, Nesquehoning, 19-0, and Lansford, 7-0, in the classic Turkey Day encounter which dates back to 1921."

1934 Fan
Dear Tigerman,

Please consider our nomination of Coaldale native Bill Edwards for the Coaldale Virtual Sports Hall of Fame.

As a player, coach, athletic trainer, and developer of athletes, Bill Edwards has made significant, positive, and lasting contributions to the world of sports for over four decades.

As a head football coach and offensive coordinator, his overall coaching record is 49 wins and three losses. As the starting Quarterback for the 1961 and 1962 CHS football teams, Bill led the Tigers to a total of 19 victories, which was the exact same number of victories earned by the legendary George Welsh when he was the Tigers’ starting QB in the early 1950s.

Possessing a cool, calming, and confidence-inspiring demeanor, Bill always demonstrated grace under pressure and strong leadership in the huddle, under center, and while passing and dashing for yardage on the football field.

In the Tigers’ magical 11-win season of 1962, he scored the team’s first touchdown of the season and led a fourth quarter surge that propelled Coaldale to a 20-14 win over Tunkhannock. His precision passing, on a team that usually emphasized the running game, ensured a 47-0 victory over Jim Thorpe in game 2. Against West Hazleton in game 3, he was a primary cog in what was perhaps Coaldale’s greatest comeback win ever, a 27-12 victory that ensued only after the Tigers trailed 12-0 in the fourth quarter. In Coaldale’s 47-0 thumping of Cass Township in game 4, he scored a touchdown and, with Johnny Unitas-like efficiency, he professionally engineered the drives leading to the other Tiger scores. He scored once and passed for a touchdown in game 5, a 27-7 shellacking of Shenandoah. In game 6, he scored again and tossed a touchdown pass to his leading receiver, Rich Miller, as the Tigers walloped Schuylkill Haven 32-7. In leading the Tigers in game 7 over Nesquehoning by the score of 41-0, he fired 2 passes for touchdowns to Miller. Versus Kulpmont in game 8 he exceeded 200 passing yards, again with 2 touchdown passes to Miller, and scored a touchdown on his own in the 31-7 victory. He tallied a touchdown in game 9, a 41 to 0 victory over Ashland. In the Tigers’ 10th victory, a 27-0 pasting of Summit Hill, he contributed with his legs as Coaldale amassed 373 rushing yards against the Hillers. Against a determined and tough Lansford team which had been holding the Tigers to a 7-7 tie into the fourth quarter on Turkey Day, Bill flipped a swing pass to All-State Halfback Ed Kassak for the go-ahead touchdown and then scored the extra point in the 14-7 victory, the 11th win of the Tigers’ amazing, once-in-a-lifetime season.

During his CHS days, he also started on the Basketball team and was a mainstay in the discus and pole-vault events for the Tigers’ track team. Following high school, he played Division III Soccer and Basketball at Philadelphia College of Bible (now Philadelphia Biblical University). In his freshman year, he started on the Basketball team and led all underclassmen in scoring while pouring in 20+ points in several games.

Upon returning from a tour as a platoon leader in Vietnam, he quarterbacked the U.S. Army’s Ft. Carson, Colorado, “Mountaineers” to an undefeated season and to the Fifth Army Championship. In the title game, he ran for two touchdowns and passed for two others, all while nursing a partially-separated shoulder.

Bill earned his coaching certification at Penn State, and he began his coaching career at Everett Area (Pennsylvania) High School as Assistant Coach (Offense) for the football team and Pole Vault Coach for the track team. In 1986, he was instrumental in developing the State AA Pole Vault Champion and he mentored all the county and district 5 pole vault record holders over a decade.

As Head Football Coach, Head Boys Basketball Coach, and Phys Ed Teacher at Riverdale Baptist School (Riverdale, Maryland), he devised and implemented the school’s first weight-training program. Within two years, he led the football team, which had not won one game in three previous seasons, to the conference championship game. Many of his players went on to play Division II football and one player was accepted on a full scholarship at the University of Miami in Florida, a Division I school.

Bill has been mentored by some of the best strength coaches in the National Football League (NFL): Dan Riley of the Washington Redskins, Kim Wood of the Cincinnati Bengals, Mark Asanovich of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Jeff Friday of the Baltimore Ravens.

For 13 years, he directed the Bedford County (Pennsylvania) Youth Achievement Association and Summit Quest Fitness and Human Performance Center, which incidentally he founded, and he developed four athletes who went on to play Division I football and one who played many years in the Arena Football League.

For several years, Bill was also the “voice” of Bedford County sports broadcasting for high school football games, basketball games, and wrestling tournaments on radio station WAYC in Bedford, PA.

He was also the Founder and Director of the Summit Quest All-Star Basketball Classic which, over a 12-year period, showcased the basketball skills of over 550 male and female athletes. Many of those athletes went on to play Division I basketball and two of them became the highest scorers in the history of their state. One participant earned a football scholarship at West Virginia University. The basketball classic was recognized by the sports department of the Altoona Mirror newspaper as “one of the finest all-star games in the state of Pennsylvania.” The organization also sponsored summer sports camps for, and had a positive impact on, hundreds of young athletes.

Bill currently serves as Athletic Trainer/ Strength-Conditioning Coach at Penn State Dubois and he is the Director of the Human Performance Center for Physical Therapy where he continues to help young people become strong, stable, safe, and better at what they want to do and, at the same time, to help older athletes to have a better quality of life.

In closing, we’d just like to say: Bill Edwards—Sports Hall-of-Famer—Case closed!

Thank you,
Friends of Bill

Dear Tigerman,

The best Coaldale football play I remember seeing in person was Joe Terry's 72 yard touchdown run
against McAdoo in the first game in 1960. Joe sure made lots of other great runs and plays. But what made this one so special was that it led to Coaldale's first victory after 15 straight losses over the previous two seasons. I think Joe's long touchdown run against McAdoo was the single play that kick-started the Tigers' tremendous success over the next four seasons in the early sixties. That play is definitely worthy to be in the hall of fame.


A Friend of Joe

The best track feat was accomplished by the Coaldale 880-yard relay team at the state meet in 1948. They won the gold medal and the Pennsylvania state title. The runners were Gene Ambrose, Charlie Hontz, Joe Rilo, and Frank Trimmel.


Sports Feat 1: John “Sonny” Yankovich’s Touchdown vs. West Hazleton in 1962

Dear Tigerman,

With under 12 minutes left in the third game of the 1962 Coaldale Tigers’ undefeated-untied 11-0 season, the Tigers trailed West Hazleton 12-0, until halfback John “Sonny” Yankovich (PVHS ’65) blasted off on a 55-yard touchdown run. Sonny’s miraculous run re-ignited the Tigers’ offense which added three more touchdowns, compliments of All-State halfback Ed Kassak, in the next few minutes to earn an unbelievable 27-12 comeback victory. Therefore, I nominate Sonny’s feat for the Coaldale Virtual Hall of fame.


Sports Figure 1: Rich Miller (CHS ’63)

Dear Tigerman,

Please consider the following facts about the career of Coaldale’s Dr. Richard C. Miller and induct him into the Coaldale Virtual Sports Hall of Fame?

Now a Lehighton-based gynecologist, Rich is a 1963 graduate of Coaldale High School, a 1964 graduate of Bullis Prep School, a 1968 graduate of Lehigh University, and a 1972 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

A tremendously intelligent and talented four-sport athlete, Rich was a natural and influential leader on every sports team on which he participated from Little League through high school, prep school, and college. He was Co-Captain of the 1962 undefeated and untied (11-0) Coaldale Tigers football team and Co-Captain of the 1967 Lehigh University Engineers (now Mountain Hawks) football team.

His sports leadership ability carried over into his professional life as he attained the rank of Captain in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Naval Reserve with 30 years of service to his country. Lending further testimony to his incredible ability to lead people, he served during his Navy career as the Commanding Officer of the Marines Medical Support Unit at the Lehigh Valley Naval Reserve Center. He also served as the Chief of Obstetrics/Gynecology at Gnaden Huetten Memorial Hospital in Lehighton.

During his four-year football career at Lehigh University, Rich started every game as either a Tight End or Split End, playing one year on the Freshman team and three years on the varsity squad. He established three Lehigh pass-catching records: most passes caught in one game (13 against Rutgers University), most passes caught in one year (58 in 1966), and most passes caught in a career (132 in three seasons). The 58 passes he caught in 1966 ranked 1st in the East and 7th nation-wide. Following his senior season, 1967, he was named as a first team Split End on the All-Middle Atlantic Conference team, was chosen as a member of the prestigious NCAA All-American Academic Team, and was selected to represent Lehigh University as the Lehigh Valley Scholar-Athlete at the 1968 National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame.

Upon graduation from Lehigh in 1968, Rich received an offer to play professional football with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League and offers to attend the football camps of both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cincinnati Bengals. His commitment to the U.S. Navy precluded him from accepting any of these offers.

As a Tight End and Cornerback and Defensive End for four years at Coaldale High School, Rich was known for his innate ability to run perfectly-precise pass patterns and to catch any ball thrown close to him. In his junior year, he caught the game-winning extra point pass from Quarterback Bill Edwards in a 13-12 win over McAdoo. As a senior co-captain on the 11-0 1962 team, which featured All-State running back Ed Kassak, Rich led the Panther Valley and Schuylkill County areas with the most touchdown receptions. He was also chosen to play in the 1962 Schuylkill County Dream Game. When Coaldale head coach Geno Poli once remarked that the members of his 1962 squad “had superior intelligence and work ethics,” he placed Rich at the top of his list in those categories.

Rich’s exploits as a baseball pitcher extended over a 10-year period from the Coaldale Little League and Church League through high school and Bullis Prep School in Silver Spring, MD. Possessing a blazing fastball and a wicked curveball, he dominated batters in Little League. Records from that era show that Rich struck out, on average, two batters per inning (92 strike-outs in 47 innings). He continued to dominate through Coaldale’s Church League program, and as a Freshman on the last Coaldale High baseball team in 1960 he was a member of the starting rotation which was predominantly made up of upperclassmen. At Bullis Prep School, Rich was one of four starting pitchers.

At Coaldale High, Rich also played Basketball for four years and participated in Track and Field for three 3 seasons. His all-around athletic ability was demonstrated in the fact that he excelled in both the running and field events, having earned several points at track meets over the years in the javelin toss as well as in the half-mile and mile races.

After his own sports career ended, Rich lent his leadership ability to youth sports in the Panther Valley area. He worked as a coach in the Nesquehoning Little League and as a coach for The Panther Valley Midgets in the Tri-County Football League. In addition, he volunteered his time and services over several years to perform as the team doctor for the Marian High School Colts football team.

I believe that Rich’s contributions to the sports world as a leader and as an athlete over the years, and his contributions to society as a doctor (he has delivered nearly 8000 babies), as a Naval officer, and as a citizen, qualify him for induction into the Coaldale Virtual Sports Hall of Fame.

A Teammate of Rich Miller


You got to add Charley Melley's athletic feat to the Coaldale hall of fame. Charley scored all 8 points in the Tigers' 6-2 victory over Lansford on Turkey Day in 1939. Is that cool enough for you? He scored Coaldale's touchdown in the second quarter for a 6-0 lead. Then near the very end of the game when the Tigers were backed up against their own goal line on fourth down, Charley deliberately stepped out of the endzone. By doing that he gave the Panthers a 2-point safety, but he got better field position for the kick after the safety and was able to pin the Panthers deep in their own territory where time ran out on them.

Yours truly,
Tim W.


My grandpa told me a story about how Teeler Jabbo set a 100 yard dash record for Coaldale in 1940 something. I think Teeler's feat should be in this hall of fame. He ran the 100 yard dash at a track meet in Pottsville or Minersville or somewhere else near Coaldale in 10.1 seconds. His record stood for 25 years. The neat part was that he started the race five yards in back of the other runners because he was penalized for jumping the gun on the first try. I guess that's how they did it back then. So he actually ran 105 yards and still won the race and set the record.

Jimmy D.