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Harry Litwack. The long time coach of Temple University and one of the masters of the zone defense. His team won the NIT in 1969, and finished third in the NCAA in both 1956 and 1958 with a total of 13 post-season appearances. He was named "Coach of the Year" in 1958.He won373games at Temple. For years, in the 1960 's and '70 's, high school players from across Pennsylvania attended the basketball camps in the Poconos run by Harry Litwack and Bill Foster. They brought high school players together with the best coaches and players of their day to learn on the "outdoor courts of summer."
Photo Credit: Baker League Website


Terry Manning. Coached at Millersburg H.S. for 24 years, finishing his coaching career with a winning percentage of .801 with 478 wins and 119 losses. He led Millersburg to the1987 Class A State Finals and the 1988 Eastern Finals. Millersburg won six, District 3, Class A Championships and seven league titles while he was coaching. He was inducted into the Central PA Sports Hall of Fame.


Rudy Marisa.   a Western PA “legend,” coached the Waynesburg College Yellow Jackets for 34 years and is listed among the top ten winning coaches in NCAA Div III with a record of 563-300. Prior to Waynesburg switching to D III, Rudy’s teams won the NAIA District 18 four or five times and went to the national tournament including a semi-final shoot out loss in the mid-80’s. when both teams scored over 100 points.  Rudy is a native of Fredericktown, PA (now Beth Center HS) and he played on the only team in Penn State history to go to the NCAA Final Four in the mid-50’s. He was a starter on that team which featured Jesse Arnelle, a two-sport PSU All American.  (Nominated by Ron Shunk, Hood College, Frederick, MD)


Bernie Matthews.   He was captain of the 1954-55 St. Canice High School State Class “B” championship team which finished the season with a 32-1 record.  He was a standout guard at Duquesne University under Coach Dudey Moore and Coach Red Manning, where he was a starter all four years.  As a freshman at Duquesne, he averaged 20.3 ppg on a team that won 13 out of 15 games.   He was the  head coach at Saint Vincent College for 33 years, won over 500 games, was a four-time  District Coach of the Year (1985,1991,2000,2003), led his teams to five national tournaments (90-91,97-98, 99-00, 01-02, 02-03), and was the only coach to  lead  St. Vincent  to the Elite 8 of the NAIA Division I National Tournament.   He has won titles at every level he has coached and with every team he has coached, including a girls CYO team, a boys high school basketball team, an AAU team and a collegiate team.  Coach Matthews has coached and developed numerous NAIA All-Americans and several of his former players have gone on to play professional basketball in Europe and one in the NBA.  For 33 years, he conducted the Bernie Matthews Basketball Camp.


Walter "Whitey" McCloskey. McCloskey was the head boys basketball coach at Danville High School from 1952-74, posting a record of 350-183as the Ironmen competed in Class A, even though Danville had a smaller (Class C or B) enrollment. His teams captured nine Susquehanna Valley Conference titles, two District 4 championships and won the 1963 Class A eastern semifinal and won a 1972 Class AAA eastern quarter final game. He was well known for never cutting anyone who came out for his teams. He believed if that student made the commitment to come to practice everyday, that he would find a uniform and place for him on the team. Sometimes that meant having a team consisting of 45-50 players. McCloskey would get everyone into a game sometime during the season. (Sunbury Daily Item)



(Click for HIS RECORD).

 McCluskey, Eddie. The famous defensive strategist and highly respected taskmaster, who guided Farrell High School to seven state championships: 1952, 1954, 1956, 1959, 1960, 1969,and 1972. He stands as a Western Pennsylvania basketball legend.  In 29 years at Farrell, he finished with 574 wins and 153 losses. Other stops included tiny Burgettstown and later  Kennedy Christian to push his final record to 698-185.  He graduated from South High in Pittsburgh and then Washington and Jefferson College. He was "the man" of Pennsylvania High School Basketball! As someone once said, "If you ranked the top three coaches in the history of Pennsylvania basketball, they  would be  McCluskey,  McCluskey, and McCluskey!"
(Update from Sharon Herald article by Jim Raykie, found HERE)


(Special thanks to Pete White of 7 Hemlock Road in Williamsport for his input
in helping to provide information for the McCluskey story).

Hugh McGeehan, "the pride of Hazleton"
 
Hazleton High won the state championships for basketball in 1928 and 1929.   Hugh McGeehan coached  Hazleton to 45 straight victories during that period of time.   Later, Coach McGeehan went to Villanova and coached there.   They named the Hazleton High School Gym  after him and when they opened the Hazleton Sports Hall of Fame, he was the first inductee.  He died in 1947 and is famous to this day in the city of Hazleton. 
Coach Hugh Mc Geehan and Hazleton's wins in 1928 and 1929  

State Championships:
1928 ...... HAZLETON (1 ) LEWISTOWN (6) ..............35-31

1929 .......HAZLETON (1 ) SHARON (8 )......................34-22


Click HERE for the Yearbook Tribute to the coach

Zigmund "Red" Mihalik and Tony Senapole.  Another one of the outstanding referee teams of the 1950 's.  (they came out of Ford City) "Red" was the referee in the 48-41 win for Farrell High School at the Pitt Field House over Monessen for the1956 WPIAL Title Game (March 12, 1956 ).  "Red" officiated in the NBA, the Big Ten, did the NCAA Championship game, and did numerous Pennsylvania high school games including the 1953  PIAA Class A State Championship Game  with Steve Honzo (Palmerton) at the Palestra in Philadelphia.  "Red" Mihalik was inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame on May 6, 1986
(Hall of Fame photo)


John Miller. As the coach of Blackhawk High School, he achieved the 500 win plateau during the 2000-2001 season, his team advanced to the District 7 Championship game for the 12th time since 1986. He has won 7 WPIAL titles while coaching Blackhawk. His tenure also included coaching his two sons. ( Credit: Pittsburgh Post Gazette (3/3/01)-Mike White, Sports Writer)
 
Misiak, Ken. Coaching at Geibel High School in the Pittsburgh area, Section 5 of the WPIAL, in December of 1997, he recorded personal coaching win #600 in a 76-52 win over Carmichaels.  In 2004,  he started his 46th year of coaching with a record of 685-327.
(Uniontown Standard-Herald  and Pittsburgh Post Gazette ).

 
Mitchell, Terry. The women's basketball coach at Marquette University won 86 of her first 117 games. She said, "one thing we do here is play defense!" She played her high school basketball at Bishop McDevitt in Harrisburg from1981 through 1985 and the team won 127 of their 133 games.
(Patriot News , Andrew Lenker, 3/5/00)

Glen Moskosky  won 203 games in only ten seasons as the Head Coach at Carbondale Area HS. Moskosky's team hold the PIAA state-record of 59 Consecutive Victories, accomplished during the 1992-94 seasons. Numerous District 2 and Lackawanna League titles under Moskosky, the Chargers reached the Eastern finals three times, defeated the previously unbeaten and highly-regarded George Jr. Rebublic in the '93 PIAA  AA Championships (30-0 record), and narrowly lost the '94 finals to Aliquippa (29-1).  (Pat Price,  Mardyke UCC Demons)


 

Dr. James Naismith, the "Originator of Basketball. the "Originator of Basketball."In1891,at the Young Men's Christian Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, he devised the game of basketball to create a sport that would offer something to do between football and baseball seasons. In December, he split his class into two teams. The janitor at the school offered two peach baskets to use for the goals. Frank Mahan and Duncan Patton, two students were asked to choose up sides. William R. Chase of New Bedford, Mass became the first lad to score a goal. The game was conducted according to 13 rules, five of which remain yet today! First game final score: 1-0, a defensive struggle!

 

 


Packer, Billy. He played on the Bethlehem Catholic High School team that lost to the York High School Bearcats in 1958. Catholic led at the end of three quarters, but York went on a torrid fourth quarter run 31-2 to win the state semi-final playoff game in 1958. Packer went on to play his college basketball at Wake Forest, and then to his high profile position as a television analyst for college basketball. (WSBA SportsRadio, 2/24/99)

 

Palaggo, Frank. He was honored on Feb 6, 1998 prior to the District 9-AAAA basketball game between ECCHS and Clearfield, he was concluding his 43 year basketball officiating career. Frank was always firm, fair, and very personable during his hardwood career. He also served in the coaching ranks for a short time as the coach of the Clarion Comets, a strong semi-pro men's team in the 1960's. Clarion County was his home, but he was well known throughout the state. (Daily Press, 2/9/98)


Palance, Jack. Born Vladimir Palaniuk, the son of a Ukranian coal miner, he played football and basketball at Hazleton High School. He later became  a heavyweight boxer in the 1940's, then joined the U.S. military when World War II broke out in 1941. After his military service, he graduated from Stanford with a degree in drama and began a career in the movies.  He won an Oscar for the best supporting actor in 1991 for his role in "City Slickers." 
(Pocono Record, 10/16/06)
Phelps, "Digger." He coached Hazelton St. Gabriel to a PCIAA class "C" Pennsylvania State Championship. "Digger" went on to coach Notre Dame University and then to a broadcasting career.

Julius Prezelski.  In 1993, Julius Prezelski from Forest City (PA) High School and Charles Ripley from Parkview H. S. in Little Rock (AK) were the coaches in the McDonalds All-Star Game.  The McDonald's All American Basketball Games began in  1978.  Coach Prezelski's record was (757-290) which puts him second on the all-time list in Pennsylvania behind Pittsburgh North Catholic's Don Graham (801-436),  and in front of Northwest's Ed Gayeski (744-195).


 

 Glenn Robinson. A 600 win coach at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster. Robinson  became only the 34th men's college basketball coach in NCAA history to win 600 games. In 1981, he was a speaker at the First Championship Coaches Clinic held at the Marriott Inn in Harrisburg.
He's fourth on the Division III all-time win list, behind only Albany State's Dick Sauers, who won 702 games from 1957-97; Illinois Wesleyan's Dennie Bridges, who has won 658 games since 1966 and is the only active coach with more victories than Robinson; and Wisconsin's Eau Claire's Ken Anderson,  who won 631 games from 1969-95.

(Credit: Lancaster Sunday News, 2/18/01)

 

 

 

 Ron Rhen. The only coach to win District Eleven titles in three enrollment classifications. He retired in 1998 with a record of 675-170 in 31 years as the coach of the Pine Grove "Cardinals "Girl's Basketball Team. His teams won eight Schuylkill League, twelve District11, and two PIAA State titles. He was named Reading Eagle Lower Anthracite Region Girls Basketball Coach of the Year five times. On April 24, 1999,he was presented with the Felix Kadel Award for his coaching achievements. (Reading Eagle,4/25/99)
He was also named the "all-time girl's basketball coach" of the Lower Anthracite Region by the Reading Eagle.
(Reading Eagle, Doyle Dietz 4/9/00)

 

Rudolf, Mendy. He was a Kingston, PA native. "Considered by many historians as the finest referee ever to call a game," (Nominated by Zaq Harrison, Chicago).

Ryan, Bo.  Former native of Chester (PA) and the very successful coach at the University of Wisconsin was the subject of a roast in  2006 to benefit the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation.  Former Purdue coach Gene Keady said: "Bo's easy to roast because he's got so many things wrong with him." Roasters included Gov. Jim Doyle, who recalled playing pick-up games with Ryan at the Shell years ago when Doyle was country district attorney and Bo was an assistant.  Most thought the show was stolen by Bo's wife, Kelly Ryan, who noted that she is often asked how Bo is at helping around the house. "In a word, worthless," Kelly said, listing a few of Bo's less successful home improvement projects. Prior to his tenure at the University of Wisconsin, Ryan coached for 15 years at UW-Platteville, winning four NCAA Division III national championships. He recorded a 353-76 record at UW-Platteville from 1984-99 and his .822 winning percentage was the best in the history of NCAA Division III basketball. (Dave Burman)

Serio, Suzie McConnell. As a player, she won the state championship in grade school and  in high school.  In 13 years as coach of the Oakland Catholic High School girls, a span from 1991-2003, her teams won 3 PIAA state championships (1993, 2001, 2003), were runners-up twice (2000-2002), and won five consecutive district championships (1999-2003).  She finished her high school coaching career after the 2002-2003 season with a 321-86 record. Her professional career on the Cleveland Rockers earned her  a spot on the 1st team All-WNBA roster.  She later was named head coach of the WNBA Minnesota Lynx.  (Information credit: The Brookline Journal)

 

Schellenburg, Bob. "The Golden Voice of Pennsylvania Basketball." He does the outstanding Public Address work at all the PIAA Basketball Playoff Games at the Hersheypark Arena. Born in DuBois, raised in Windber, he played at Shippensburg University. He has also done the Roundball All-Star Basketball Games and the Pennsylvania/Maryland Shootout!

Schnure, Bob. With the reputation of  "an amazing coach and educator, both on and off the court,"  he has recorded over 600 wins and counting in the  Downingtown Area School District (including Downingtown High School and Downingtown East High School). His girl's team has won 14 Chest Mont league championships, 9 District One championships and 5 state championships. How many coaches in the state can lay claim to FIVE STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS?  
(Nominated by Margaret Klinger)
 


Shoop, Les.  He coached at Punsxutawney in District 9 and Knoch in the WPIAL winning 511 games in 37 seasons, the last 24 with the Knoch Knights. (Rick Shrum's Notebook)

Shurcenski, Larry "Deuce." He hails from North Braddock outside Pittsburgh and is known as "America's Most Famous Scorekeeper."   He has scored more games at all levels across the state of Pennsylvania  than any other person.  He attends all the state championship games each year and in 1992 he made a special trip to Hersheypark Arena to score the very first Pennsylvania vs Maryland All-Star Basketball Game.

(Photo credit: Ted Silary, Philadelphia News)

Silan, John. He coached at Kutztown and Wilson. His final record was 527-117 over 26 seasons. He had 16 seasons with at least twenty wins. His 1949-50 team became the first Berks County team to win 30 games, they went 30-2 and won the state title. His 1958-59 team was 29-0 and won the state championship. He won three state titles in his legendary coaching career. His Berks County record was broken by Lloyd Wolf of Reading Holy Name on February 8, 2000 when Lloyd won his 528 th game over 33 seasons. (DarrylGrumlingsports@readingeagle.com).

Stofko, Hank. Coached Plymouth-Whitemarsh compiling more victories that anyone probably ever will in District 1 of the PIAA. His list of accomplishments include: the 1963 team won the 3-A Boy's State Championship with a 74-54win over Norwin H.S.and "Big John" Naponick; he was state runner up in 1964; won numerous District 1 championships; and had over 700 victories. Hank's coaching career started at the old Warwick H.S. (now part of the Owen J. Roberts school district. From there he moved to Pottstown Jr. High for two seasons (both undefeated), then Boyertown H.S., before becoming the first coach at P.W. when the school opened. (circa 1957). Hank retired in1991 after 35 seasons at P.W. (Nominated by Bob Swavely ,Conestoga Valley High School)

Strand, Reno. In Gene Cuneo's Erie Sunday Times-News (3/31/68) Column "Sports of the Times," he mentions "the rugged basketball school" conducted at the Erie Boy's Club by Reno Strand. Mr. Cuneo reminisces to a time when there were no fancy basketball camps, but only "kids learning basketball by hard knocks in the back yard or by fighting their way through places like the local Boy's Club! Times have changed in thirty years plus.

Aaron Straub. On 2/10/01, he recorded his 400th win in just19 seasons as the coach at Elk County Christian in St. Mary's, PA. The win set his team's record at 22-0 for the season and was an important win at league rival Brookville 68-55. The win also earned the "Crusaders" the District 9 League title. Aaron comes from a basketball family, his son A. J. scored 31 points in the District semi-finals, his father Victor was an outstanding basketball player at St. Mary's Central, the forerunner to Elk County Christian. Few coaches can claim 400 wins in just 19 seasons and add in 11 District Nine titles in the past 15 years.  Elk Co Christian became Elk Co Catholic and in 2006, Coach Straub guided them through an undefeated 33-0 season and the Class A State Championship.
(Photo credit: St. Marys Daily Press)

 

C. Vivian Stringer. Stringer began her coaching career at Cheyney State in Pennsylvania and  in 11 seasons (1971-72 to 1982-83) she posted a 251-51 record. She moved to Iowa and coached her teams to nine NCAA Tournaments in 12 seasons (1983-84 to 1994-95), with a 269-84 record.  In 2000 she became the only coach to pilot three different programs to the NCAA Final Four:  1982 at Cheyney State University (Pa.), in 1993 with the University of Iowa and in 2000  at Rutgers (NJ). Now in her 32nd season, Stringer has established a  record  of 695-238 ranking her fourth in total wins for women's college basketball history.
(Nomination credit:  Annette Fortson; photo and information credit USA Basketball)

 Mike Strong.  The head coach of The University of Scranton's women's basketball program. He  led the Lady Royals to at least 20 wins in each of the last 13 seasons and 19 times overall.  This accomplishment pales, however, in comparison to his NCAA Division III championship in 1985 or his five other teams that reached the Final Four (1987, 1993, 1997, 1999, 2000).  Overall, he has led Scranton to 19 NCAA tournament appearances and 13 of Scranton's 16 Middle Atlantic/Freedom Conference titles in 24 seasons.  He's never had a losing season, and the fewest victories he's ever posted in a year were 17.
In 24 years, a career record of  579-127  with a  .820 Winning Percentage
(Credit: Scranton Times-Tribune)
 


Norm Sundstrom. St. Mary's (PA) High School (1955-1960)
: five conference championships in six years; won first District title since 1939; won 46 consecutive regular season games; coached the school's only undefeated team.  Winning percentage: 71%.
Meadville (PA) High School (1960-70): won seven section championships in nine years; won three District championships; section home winning streak of 58 straight games.  Winning percentage of 70%.
Allegheny College (1970-79): won the first conference championship in the history of Allegheny College; won two conference championships; participated in two NCAA post season tournaments.  Winning percentage in Conference of 68%.
His accomplishments on the court, however were even overshadowed by his accomplishments off the court.  He was a teacher, a leader, a mentor, a true gentleman and is admired to this day by those who took direction under his leadership both on and off the court!

In this photo, Coach Sundstrom outlines the last play  in the very first high school game he coached,  a 41-39 win over Clearfield  H. S.  The strategy executed in the final seconds of play resulted in a big win for the St. Mary's "Flying Dutchmen" in December of 1955.  In his first basketball job in St. Mary's, Coach Sundstrom  taught physical education, was an assistant coach in football and was behind the plate as the umpire during the baseball season!

(Information credit: Allegheny College and former players) 
 



John Swogger.
At one time in the community of Mercer in Western Pennsylvania,  the residents referred to baskets nailed to telephone poles as "Swogger Poles." Baskets could also be found on garages, on the sides of barns and sheds. In 1966 and 1967, Coach Swogger led the Mercer Mustangs to two straight Class B State Championships. In his last year at Mercer, he coached both the Varsity and the J.V.s.  He went from Mercer to Altoona where he carved out an impressive record with the Altoona Mountain Lions and his powerful "quarter-turn outlet, fill the lanes, fast break."  In 2006, he was inducted into the Blair County Hall of Fame, story HERE
(Photo credit: PIAA Coaches Clinic Program, sent courtesy  j bernosky)




Art Taneyhill.
He built a high school girls basketball dynasty going 471-95 in 20 seasons coaching the Altoona Lady Lions, winning PIAA Titles in 1986,'88,'95and,96 plus the USA Today Mythical National Title for unbeaten seasons in '86 and'88. He led Altoona to the State Finals 7 times and made 14 visits to the Western Finals. He had over thirty players earn Divison 1 sholarships for basketball. He spent the last 4 years of his coaching career coaching the AAHS Boys Program, going 56-49 including advancing to the Western Final in '98.  (Information credit: Billy Clapper)

Chuck Taylor. Born in 1901, a player with the Buffalo Germans and the Akron Firestones, he joined the Converse Company in 1921 to promote basketball and the famous Chuck Taylor sneaker worn by almost every Pennsylvanian "back in the day." He died in 1969, the year after his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield.  Did you own a pair of "Chuck Taylor's?"

Dick Tracy. His coaching record after eight seasons at Whitehall and ten at Allentown Dieruff was 221 and 49. His 1982 team won the AAA title defeating New Castle in the Championship game. 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).

Russ Trimmer had a relatively short but very successful coaching career at Middletown High School.  His record as the Blue Raider coach from the 1961 season through the 1966 season was 120-21, including 44 straight league victories between 1961 and 1964, with 5 Capital Area Conference titles.  The best Blue Raider record during that stretch was 24-1, by the 1964-65 team which lost to Steel High in the district championship game, while the worst record was 18-6, posted by the 1963-64 squad that made it to the district semi-final before falling to Chambersburg.  He came to Middletown following a playing career at West York High School, York Junior College and the University of Delaware.  Defensive intensity was a trademark of his Middletown teams.  (Thomas Taylor-taylortf5@comcast.net)

Tolan, Elsie. One of the all-time most successful  coaches in Pennsylvania basketball. How many coaches can say that they won 30 games or more in five of six seasons between 1978-79 and 1983-84. She built her successful program at Marian Catholic High School in Tamaqua.

John Vanak of Lansford made his mark as an basketball official in the NBA and the ABA.

Joe Votino. He has moved into the elite in Pennsylvania High School basketball coaching circles with six state championships at Kennedy Christian High School in Hermitage located in Mercer County in Northwestern Pennsylvania. His "Eagles" have taken the coveted state title in 1986, 1987,1998,1999, 2000, AND 2001. In 19 years of coaching, Joe Votino has established a record of 421-126. His six state titles are one short of the state record seven achieved by Eddie McCluskey. He did however tie the record of four straight state titles set by Carlisle. See Sharon Herald article. After his record season, Votino was fired by Kennedy Christian High School in May of 2001, see Sharon Herald article. See Pittsburgh Post Gazette article

Mike "Red" Wallace was a graduate of Fell Township High School (now part of Carbondale High School) in 1937.  Keystone Jr. College  has recently inducted him posthumously into its Hall of Fame for basketball. Wallace then attended the University of Scranton, and is in its Hall of Fame as well.   After World War II, Wallace played for the Boston Celtics and Toronto Huskies in the 1946/1947 Basketball Association of America. He thereafter coached the Wilkes-Barre Barons and Scranton Minors of the Eastern Professional Basketball League. Eventually he wound up at Elk Lake High School, where he coached the  1969 team to the Class C PIAA  title; he also coached the 1977 Elk Lake  team to the PIAA title, in the renamed Class A, with a record 36-0.  Red Wallace died in July 1977, three and a half  months after Elk Lake won the 1977 championship.
(Credit: mrspeedreader@yahoo.com, Scranton Times-Tribune)
(Photo credit: University of Scranton Wall of Fame)
 

Don Weyel.  After many years of retirement Don Weyel has returned to coach the Conneaut Lake boys Varsity/JV program. Don is the only coach in PIAA history to have coached both a girls team and a boys team to state championships.  (Credit: Tom Holland).

Eddie White. Eddie White, a sports legend as a coach and promoter of semi-pro basketball in the Wyoming Valley area. An award is presented each year in his name, The Eddie White Pioneer Award. (Credit: Jill Hockenbury Citizens' Voice Sports Writer).

 

Wolf, Lloyd. In 33 seasons at Reading Holy Name, he has a record of 529 and 325 and still active and coaching. On February 8, 2000 when Lloyd won his 528th game, he became the all-time winning coach of Berks County surpassing the win total of 527 set by John Silan. (DarrylGrumlingsports@readingeagle.com).

Rich Yankowitz. On Tuesday January 7, 2003, he recorded his 456th win vs 244 losses. Coaching at Dobbins Tech in Philadelphia, he tied the Public League Record for wins. He tied Ken Hamilton of Ben Franklin who is retired. (Credit: Philadelphia Inquirer)


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