A Story About a Legend . . .
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Below is a story sent via e-mail by Kevin
Szczyrbak, a football player at Bishop Egan
(class of 1989). It speaks to the legend that is statman Mike Tos, a walking encyclopedia
for Egan/C-E football.
I played football for Coach Chuck Knowles on the
last playoff team for
Egan before their recent success.
We lost to Frank Wycheck's Ryan team in the Northern Division Finals, as
I am sure you remember, 21-14. Anyway we were a very inconsistent team
and would either play up or down depending on the level of our competition.
We needed to beat Kenrick late in the season to secure a playoff berth, which
we did on a miracle blocked punt and runback with under a minute to go in
I was the fortunate lineman who returned the blocked kick all of four yards
for the win.
I went on to play football at the University of Wisconsin-Superior in Superior,
WI, the next fall. I came home a few times over the next three years and saw
Coach Knowles and the rest of the coaching staff, including Coach Tos, when
I could. My parents then moved to Newport News, VA, and there was no time
to come back to the Philadelphia area when I would visit back East. I settled in
Moose Lake, MN, and am happily married with four children.
Anyway, I recently had reason to come back to Philly and see old friends. I
wanted to check up on Egan and made a visit to the school. I met with
the new head coach, Kevin Kelly, and was very impressed with him and his
program. He directed me over to Coach Tos. This is a man I have not
seen nor spoken to in over 10 years. As I walked over to him I began to
introduce myself in the following manner, "Coach, I am not sure if you
remember me . . . "
As I got the word "me" out, he cut me off and proceeded to
tell me, "Of course I remember you. You're Kevin Szczyrbak. You picked
up the blocked punt up in Norristown against Kenrick and returned it four
yards on October ?, 1988 after Scott Brandt blocked it. Your best friend,
John Kiernan, also scored on a botched punt that game when their kicker
kicked it into personal protector's backside and you leveled the punter
so John could make an easy catch of the botched punt in the end zone."
I was speechless for a moment. I put in the question mark for the date
in October but he DID tell me the exact date of the game.
If you know Coach Tos at all, this is a classic Coach Tos story. We spent
a few more moments catching up and then I went on my way.