Philadelphia High School Basketball
A Look at Bill Fox's 29-Year Coaching Career at
Father Judge High (1975-85, 1987-99, 2001-05)
This page includes stories, special lists, record breakdown, recaps of wins in championship games and (at the bottom) the
names of all varsity players during Coach Fox's 29 seasons. . . . To provide additions/corrections:firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Coach Fox's All-Stars
1975-85, 1987-1999, 2001-05
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Bill Fox |
Bill Fox coached basketball at Father Judge for 29 seasons (1975-85, 1987-99, 2001-05), winning 545 games and three Catholic League championships. The first two crowns (1975 and 1977) were won within his first three seasons. In 1998, the Crusaders again claimed the title with a 62-48 win over O'Hara, thanks mostly to a star player, Jim Reeves, who'd been forced to miss league play in 1997. Here is that story . . .
By Ted Silary
First came the euphoria. Then came the amnesia.
League / Overall
1975: 11-5 / 20-10
1976: 10-6 / 13-15
1977: 11-5 / 18-16
1978: 16-0 / 29-4
1979: 15-1 / 26-9
1980: 10-6 / 16-12
1981: 14-2 / 27-7
1982: 13-3 / 23-10
1983: 15-1 / 27-5
1984: 12-4 / 14-12
1985: 13-3 / 18-9
1986: did not coach
1987: 6-10 / 11-4
1988: 11-5 / 16-11
1989: 11-5 / 20-8
1990: 9-7 / 17-9
1991: 11-5 / 16-9
1992: 12-4 / 21-6
1993: 12-4 / 19-8
1994: 12-2 / 24-5
1995: 12-2 / 18-9
1996: 8-6 / 14-10
1997: 9-5 / 15-11
1998: 12-2 / 21-6
1999: 12-2 / 21-6
2000: did not coach
2001: 13-1 / 21-5
2002: 10-4 / 16-10
2003: 8-6 / 15-11
2004: 5-9 / 12-13
2005: 8-6 / 17-10
1975-85, 1987-99, 2001-05
League - 321-121
Overall - 545-269
Appearances Ended in . . .
1976, 1984, 1989, 1991,
1996, 2001, 2002, 2005
1979, 1980, 1981, 1985,
1988, 1990, 1992, 1993,
1994, 1995, 1997, 1999
1975, 1977, 1978,
1982, 1983, 1998
"Allen Iverson,'' Reeves said,
smiling, when asked to reveal what thought he had when he wound up playing
point guard in
clear-out situations. "I had to beat my defender and get a score or get to the line, or kick it out to [wing shooter] Kris Dufner or
It was quite a sight - Reeves being covered by Sazonov 40 feet from the basket or 6-7 forward Brendan Ferns being covered
by 6-7 Jeff Randazzo just as far out.
"That was fun,'' said Ferns, who had nine points and seven rebounds. "Big men always like to be point guards. Coach Fox
said at the beginning of the season he had confidence in how our big men handled the ball, and he'd have no problem using this
"Eventually, we knew the referees would have to call fouls. We knew we could get to O'Hara's big guys. Shot-blockers don'
like it when you jump into their chest."
Said Fox: "We felt we had an advantage with Jimmy and Brendan being able to 'take' their bigger guys. It was the kind of
situation where whoever was ahead was going to be able to dictate the tempo. That wound up being us. With a [decent] lead
for most of the second half, we tried to ride a good thing.''
Judge took just two shots from the floor in the fourth quarter. Reeves made both and the second provided a 45-36 lead with
4 minutes, 36 seconds remaining.
The Crusaders mostly shot free throws thereafter (they were 24-for-33 total; Josh Rorer was 8-for-8) and O'Hara became
more and more deflated. The bad vibrations crested with a half-minute left when Randazzo and Sazonov missed dunks on the
For Fox, the championship ended a long personal drought. The 'Saders won it all two times in his first three seasons (1975
and '77), but lost finals in '78, '82 and '83 and were unable to make it back until this season.
"Some people thought I had an early degree of [memory loss],'' Fox kidded.
"You can look at it a few ways,'' he continued. ``Not sticking up for me, but we were in the playoffs every year but one
['87] and some of the games we lost by two or three points. What happened to us a few times was what happened to O'Hara
today; you just don't hit your shots. Sometimes I thought we had a legitimate chance to go further, but . . . I was always proud
of our effort."
Fox's son, Brian, a junior, is a substitute guard on this year's team (Brendan, a starting guard, graduated last year). Brian's
contributions yesterday included four points and three assists.
Subject to annual late-summer reviews with his wife, Maryellen, Fox decided pretty much at the beginning of this decade he
wanted to coach Judge through Brian's senior season.
Thereafter . . .
"I don't know,'' he said. "Bridget is a freshman at Archbishop Ryan and Maura's 7 years old. "Someday, I might be an
assistant coach for a girls' team.''
This story was written after Bill Fox won the CL title in his first season, 1975
This story was written in February 2002, when Bill won his 500th game . . .
By Ted Silary
Bill Fox is not the only member of his family who knows how to work hard in gymnasiums.
Take Maura, age 11.
At the invitation of folks from Archbishop Wood High, who'd heard her earlier this season, Maura yesterday ignored an
upper respiratory infection and belted out a wonderful rendition of the national anthem before a Catholic North basketball game.
Then, with 16 seconds remaining, she turned to her mother, Maryellen, and asked, "Is it safe?"
It was safe.
Out came a computer-generated sign. As the final horn sounded, with Maura and two cousins doing the honors, it was held
up for all in the full house to see.
Congrats - Coach Fox - 500 wins.
Yes, indeed. For the second consecutive weekend, the city's 500 Club welcomed a new member.
Bud Gardler made it Feb. 8 as Cardinal O'Hara downed Roman Catholic, 57-44. Fox made it yesterday as Father Judge
(15-9) wilted Wood, 67-56, behind 23 points from senior guard Ryan Haigh.
Fox, 50, is in his 26th year as a scholastic coach, all at Judge. He steered the Crusaders to a title in his first season, 1974-75,
then added two more in '77 and '98. He missed the '86 season on medical leave and '00 on sabbatical.
The 500 Club is not exactly looking for larger quarters. The only other member is the man who coached Fox at La Salle High,
Charles "Obie" O'Brien.
O'Brien netted 541 wins in 34 years at La Salle (1935-41, 1944-70). Gardler is 500-327 in 33 years (1969-75 at the old
Bishop Kenrick, 1977-present at Cardinal O'Hara). Fox is 500-234.
"I know it means a lot to him to join Obie, his coach, and Bud, his best friend in coaching," said junior varsity coach Bill Koch.
Fox, Koch (485 wins) and two more assistants, Charlie Liddell and Rich Miller, have coached for 85 combined years at Judge.
Fox made sure to thank them in his postgame remarks to the team, while also praising all the players, coaches, managers,
parents, grade-school coaches and family members who have contributed/supported through the years.
(As many as 60 of those special people were in attendance. About 35 attended a postgame party. )
Joe Fox, his brother, said Bill was uncomfortable as the milestone approached.
"He kept directing the talk to everything else," Joe said. "That's how he is, humble. He just wanted to talk about how happy he
was that this team was coming along nicely.
"But this is big. For him. For us. His coaching, and how he always puts the kids first, has been a great source of family pride
for 26 years. "
Maryellen said she knew Bill was tight when he told her they'd leave for Wood at a certain time, then became slightly agitated
when she wasn't ready 15 minutes earlier.
"I'm having a good time teasing him about that," she said.
She laughed. "But don't make a big deal out of it. Marriage counselors will be calling the house."
Maryellen talked about the '75 season, how Judge started 0-4 in league play.
"I told him maybe we should push back the wedding, that maybe he was under too much pressure," she said. "He said, 'No
way,' then they started turning things around [en route to the title]."
Bill said he knew he wanted to coach as a junior at then-La Salle College, when he was riding the bench for Paul Westhead.
In the '74 season, he was an assistant at American University under Jim Lynam and with Don DiJulia.
"I always tell people I got my bachelor's in coaching from Paul and my master's from Jimmy and Don," Fox said. "I was still
very young when I got the Judge job. When I came into the office to get my first teaching roster, it was pretty crowded. I went
up to the secretary and she said, 'Get in line behind those other 15 kids.' "
Fox loves teaching the game and, Koch said, makes the same points again and again in practice in search of perfection.
"I get a charge out of seeing the game played the right way," Fox acknowledged. "Coaching's like being a bandleader - trying
to get them all to hit the right notes.
"This area is known for having great high school basketball coaches. I'm glad to be a part of it. To have a job you like,
you're good at and get paid, too - what could be better?"
The six years he spent teaching and coaching his sons, Brendan and Brian, were the best of his career, Fox said. He also
enjoyed watching his daughter, Bridget, a freshman walk-on at La Salle, become the family's third All-Catholic honoree for
Without the support of his wife, Koch and Charlie Huckel, a sidekick in his former moonlighting job as a recreation worker
(he often switched his own schedule to accommodate Fox), he never would have been able to coach so long.
How much longer might that be?
"I'll sit down with my wife in August or September to evaluate, like always," he said. "I do know this: I don't enjoy the wins
as much and the losses hurt twice as bad. But as long as I still feel I'm making a difference, and Judge's program is still held in
high regard, and I'm not taking too much time away from my family . . . "
This story was written in September 2006, when Bill retired . . .
By Ted Silary
There was a hint of cracking in Bill Fox' voice as he answered his cell phone.
"I'm a little emotional," he said. "I'm literally walking out the door. I just said goodbye to some people who've been great to
me all these years."
Fox, the winningest basketball coach in Catholic League history (for now), yesterday afternoon made a not-easy visit to Father
Judge High and officially ended his lengthy career.
And a wonderful stint it was. In 29 seasons over 32 winters, he produced three Catholic League championships, in 1975, '77
and '98, and an overall record of 545-269, and just three times did his squads fail to claim a playoff berth.
Last winter, for the third time (also '86 and '00), he missed the season while taking a health-related sabbatical. His interim
replacement, Frank Cahill, steered the Crusaders to a 16-10 mark and a visit to the CL playoffs. It's expected the job will be
reopened and Judge will search for a new coach.
Fox said he's retiring because he continues to suffer severe pain from a herniated disc in his neck.
"My neck made my mind up for me," he noted. "Physical therapy. Six epidural shots in 2 years. It's been an ongoing thing
and it's not getting better.
"I'd see people over the summer and tell them how I was feeling and they'd say, 'Hey, coaching's not easy even when you're
Fox claimed the CL record for most wins on Feb. 14, '05, when a 50-47 triumph over visiting Conwell-Egan made him
542-268. His own coach at La Salle High, Charles "Obie" O'Brien, had gone 541-248 in a 34-season career (1935-41,
1944-70). Fox is a '69 La Salle grad.
"Obie's family was very gracious," Fox said. "It meant a lot when they said they were glad that I'd been the one to do it."
As Fox well knows, his mark could be gone by Christmas.
A coach he considers a dear friend, Bud Gardler, is about to enter his 31st season at Cardinal O'Hara, and his 38th total in
the CL (also Bishop Kenrick, 1969-75). His overall record is 542-383.
"Buddy has devoted his entire professional career to teaching and coaching. I admire him greatly," Fox said. "Any rewards
he gets, he richly deserves."
Next came some playful jabs.
"I always tease him how he'll do anything to win. He even used a box-and-one on his son [Chris, a guard for the old St.
James]. All these years and he'll be there for more. They'll have to roll him out in a wheelchair."
Fox was appointed Judge's coach at age 23, 1 year after he'd graduated from then-La Salle College. He said he looked
around the room at his first CL meeting at coaches such as Speedy Morris, Billy McFadden, George Paull, Eddie Burke and
Joe McFadden (now Bishop McFadden, of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia) and wondered, "What have I gotten myself
He wasn't overmatched: Two of his first three teams won titles.
"I was very honored to coach Father Judge all these years," Fox said. "So many great players, coaches, managers. We had
a great run. I thank everybody. And mostly I have to thank my wife [Maryellen] and four children [Brendan, Brian, Bridget,
Maura] for their love and support. It's very difficult being a coach's wife.
"I really struggled watching last year's team, with five seniors who'd played for me. I would have enjoyed coaching this
year's group, too. This isn't a good time to leave because our last three freshman teams went 40-2 in division play.
"I have to go, though. I can't do it anymore. My health won't let me."
Recaps of victories in
Catholic League championship games . . .
At the Palestra
Judge 48, Roman 46
Jim "Mo" Connolly shot 7-for-9 for 16 points and Al Clancy added 12 as the Crusaders, a 20-year CL member, won their first title after numerous bouts with frustration. After Ira Brown hit a 15-footer with 0:26 left to pull Roman within 46-44, Judge scored the clincher as Tom Kneib hit Clancy with a long-distance pass and Clancy fed Dennis Taylor for an easy layup. Mike Morrow (19) and Zane Major (14) led Roman.
At the Palestra
Judge 56, Carroll 53
Frank Ciurlino shot 10-for-14 and 4-for-5 for a season-high 24 points and notched the Crusaders' final six points on two baskets and two clinching free throws with 0:09 left. Bob Convey added 12 points and four assists and Tom "Mo" Greenfield had 10 points. Kevin "Butch" Lynam (16) and Greg Webster (15) paced Carroll.
At the Palestra
Judge 62, O'Hara 48
Jim Reeves hustled for 21 points and 10 rebounds while Josh Rorer (11) and Brendan Ferns (nine) split 14 boards as the Crusaders won their first title since 1977 and avenged a jolting loss to O'Hara in the 1968 championship game. In that one, O'Hara scored 13 consecutive points in the final 2:18 of regulation to force overtime. The final was 53-52. The Lions' Louis Becht hit five threes for 15 points and Alex Sazonov notched seven blocks.
Below are the players who helped
Bill Fox claim 545 wins and three Catholic League championships
in 29 seasons as the coach at Father Judge. The year indicates the player's final season. Most were seniors.
Some transferred and some were underclassmen who did not play in the following season.
**NOTE: Bill did not coach the Crusaders in the 1986 and 2000 seasons.**
|Al Clancy||1975||Dan Tyrrell||1985||Bill Albright||1995|
|Bob Bleiler||1975||Dave Waskiewicz||1985||Bob Yogis||1995|
|Charlie Rice||1975||Ed Tamasitis||1985||Greg Yodis||1995|
|Dennis Taylor||1975||Ernie Gallagher||1985||Hugh McDermott||1995|
|Joe Quinn||1975||Jerry Langton||1985||Jim Thomas||1995|
|Lee Maminski||1975||Joe Garlick||1985||Mike McDonnell||1995|
|Tom Kneib||1975||John Haggerty||1985||Mike O'Connell||1995|
|Al Ricci||1976||Larry Lowry||1985||Sean Tait||1995|
|Frank Sullivan||1976||Mike Cummiskey||1985||Dan Vile||1996|
|Jim "Mo" Connolly||1976||Mike Zacierka||1985||J.R. Gura||1996|
|Joe Arcidiacono||1976||Paul Winters||1985||Jason Halloran||1996|
|John McCarthy||1976||Rob Mulville||1985||John McCann||1996|
|Len Tarnowski||1976||Steve Topley||1985||Kevin Mitchell||1996|
|Mike Mullane||1976||Jim Brooke||1987||Mark Hogan||1996|
|Reustle||1976||Jim McShea||1987||Paul Gimbel||1996|
|Walt Kosiek||1976||Joe Cawley||1987||Rich Lydon||1996|
|Bob Convey||1977||John Markus||1987||Brendan Fox||1997|
|Frank Ciurlino||1977||McMonagle||1987||Chris Klos||1997|
|Jim "Eggs" McCaffrey||1977||Paul Vizza||1987||D.J. Jones||1997|
|Joe Kelly||1977||Tom Coyle||1987||Jim Lannigan||1997|
|Mike McCarrie||1977||Tom McKeever||1987||Tim Ryan||1997|
|Tom "Mo" Greenfield||1977||Charlie Walker||1988||Brendan Ferns||1998|
|Chris Ciabattone||1978||Chris Fagan||1988||Jim Reeves||1998|
|Ed Costello||1978||Ed McGettigan||1988||John Doyle||1998|
|Fran Gavaghan||1978||Ed Murphy||1988||Josh Rorer||1998|
|Joe Houlihan||1978||Frank Cervellero||1988||Kris Dufner||1998|
|Joe O'Connell||1978||Jerry Kelly||1988||Matt McKeever||1998|
|John McKeown||1978||Joe Morgan||1988||Brian Bond||1999|
|Tom Boyle||1978||Mike Alexander||1988||Brian Fox||1999|
|Bob Gallagher||1979||Mike McCusker||1988||Brian Kearney||1999|
|Chris Farrell||1979||Bill Cummiskey||1989||Chris Roantree||1999|
|Greg Dougherty||1979||Chris Razler||1989||Dennis Hiller||1999|
|Greg Sante||1979||Glenn Senior||1989||Jason Trespalacios||1999|
|Joe Petrone||1979||Kevin Budney||1989||Jim Catanzaro||1999|
|Kevin O'Donnell||1979||Mike Curran||1989||Joe Maguire||1999|
|Mike McCloskey||1979||Tom Garlick||1989||Kevin Hanlon||1999|
|Mike McIntyre||1979||Bill Gillen||1990||Kevin Huckel||1999|
|Rick Marshall||1979||Dave Wabs||1990||Mike Pidhirsky||1999|
|Steve Slusarczyk||1979||Dennis McGurk||1990||Steve Pidhirsky||1999|
|Art Comas||1980||Jim O'Connor||1990||Brian Mooney||2001|
|Fran Walker||1980||Matt Alexander||1990||Colin Kilkenny||2001|
|George Dick||1980||Mike Conroy||1990||John Horcher||2001|
|Ken Tamasitis||1980||Tom Joyce||1990||Kevin Wolf||2001|
|Mike Gallagher||1980||Bill Kinney||1991||Mark Dickson||2001|
|Mike O'Donnell||1980||Brian Gallagher||1991||Matt Costello||2001|
|Frank Godshall||1981||Brian Trudel||1991||Mike Massimiani||2001|
|Jerry Mayza||1981||Dan Oldfield||1991||Mike McCauley||2001|
|John Luciano||1981||Jim Bowers||1991||Pat Burnett||2001|
|Mark Singer||1981||Mike Sykes||1991||Pat Hampton||2001|
|Mike Tobin||1981||Paul Coyle||1991||Rich Schmidt||2001|
|Paul Kubler||1981||Tim Issel||1991||Brendan Schmidt||2002|
|Steve Purcell||1981||Andy Oleykowski||1992||Dan Welch||2002|
|Tom Salley||1981||Brian McCarry||1992||Joe Lorenti||2002|
|Bernie DiBello||1982||Charlie Huckel||1992||Kevin Pierce||2002|
|Bob Szymkowiak||1982||Chris Black||1992||Ryan Haigh||2002|
|Craig Canning||1982||Chris Cervellero||1992||Bill Geiger||2003|
|Gary Gola||1982||Jerry Arena||1992||Brian Horcher||2003|
|Keith Ditsche||1982||John McGovern||1992||Jim Glowienka||2003|
|Paul McIntyre||1982||Mike O'Toole||1992||Joe Elsesser||2003|
|Paul Petrone||1982||Chuck Dougherty||1993||Russ Magyar||2003|
|Tom "Doc" Conroy||1982||Chuck Hiller||1993||Ryan Carrelli||2003|
|Tom Feeney||1982||Danny Oldfield||1993||Steve Sellers||2003|
|Bob Heck||1983||Jason Logue||1993||Tim Wacker||2003|
|Brian Reidy||1983||Joe Shenko||1993||Tom Keenan||2003|
|Dan Ingersoll||1983||Kevin Hawley||1993||Joe Sanford||2004|
|Dave Rooney||1983||Phil Clarke||1993||John Geiger||2004|
|Don Rauchut||1983||Rick Camillo||1993||John King||2004|
|John Boyle||1983||Anthony Stearn||1994||Steve Altobelli||2004|
|John Ginley||1983||Chris Berry||1994||Steve Wolf||2004|
|Rich McCloskey||1983||Chris Perks||1994||Arthur Livingston||2005|
|Tom Jusczak||1983||Ed Brun||1994||Chris Schwartz||2005|
|Dave Reynolds||1984||Frank Sykes||1994||Damien Palantino||2005|
|Mark Makaila||1984||Marc Rowe||1994||James Franklin||2005|
|McLaughlin||1984||Matt Henrich||1994||Jim Schule||2005|
|Mike Petrone||1984||Stavros Athanasiadis||1994||Justin DeCristofaro||2005|
|Paul Gallagher||1984||Kevin Lynch||2005|
|Vince Menello||1984||Matt Smyth||2005|