Your Thoughts on Catholic League Closings . . .
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At the end of 2009-10 school year, the Archdiocese
of Philadelphia closed North Catholic,
Dougherty and Kennedy-Kenrick. Now, West Catholic, Monsignor Bonner and Conwell-Egan
are slated to close at the end of the 2011-12 school year.
We welcome your sports-related thoughts, memories, etc., on these schools.
Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
That's very sad news to hear about NC &
Dougherty. I can't imagine Thanksgiving without FKD & NC and at my age no
substitute game would suffice. Oh well like they say all good things must come
to an end.
-- Al Ford
Really shocked to hear about CD & North........at one time two of the largest parochial schools in the country; CD had close to 6000 kids in the mid 60's. I played against CD in '57 when they only had jr's, no seniors. I played for LaSalle and knew many of the kids from CD.....Dave Fecak, Jack Shepper are a couple I remember. I guess Judge, Ryan, and maybe Roman will try to absorb the kids from these schools......I guess the $5100 tuition is the reason for the drastic drop in enrollment. Too bad; hate to see the history of the PCL suffer this loss.
-- Ed Birchler, La Salle HS 1959
I graduated from North in 1988. I always look forward to the North/Frankford game, especially it's inevitable description of being the "granddaddy of Thanksgiving rivalries". What would it take to have the game moved to the Linc this year? I know they played at the Vet once . . . It's sad news that North is closing, but filling the Linc would be a great way to say goodbye.
-- Kevin Hutt
i can not believe north and cd are closing. it was a sad day yesterday i have ties to both schools, for one im an nc grad played football there coached wrestling and football for several years now im an assistant coach at cd we are having a good season this year. now all of this, im hoping that the respective alumni bases from each come out of the word work and do something about this , im gonna keep hope that we can stop this from happening. if not we are losing two schools with rich tradition and great historys. thanksgiving will never be the same for me ive been invloved one way or another with the north frankford game for 15 years, i think if the school is closing they need to move the game maybe franklin field?
-- jim whitehead jr nc 1998
What a shocker! Both my sons went to north, sean 2004 and chris 2008. this years thanksgiving day game will end one of the cityís great traditions. we should try to find a place large enough to hold all who want to attend. Long live the falcon.
we are nc we are nc wa are nc
-- john james
As a wrestling fan above all the loss of the storied tradition at North really hurts; such great memories from the mat men in red! The school may close, but North's wrestling legacy will live forever. And their gym, of course ... Wood-North wrestling in the Pit was one of the PCL's great events in any sport. I liked going to Dougherty and going through a usually-busy cafeteria to get to the gym.
-- Brad Wilson
As a St. Martin of Tours grad the option well there was no option it was to go to North. I however, decided I wanted to go to Dougherty. Without a doubt one of the best decisions I ever made. Despite not winning much in football or baseball when I played there was a rich sense of tradition and pride at CD. We knew about the history and we respected it. I gained friends and created bonds with people from all neighborhoods and from all races. Today I went over to CD to see what was going on, much to my surprise there was a huge turnout for a Friday afternoon soccer game. It showed me once again the CD pride that sadly will come to an end in June. I urge everyone to enjoy these last couple months and take in as much as they can. Support CD and North and never let the traditions die. Once that happens then CD and North truly will die, donít let this happen! One of my fondest memories at CD and saddest was the night I received a phone call hearing one of my fellow football players died. I remember the sadness at first, but more fondly I remember the way the team rallied around each other. The team wasnít very good but we were a team and I will take that with me through all my days. I hope people start to understand over the next couple of days the rich traditions that will no longer be at these two fine schools We hail Cardinal Dougherty High!
-- Jon Swing '07
This is a very sad time with the announcement of the closings. Both of the schools have great sports traditions and have giving Philadelphia some outstanding young men and women. The alumni of both schools will always have the memories and I hope that no more schools will closed.
I want to thank everyone that played for Dougherty and North.
You didnít let your school down, the Cardinal and the Bishop did.
-- Dennis W. Hill
Secretary of the Markward Basketball Club
North Catholic- 1967
I am deeply saddened by the closing of North Catholic. I was taught by the same priests, The Oblates of Saint Francis de... Sales, although I went To Father Judge and the great rivalry we had with them and the many friends I had at North through sports . And also I must add the great education thousands of boys received at both schools Judge & North I can't believe this happening I will surely miss all the interaction I had with my friends at North Catholic Go Falcons. You will never be forgotten.
Yours In Sports
-- Bob Dillon, "Judge 1960"
p.s. -- It goes without saying I am also saddened with the closing of Dougherty. Through the years I have met some great people from there as well.
As a 2001 Dougherty graduate, I am honored to have been a part of the Catholic League and a Northern Division Championship in '00. Itís sad to see Dougherty (and North) closing! I hope there is still an opportunity for a miracle but realize there probably is not. I pray (literally) that Dougherty has a memorable season!
-- Mark Seidenburg
Asst. Men's Basketball Coach
It is very sad when two of the most famous schools in our world are closing. As a CD alum, I was devastated to hear that this announcement was made on my birthday. If they only lower the tuition, these two schools could remain open and gain more students. CD was still the largest school in the country in the '80s. As far as North, I am very saddened by their closing too. I can remember attending basketball games at "The Pit" and having a great time with the rivalry between the Cardinals and Falcons. "We are CD" will always live forever! My prayers and thoughts go out to all alum and current family of CD and North.
-- Dennis T.J. Wynder
Cardinal Dougherty High School
Class of 1981 (Silver Anniversary Graduating Class)
The news of the closing of North Catholic was sad to hear. It was a very special time in my life. What I learned and the guidance I received has and continues to be been a great influence on me. I can say the 4 years I spent were most memorable. Just recently we had our 40th reunion. Seeing guys you had not seen was great but most important sharing a bond with them was most important. To see the young men talk about the closing of their school says was moving. I believe you have to be a graduate to appreciate their sentiment. The building might go empty but the spirit will live on.
-- Bill Dugan, class of 1967
Very sad news about the closing of North and Cardinal Dougherty. I grew up in Levittown, PA and graduated from Bishop Egan, Class of 1973. I have a brother who graduated from LaSalle High in 1967 and another brother who graduated from Egan in 1969. My brother, Mark, played football for LaSalle and my brother, John, now deceased, played in the band for Egan. Being the youngest brother who idolized my older brothers, I remember going to all their games and competitions. Dougherty always had the best band and you knew it when they came into the stadium for a game or a competition. It was a great time to grow up and attend many games at Lincoln HS when we played North and to Cottman and Algon when we played Dougherty. I'll always remember the great games and the great crowds that attended high school football back in the 60's and early 70's. However by the time I graduated you could start to tell the glory days were starting to fade.
Though Egan generally beat both schools in football, basketball was another matter! I don't think we ever won a game against either of them! They had such great talent. But for a kid growing up in the suburbs, going into the city for regular season games or to see games at Franklin Field and the Palestra was the greatest thrill for me. It's something my friends from public school at Pennsbury or Neshaminy just couldn't understand.
During football season while I was in grade school at Immaculate Conception, I could not wait until Sundays at 2:00 p.m. I was a hyper kid and sitting still during Mass on game day was not easy! The whole family would decorate the car in either blue and gold for LaSalle or blue and gray for Egan and we'd drive down 95 or the Roosevelt Boulevard to the games. I even had relatives come down from North Jersey, they loved going to the games with my family.
When I finally reached high school I got to take one of the buses the school would rent and a dozen or more of them, packed with cheering teens, would make their way to the game. When North and Dougherty came to Levittown, the SEPTA buses would line up for what seemed a mile.
Then, in the winter, it was Fridays and Sundays for basketball. I had the best time and will always cherish the memories of watching great athletes compete for their school in front of hundreds of cheering fans. And the streamers thrown after the first basket was a great North tradition!
I feel sad for the alumni of both great schools. I suspect it won't be long before my alma mater and others will meet the same fate. Times change but we can all hold on to the good memories and friends we made and fondly remember a simpler time when school spirit mattered. And that spirit was never shown better than by the schools in the Philadelphia Catholic League.
-- Joe N
As a North grad, I was very sorry to hear of McFadden and Rigali decision to close both of the schools. Both schools are rich in tradition and have deep roots throughout the Philadelphia region. I would hope that the respective alumni pressure the archdiocese to reconsider or at least allow the two communities to come up with alternatives.
Both schools can take great pride in the sports heritage, this will be a great loss to the Phila. Catholic League. I have so many memories of Cardinal Dougherty, their unbelievable band, great sports program. (stopped NC soccer streak at 118). The first soccer game I attended as a youngster was the PCL championship, North vs. Dougherty which was decided on corner kicks. Just a real good school that served its' community well.
These schools still provide a safe haven for kids to learn and grow. Where will these 1,200 kids go. They deserve to be preserved. I would also issue this warning to the rest of our Catholic High Schools, that if this stands your school could well be next. If these closings are inevitable, I can only say " Well done good and faithful servants"
Tenui nec demittam
Bob Reardon NC-65
I graduated from North Catholic in 2003. Iím pretty sure it is safe to call me a stereotypical Philly guy, going on to graduate from Temple in 2007. Since that time, I have moved to Chicago and have made several dear friends in another great city. The ironic part about my story is all of these friends I have made have said to me at least once, :you talk about your high school a lot, sounds like a great place". When I hear this comment my response, is always better than great. North is just one of those places in which I always feel at home no matter how long it has been since Iíve graduated. I come home to visit friends and family often, however I donít feel it was a productive trip "home" unless I stop in and see remaining faculty that has shaped me into the man Iím today. If there is no time to stop in, I at least drive past (a couple times for that matter) because of the incredible memories I have at North. I would like to apologize to current students, faculty, and administration who will be looking elsewhere next year. It was however a great ride and I hope you all feel comfortable being apart of the NC family forever!
WE ARE NC!
-- John Paffen
I am a 1991 graduate of CD and it is very sad to hear that our school will be closing at the end of the school year. I made so many friends during my four years at Dougherty. I played football throughout my years at CD, we were never the best of our league but we were very competitive each week. One thing that our football teams had was CD PRIDE. I was the first quarterback of a new era (Coach Dominic Damico) and our first win was against his Alma Mater North Catholic. I was also a football coach at Dougherty (2004) and at North Catholic (2007). Its sad to hear that both programs will be gone after all the years.
-- Derrick Norris
From my playing days @ Wood and since I have moved on to coaching CYO and helping out @ Wood, Coach Heirmerdinger was always a coach I admired. I knew his team was going to be prepared and always play hard. I also knew that he was going to make the adjustments needed in order to put his players in a situation to succeed. The thing I admired most was how he cared for his players and served as a father figure and role model to many of them. I know several people who have played for him who truly love him as a person and coach He gave them self confidence and a sense of accomplishment and pride. Aside from the entertaining interactions with the officials, Coach H will be truly missed in the Catholic Lg. In my opinion I thought Mark and Bernie Rogers were the two best coaches I played against and saw Coach while I played in high school. If there was one guy I could Coach under (aside from at Wood) in the area it would be Mark. If there was one I could have played for (except Wood) it would without a doubt would have been him. I wish you the best of luck @ Fels. I knew with CD closing you would probably look to stay in coaching, Best of luck Coach.
-- Blair Klumpp
I graduated from Dougherty in 1974. I remember in the early 70's we had a lot of great soccer games against North Catholic but the most memorable game I remember attending was a basketball game at the Palestra. I can't remember if I was a junior or senior but that year North Catholic went undefeated in the Catholic League Northern Division. I believe Dougherty made it to the playoffs as a fourth seed with North being the top seed. The signs around the school were "16 and Oh (0) and down they go! The game was close but we beat them in the last few seconds of the game! I remember moving down closer to the floor as the game was ending. After the last shot was made I sorta slipped down a few stairs and landed in a pile on a few of my friends laughing hysterically all the way. Great stuff. Thanks.
-- Bob Farnan
on saturday we played carroll it was our homecoming game, while this probably was not a marquee matchup, and carroll beat us 28-6 . the reason i'm writing to you is the class that the whole carroll football program showed after the game. as you know with the recent events this was our last home game (homecoming ever).. carroll's head coach dan bielli asked our head coach jim grugan if he and his players could stand with us while the team and fans sang the alma mater. that to me is the ultimate sign of respect for our kids, program and school . I wish there was more of this that went around in sports. thanks again
-- jim whitehead jr., assistant coach at dougherty
There is so much to remember about Dougherty. The crowded hallways, the enormous bathroom in the cafeteria, the great soccer teams of the 1970s and the fact that many of us can say with pride that we once attended the largest Catholic high school in the world.
What I will remember, though, are the 27 Dougherty grads who lost their lives in Vietnam. Only Edison (54) lost more than Dougherty. Judge also lost 27 in that awful war. The only Medal of Honor recipient from Philadelphia, Cpl. Michael Joseph Crescenz is a Dougherty grad (Class of 1966). Then, of course, there is Officer Chuck Cassidy, another Dougherty grad who laid down his life defending the City of Philadelphia. That's what I'll remember most about Dougherty. How most of us started out as goofy kids and turned into pretty good citizens. That's what CD Pride is all about.
-- Terry Toohey
Cardinal Dougherty Class of 1975
Iím writing in response to an article you did on Doughertyís closing. It is very sad that this school where I learned soo much about being a man (coach George Stratts) and a teammate (Rodney Walker) is now closing. However what I remember the most are the people that spent time in the building and on the ball fields. Itís the relationships with coaches, teachers, teammates and administrators that made my experiences at Dougherty so fruitful. CD was the place that provided the springboard for the upcoming phases of my life; the values and discipline that would serve me at other levels of education and sport.
Itís those people, many of whom I still keep in contact with, that I treasure the most! Those people are still leaving an indelible mark on me today. My hope is that there will continue to be those kinds of relationships kindled in some other hallway, hash mark or classroom that another young person will be catapulted into the next season of his life ready to leave that same mark on the heart of someone else. The place it happens is inconsequential as long as it continues to happenÖ CD will continue to impact young lives like mine!
-- Harry Swayne
(Ted's note: Harry, an '83 Dougherty grad, enjoyed a long and wonderful career as an NFL lineman and is now the Ravens' assistant director of player programs.)