Philadelphia High School
A Look at Paul Poiesz' 25-Year Coaching Career
At Bishop McDevitt High in Wyncote, PA (1981-2005)
This page includes stories, team scores/places in championship meets, key performers for championship teams
and yearly winners in championship meets during Coach Poiesz' 25 seasons.
To provide additions/corrections:firstname.lastname@example.org. . . Thanks!
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Paul Poiesz |
Paul Poiesz, an alumnus, coached track at Bishop McDevitt for 25 seasons, winning 14 Catholic League championships (two shared, 12 outright). After shareds in 1982 and 1985, he won his first outright crown in 1986, thanks in large part to football stars Tom Taylor and Mark Dianno. Here is that story . . .
By Tom Mahon
Bishop McDevitt quarterback Tom Taylor threw exceptionally well, and
wingback Mark Dianno never ran better. And when it was over, the Lancers had
scored 113 points without scoring a touchdown or kicking a field goal.
Dr. Cionci took all the people
in skill positions, the punt returners, quarterbacks and receivers, and he
took us through a
course in about an hour and taught us how to do it ourselves. Tom (Taylor) took it, too, and I think it helped him as well.
One game he threw five touchdown passes and broke the school record.
"I use it everytime I compete. It helps me slow down my breathing and block out the crowd noises. It's a heck of an
advantage knowing that you can come in and be able to block everything out and concentrate on what you have to do. I just
think it's a great gift."
Paul Poiesz, McDevitt's head track coach, doesn't promote self-hypnosis on the team, but he doesn't knock it, either.
"I didn't see where it would hurt," Poiesz said. "It certainly didn't hurt them in football. Half the battle is the mental aspect,
and for those two guys (Taylor and Dianno), it did the trick."
NOTES: Steve Morris, who won the shot put (51-8) and Eric Young, who ran the third leg on the winning 4 x 100 relay,
also played for McDevitt's football team . . . La Salle's Ron Bean won the 400 in 49.7 seconds and teammate Seamus
McElligott placed first in the mile (4:25.5) and 3,200 meters (9:41.2). The Explorers also won the 4 x400 relay (3:24.6) . . .
Jim Donnelly, of Archbishop Ryan, won the pole vault (13-6). Charles Clark, of St. John Neumann, won the 100-meter
dash in 11.01 . . . Monsignor Bonner's Chris Saddler won the 800 (1:56.6) . . . The triple jump was won by Father Judge's
Steve Hettel (46-6 3/4), and the Crusaders' Jim Hanlon was first in the high jump (6-foot) . . . Cardinal's Dougherty's Mark
Rusas took the discus with a throw of 143-5.
This story was written in 1992 after
Paul steered the Lancers to their eighth straight
championship and a record amount of points . . .
By Ted Silary
The Penn Relays T-shirt worn yesterday between events by Bishop McDevitt's Terence Wiggins was proof positive that
the devastation had faded.
Not so for people's memories.
At the trials for the Catholic League track championships last Wednesday, a 5-year-old boy walked up to Wiggins and
blurted, "I saw you on TV. You celebrated too early."
Then yesterday at La Salle University, after McDevitt had stormed to a record 182 points en route to its eighth consecutive
outdoor title, its ninth in coach Paul Poiesz's 12 years (seven outrights, "shareds" in 1982 and '85) and the 13th in school
history, a reporter approached Wiggins and said, ''Let's talk Penn Relays. "
Wiggins smiled, then noted, "I figured that was coming."
On April 25, in front of 38,508 spectators at Franklin Field and Channel 17's cameras, Wiggins was the guy who indeed
celebrated too early in the 4 x 400-meter Philadelphia-area championship relay. He slowed and raised his arms in triumph
as he neared the finish line and was nipped by Coatesville's anchor.
"I haven't seen many kids cry in my 12 years," Poiesz said.
Said Wiggins, good-naturedly: "I wasn't going to bring that up. That's going to blemish my (hard guy) reputation."
In football, Wiggins made the Daily News first-team All-City, then signed with Boston College to play strong safety. In
basketball, he started at forward and averaged 11.6 points. Yesterday, he won the 400 in 49.07 seconds, took second in
the 200 in 22.21, took third in the 100 in 11.13 and finished the meet by anchoring the Lancers' record-setting effort -
3:19.15; the first three runners were junior Dan Smith, Carl Norris and junior Calvin Smith - in the 4 x 400 relay.
Archbishop Ryan finished second by almost 5 1/2 seconds behind the winners, so there were no Penn Relays flashbacks.
"I took (the Penn Relays loss) pretty hard," Wiggins said. "I cost us the race. I let the other guys down.
"My parents taped it for me. When I got home, my mother chewed me out. When I went out that night, it seemed like
everybody had seen it. I'm friends with mostly everybody at school, so nobody gave me a hard time. They joked about it,
but nobody said anything out of spite. I've seen the tape a few times. As I watch it, I keep wondering, 'What was I doing?
What was I thinking?' "
Said Poiesz: "A kid's response is going to be dictated by how he's treated by his coach and teammates. Everybody treated
Terence well and he handled it well. I'm still kind of hissed about the TV coverage. I thought they were much too harsh,
with Terence being a high school kid. He's not getting paid. He's not on scholarship."
Wiggins had plenty of help as McDevitt smashed its own record for points (142 in '88 and '91; the present scoring system
has been in place since '81). Teammate Jamal Love won the 110 high hurdles (14.89) and long jump (22-10 1/2) and was
second in the 100 (11.08). Bill Ring, who will be one of the area's top quarterback recruits next fall, was second in the
javelin (172-1) and high hurdles (14.97) and third in the discus (127-4). Norris, who is bound for Lock Haven to play
wide receiver, was second in the long jump (21-11 1/4) and triple jump (44-5). Dan Smith ran second in the 400 (49.22)
and came back 15 minutes later to place in the 400 intermediate hurdles.
McDevitt was so dominant throughout, Poiesz opted to not practice what he always preaches after his team placed
second through fifth in the 100.
Although there were eight events remaining, he crowed to no one in particular, "That oughta do it. "
AROUND THE TRACK
Archbishop Carroll's Chris Day swept the 100 in 10.97 and the 200 in a record 21.76 . . . Bonner junior Brendan Benner
4:16.94 in mile, 9:38.2 in 3,200) and La Salle sophomore Paul Maida (50-3 1/2 in shot put, 133-9 in discus) also were
double winners in addition to Jamal Love . . . With 82, St. James was second by 99 points . . . St. James's Bob Paden
won the 400 intermediate hurdles in a record 54.94 . . . McDevitt's first four titles were in '67, '68, '70 and '79.
This story was written in 2000 after Paul claimed his 14th championship . . .
By Ted Silary
If he had stayed with it long enough, Matt Moyer might have appeared on a sports bloopers tape. Or in an emergency room.
Some guys are naturals at the pole vault. Moyer, of Bishop McDevitt High, was a higher health insurance premium waiting
"I probably landed on the ground more than I did on the mat," he said, smiling. "I could tell you some great stories.
Shooting myself into the standards. Falling off to the side.
"One day in practice, I was going down the runway and my pole just snapped. I fell into the box. . .Nah, I didn't get hurt.
It was kind of fun, actually."
Nevertheless, it was almost on that very day, in 1998, that Moyer waved bye-bye to the pole vault and decided to try the
In September, he will start classes at the University of Michigan.
Not bad, eh? Struggle at one endeavor. Switch to another. Become proficient. Earn a scholarship to a prestigious university.
What a country.
Yesterday, in mist and drizzle at Widener University, Moyer gave a strong, two-pronged performance as McDevitt compiled
97 points to storm to its 12th Catholic League championship (one shared) in 15 years. Also, the title was the 14th in 20 years
for coach Paul Poiesz and the school's 18th total.
Cardinal O'Hara (73), Archbishop Ryan (71), West Catholic (70), Father Judge (68) and Roman Catholic (65) staged a
wicked battle for second place, but they were far off the Lancers' pace.
Jamal Huff accounted for 40 of West's points, winning the 100 meters (10.91 seconds), 200 (PR 22.09), 110 high hurdles
(14.61) and 400 intermediate hurdles (55.54).
West Catholic coach Lenny Jordan said Huff will likely pick among Nebraska, Miami, Florida State and Temple.
The 6-1, 185-pound Moyer captured the javelin with a personal record of 212 feet even. He also took second in the discus
(124-7) to teammate Brent Ryan (126-11).
Also headlining for the Lancers was East Stroudsburg basketball signee Robert Georges, who won the long jump (20-81/4)
and triple jump (44-11/4) and tied for third in the high jump (5-10).
The lone record-breaking effort belonged to O'Hara's Pat Nash, who clocked 1:52.95 in the 800.
Moyer didn't mind the sloppy conditions.
"It's strange," he said, "but in the last couple of meets, I've been doing well in the light rain, or when the ground is wet, at
least. I guess that's because the ground absorbs my plant foot better. It doesn't give me such a jolt."
At St. Luke, in Glenside, Moyer divided his springs between track and baseball (pitcher). He decided to concentrate on
track at McDevitt and first dabbled in running and the triple jump, in addition to the pole vault.
He's unsure whether his father, Danny - an energetic, fist-pumping guard on McDevitt's first CL basketball team in '64 and
the longtime PA announcer at Lancer football games - or Poiesz was the one who suggested a switch to the javelin.
"I think it was his dad," Poiesz said. "Whatever, he took to it fast.
"I know every year I mention my throwing assistant, Bob Supplee, but he deserves so much credit. You can have all the
talent in the world, but if you don't do things correctly, you're not going to amount to much. That's where Bob comes in. In
Matt and Dan Maha [second in the javelin at 186-0, fifth in the shot put at 112-8], he had very willing pupils. These guys
put in the time. Watching videos, going to clinics, etc."
Though Moyer tries just as hard in the discus, and might even compete in that event at Michigan, his love is the javelin.
"It's a lot more technical," he said. "And, if you do have a good throw, they go out there so much farther. They fly! And
you know it right away."
What Moyer did not know right away was whether he was truly receiving sincere interest from big-time track programs.
"The first letter I got last summer was from Navy," he said. "I didn't think too much about it. Then, when football season
started [he starred at tight end and linebacker for the CL Blue champs], letters started coming from Nebraska, Georgia
Tech. . .30 big schools.
"Then Michigan called. I still didn't want to believe it yet. But then they said to visit and I did and it was, 'Hey, this is true.'
Then I signed."
Not for the pole vault, of course.