Philadelphia High School Basketball
A Look at Rich "Yank" Yankowitz' 34-Year Coaching
Career at Murrell Dobbins Tech (1972-2005)
This page includes stories, special lists, record breakdown, recap of the win in a championship game
and (at the bottom) the names of all varsity players during Coach Yankowitz' 34 seasons. . . .
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Coach Yankowitz' All-Stars and 1,000-Point Scorers
* - Played in NBA
Rich "Yank" Yankowitz coached basketball at Murrell Dobbins Tech for 34 seasons, winning xxx games and one Public League championship. That crown was claimed in 1985 as the Mustangs easily beat Southern. Here is that story . . .
By Ted Silary
Greg "Bo" Kimble might have looked a might odd bounding up and down the
basketball court at Temple's McGonigle Hall in baseball spikes yesterday,
even the hard-rubber variety.
League / Overall
(*-Strike by Teachers
Halted PL Play)
1972: 10-4 / 13-5
*1973: 2-0 / 6-1
1974: 8-5 / 9-9
1975: 7-6 / 13-10
1976: 8-6 / 12-10
1977: 14-1 / 16-4
1978: 7-8 / 17-8
1979: 9-6 / 14-8
1980: 9-6 / 13-11
1981: 5-11 / 9-15
1982: 9-4 / 15-12
1983: 4-3 / 12-9
1984: 12-1 / 24-3
1985: 13-0 / 28-2
1986: 7-6 / 16-6
1987: 11-2 / 23-5
1988: 10-3 / 14-9
1989: 9-4 / 17-7
1990: 9-4 / 15-6
1991: 7-2 / 13-9
1992: 3-8 / 7-13
1993: 5-6 / 11-10
1994: 5-6 / 9-12
1995: 8-3 / 17-5
1996: 13-2 / 17-5
1997: 11-3 / 19-6
1998: 10-3 / 18-5
1999: 6-7 / 12-10
2000: 8-5 / 13-9
2001: 9-6 / 14-9
2002: 5-8 / 11-9
2003: 6-7 / 13-10
2004: 5-8 / 13-10
2005: 10-3 / 13-7
21 Seasons, 1970-1990
League - 274-157
Overall - 486-269
Appearances Ended in . . .
1975, 1977, 1982, 1983,
1986, 1988, 1989, 1991,
1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
1976, 1979, 1987
"When I see Bo in the
open court, I have confidence he's going to do the right thing. He's that
good at it."
As stellar as Kimble was, the 6-4 forward had only a sliver on 6-6 center Eric "Hank" Gathers when it came to getting a
rise out of the applause meter.
Gathers also had 27, shooting 11-for-17 and 5-for-11. Fourteen rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks were also part and
parcel of his workmanlike display of inside dominance.
That the statistics for Kimble and Gathers would be so similar in the final game of their high school careers was
somewhat ironic. At many junctures, but more so during their sophomore and junior years, they drove Yankowitz crazy
with flare-ups that usually focused on who was - or more importantly, who wasn't - getting the basketball.
"Both of us realized at the beginning of the season that one man can't do it alone," Gathers said. "We knew if we stayed
together and played as a team, not too many teams were capable of beating us. We talked a lot of times. I'd tell Bo, 'You
look for me and I'll look for you.' When you face junk defenses, like we did all year, you have to work together to be
Temple, La Salle, Virginia Commonwealth, De Paul, Massachusetts, Southern California and St. Bonaventure are
among the schools recruiting Kimble and/or Gathers. Don't lick your chops just yet, but there's a chance they will go
as a tandem.
"There's a great possibility," Gathers said. "Maybe we'll go to La Salle together. We'd have a great opportunity to play
Kimble and Gathers, who sometimes have come off as arch enemies, spending their college years together? Who would
ever have thought?
"Hey, we'd have our little conflicts here and there," Gathers said, laughing, "but down the stretch, we'd always stick
together. It would be nice if we played together in college. We both get results, but we get them in different ways. Bo's
got that natural talent. I have to work harder. We complement each other, though."
Although there was little need for the keeping of play-by-play in this one, which featured a 38-21 halftime score, Southern
did draw within 65-56 with 5:30 left on a fastbreak basket by guard Irv Hutcherson.
But in rapid succession we had: Doug Overton's basket on a pass from Kimble; a Southern turnover; Gathers's basket
on a pass from Overton; Derrick Gathers's steal; E. Gathers's rebound basket of his own miss; a Southern turnover;
imble's fastbreak basket on a pass from Overton; a miss by Hutcherson; E. Gathers's basket on a pass from Overton.
Just like that, the score was 75-56 and only 1:42 had elapsed. Southern's players had every right to look shell-shocked,
which they most definitely did.
Undoubtedly, the Public League basketball fan in the street always will lament Ben Franklin's absence from yesterday's
final. And, with that in mind, it's difficult to correctly place the Mustangs among the city's better teams of the last
But if we agree that West in 1977 and Overbrook in '79 are 1-2 or 2-1, Dobbins could check in as high as No. 3.
More than anything else, these guys will be remembered for a killer instinct that intensified as the season progressed.
The Mustangs (28-2) experienced only one true lapse, falling in overtime to Dunbar of Baltimore in a Pepsi Challenge
semifinal after leading, 46-30, with 2:40 left in the third quarter. Their other loss was to mighty De Matha, of Hyattsville,
Remember, this was an extremely strong year for the Public League.
"I can't believe I'm no longer going to be coaching Hank and Bo and Derrick and 'Heat' (lead guard Darrell Gates),"
Yankowitz said. "These three years seem like they've lasted my whole coaching career. It seems like they've been
my sons forever.
"You know, that thought's just hitting me for the first time. It's something to think about . . . "
With that, Yank's voice trailed off and he glanced down at the floor.
Bo Kimble wasn't flowing past en route to a basket. Hank Gathers wasn't charging past, either.
The worst thing about winning a championship is the realization that you're losing the players who most helped you
TITLE TIDBITS: Lionel Simmons, a 6-4 junior, led Southern with 18 points and 11 rebounds . . . Dobbins joined the
league for basketball in the 1945-46 season . . . Greg Kimble: "When I go to the hole, I feel no one can stop me. You
have to feel that way." . . . With 2:59 left, a Coke bottle fired from Southern's stands whizzed past Dobbins's bench.
Luckily, no one was hurt. Unfortunately, the yo-yo who threw it wasn't arrested.
This story was written in 1998 after
"Yank" and Dobbins halted Gratz' streak of
107 consecutive Public League regular season wins . . .
By Ted Silary
After so many years and so much success, coach Bill Ellerbee almost never gets a pregame feeling that makes him
He did yesterday.
As the friendly confines at 22nd and Lehigh filled to capacity and the noise increased to automatic headache levels, the
basketball players from Murrell Dobbins Tech and visiting Simon Gratz executed their layup drills.
Dobbins was shooting at the basket in front of Gratz's bench and every so often, a Mustang would stop and chat briefly
"Mostly when we go into the lions' dens, the guys on the other teams are too jacked up,'' Ellerbee said. "These guys
spoke to me, slapped me five . . . The thing was, they were calm.
"Just looking at that, I thought, `We could be in trouble.' ''
With a capital T.
"The Streak" is over. After earning 107 consecutive wins over eight full seasons and parts of two others, Gratz finally
lost a Public League regular season game.
The final score was 54-46 and Dobbins had all kinds of help.
There was point guard Terrence "Nip" Cook, an ultraquick lefthander, who mixed 20 points and five assists and helped
make sure the 'Stangs were guilty of only six turnovers. And wing guard Amari Wynder, who had nine points, five
assists and two steals. And small forward Jon McLaurin, who added 11 points and brass along with a spectacular
There were also rotating interior players Charles Pratt (eight points), Demetrius Harris (four steals), Andre Martin, Eric
Benson and Keith Stokes. What they did best was retain their focus throughout and never come close to dropping their
The Bulldogs had not dropped a PL regular-season game since Jan. 19, 1989, when they fell at Frankford, 67-65. They
won six to finish '89, 13 in '90, 10 in '91, 11 apiece in '92, '93, '94 and '95, 15 in '96, 16 in '97 and three to start this season.
Counting the regular season and all playoffs except title games, Gratz's PL streak was 134.
When it was over, Dobbins fans in the lower stands exploded onto the court to hug their heroes. A few seconds behind
came those who scrambled down the steps from the balcony.
The scene was exactly as one would wish it to be after a hard-fought game of high importance. As Gratz's players
walked slowly to the exit, no one taunted them.
"My first thought was to go see the Gratz guys,'' Cook said. "I know some of them, and that was an incredible
accomplishment all those years. But so many fans were hugging me and slapping me, I couldn't get over there. When we
got downstairs, I went and shook all their hands.''
The main portion of Dobbins's locker facility is one large room broken into sections by chain-link fencing. Once everyone
was present in the cubicle reserved for visiting teams, Ellerbee ordered the players to sit on two benches forming an L and
then talked for three minutes.
He didn't holler, but he sternly delivered a message. He repeated it after walking outside.
"They outhustled us and outexecuted us. They did everything better than we did,'' Ellerbee said. "I didn't think anybody
was quicker than we are, but it was like we were nailed to the floor.
"This is a young ballclub. We've been trying to get them to do certain things. Maybe now we'll have their ear. Maybe
that can be the positive we take from this loss. Most of these guys haven't been part of our longstanding tradition. Before
this year, they just put on jerseys and watched. Maybe now these guys will come to understand what Gratz basketball is
Later, Ellerbee had effusive praise for referees Ron Arthur and Mike Chesney.
"They were great,'' he said. "This is a tough gym. There was no junk."
Though both teams entered with 9-1 overall records, Dobbins had faced mostly inferior competition. That fact didn't
faze Cook, McLaurin or coach Rich Yankowitz.
"People in school were mostly doubting our chances,'' Cook said. "They kept asking, `You gonna win? ' I kept saying,
`Yeah. ' I was saying it with confidence.''
Said McLaurin: "When we play as a team, we can beat anybody. We've been playing like this all season. We just didn't
Said Yankowitz: "Every coach, in a situation like this, has an inner confidence that his team can do it. To beat Gratz,
you have to play near-perfect basketball. Every time we needed a big bucket or rebound, we got it.''
Out of a 3-2 matchup zone, Dobbins did a masterful job of preventing Gratz from getting open looks on jumpers
(three-pointers are not possible from the corners on the narrow court) and was only rarely burned inside. Gratz's chances
were hurt by deep foul trouble incurred by its only reliable inside force, junior Sharod Carroll. Carroll had 15 points, but
was limited to four minutes in the first half while Dobbins built a 24-19 lead.
When Wynder nailed a three to open the second half, Dobbins's fans went crazy. The smell of blood was in the air.
"My parents [Kevin, Beverly] were here,'' said Cook, a C-plus student, who is being eyed by Division II schools. ``I
kept looking up to the balcony, especially to my dad. He was giving me hand signals on what decisions to make.
"This was a great feeling. Like nothing I ever felt before. I've been waiting for this day my whole high school career -
to come through with a nice game against a really good team.''
With 5 minutes, 4 seconds remaining, the teams were tied at 36. Dobbins then scored six consecutive points as
second-chance baskets by Harris and Pratt sandwiched Wynder's left-wing jumper on a pass from McLaurin.
At 1:37, Cook sped through everyone for a dipsy-doodle layup and gave Dobbins a 46-38 cushion. The noise that
accompanied that field goal was heard eight blocks east on Broad Street.
"Down the end, I just kept looking at the clock and saying, `C'mon, move! ' '' Cook said.
McLaurin did the same.
"When that clock hit 0:00, I didn't believe it at first,'' he said. "I still don't believe it.''
Soon, Yankowitz put everything into perspective.
"Now,'' he said, "everybody and their grandmother will be trying to knock off us.''
This story was written in 2005, shortly before "Yank" retired . . .
By Ted Silary
The winningest basketball coach in Public League history undoubtedly will lose it tomorrow. When it comes to emotions,
Rich Yankowitz is a wear-'em-on-the-sleeve kind of guy. So it will be difficult for him to walk out of Murrell Dobbins
Tech and end a 40-year career in teaching and coaching.
"I'm not looking forward to it," he said. "I've talked to some retired guys and they all claim they're enjoying themselves.
When you walk away from something you love, I'm not sure how that's possible, but I'll get a chance to judge for myself."
Yankowitz, also Dobbins' baseball coach, already had one bout with welling up. That came Friday at Penn's Murphy
Field when the Public League fell in the first round of the Carpenter Cup Classic.
"Peeling off the uniform for the last time was pretty emotional," he said. "Just talking about leaving to some people, I
was having a tough time."
Yankowitz, 62, a product of Overbrook and West Chester, went 486-269 in 34 seasons as the Mustangs' basketball
coach. He coached baseball for the last 10 seasons. Along the way, he had stints as the head man in cross country and an
assistant in track and soccer. He began teaching at Dobbins in September 1969 after spending the previous four school
years at Leeds Junior High.
"We've pretty much had the same phys ed staff at Dobbins for over 25 years," Yankowitz said. "As summer ends and
fall begins, you feel good, because you're going to spend the next 9-plus months around people you like and respect.
I'll come back to visit, but it won't be the same."
He laughed. "I don't like this retirement stuff," he said. "All it means is that you're closer to the place you don't want
to be, if you know what I mean."
The personable, popular Yankowitz, known as "Yank" to everyone, was famous for the amount of time and effort he
poured into Dobbins' basketball program. Calling players to wake them up. Driving them to school. Even taking them
On game days, he would remain at Dobbins as late as 10 p.m. to phone newspapers, compile statistics, launder
niforms, plan ahead for practices, etc. Then he'd do more preparation at home. Often, he functioned on as little as
3 hours' sleep.
"When you're doing something that's so enjoyable, you don't mind putting in time," he said.
Yankowitz said he is retiring in part so he can spend more time with his married daughters and toddler grandchildren,
who live out of the area.
"I haven't seen too much of them yet," he acknowledged.
To stay busy, he will be a baseball assistant under Denny Weiner at Penn State-Abington and perhaps latch on
somewhere in basketball.
"I thought about trying to stay on here in basketball," he said. "But to do the kids justice, I think you need to be full
time at the school.
"Being with Denny will help me keep my feet in the fire. And I'll probably get a chance to coach against my son,
because he's going to Penn State-Altoona. That'd be nice."
Yankowitz' son, Matt, an outfielder, just graduated from George Washington. He missed his entire senior season
with a leg injury.
Yankowitz produced one hoops champion at Dobbins, in 1985. That squad is well remembered in city history
because the starting lineup included two future NBA players, Greg "Bo" Kimble and Doug Overton, and another
star, Eric "Hank" Gathers, who would have made the league had he not died in 1990 while playing for Loyola Marymount.
Another big-time Mustang was Horace "Pappy" Owens (class of 1979), now an assistant at La Salle University.
Twenty-four of Yank's teams made the playoffs; 17 and five made the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.
His '84 squad lost in the final to Ben Franklin. His '98 team halted Simon Gratz's amazing streak of consecutive
PL wins, not counting playoffs, at 107.
Yankowitz claimed the PL record for wins, at 457, on Jan. 23, 2003, in an 81-58 triumph over Thomas Edison.
Ken Hamilton had gone 456-184 in 28 seasons at Franklin, ending in 1999.
Disheem "DaDa" Butler, one of the game's heroes, said of Yankowitz after that game: "I was so happy for him. He's
a great guy. In school. Out of school. On the court. Off the court. If you're looking for comfort, he'll give it to you.
If you're looking for somebody to back you up, you've got that, too."
Recap of victory in
Public League championship game . . .
At Temple's McGonigle Hall
Dobbins 86, Southern 62
Greg "Bo" Kimble had 27 points, 12 rebounds and three assists as Dobbins won its first title in its 40th PL season. Eric "Hank" Gathers added 27 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists. Sophomore Doug Overton had 12 points and 4 assists. For Southern, Lionel Simmons had 18 points and 11 boards.
Below are the players who helped
Rich "Yank" Yankowitz claim XXX wins and one Public League
championship -- the first in a major sport in school history -- in 34 seasons as the coach at Murrell
Dobbins Tech. 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.
|Bernard Browne||1972||Anton Montgomery||1983||Dion Jones||1995|
|Bruce Wiley||1972||Daryl Hardnett||1983||Hassan Brockman||1995|
|Joaquin "Jack" Lopez||1972||David Gallashaw||1983||Jermaine "Junior" Johnson||1995|
|Rick Ortiz||1972||Kelly Ayres||1983||Karrem Bradham||1995|
|Steve Harper||1972||Ken Johnson||1983||Marcelius Younger||1995|
|Wendell Dingle||1972||Kenny Johnson||1983||Paul Raison||1995|
|Curtis Cannon||1973||Malcolm Trottie||1983||Raheem Slappy||1995|
|Fred Tate||1973||Mark Stevenson||1983||Ralph Holmes||1995|
|Hawk Williams||1973||Rodney Green||1983||Robert Santiago||1995|
|Herbert Brooks||1973||Terry Tayale||1983||Tony Bigham||1995|
|Jeff Hatchell||1973||Tony Garnett||1983||Vince Jones||1995|
|Randy Barnes||1973||Bernard Brooks||1984||Darien Rawlings||1996|
|Rick Diaz||1973||Darnell Keal||1984||Eddie Adams||1996|
|Darryl White||1974||Darryl Dirickson||1984||Eric Pugh||1996|
|Dwight Lewis||1974||Dominick Stephens||1984||Rahsaan Ames||1996|
|Floyd Day||1974||Jay Buchanon||1984||Alki Henry||1997|
|Jeff Davis||1974||Mark Blakeney||1984||Bryant Paden||1997|
|John Bowie||1974||Steve Kennedy||1984||Devon Monroe||1997|
|Ken Govens||1974||Darrell "Heat" Gates||1985||Haakim Peay||1997|
|Marvin Young||1974||Derrick Gathers||1985||Hakim Rush||1997|
|Mike Akers||1974||Eric "Hank" Gathers||1985||Larry Nicholson||1997|
|Mike Creswell||1974||Greg "Bo" Kimble||1985||Leno Quattlebaum||1997|
|William Young||1974||Jeff Goldwire||1985||Myles Davis||1997|
|Bryant Fuller||1975||Juan Edney||1985||Raheem Brock||1997|
|David Tate||1975||Mike Wells||1985||Rodney Willis||1997|
|John Lubin||1975||Brian Stevens||1986||Sean Morris||1997|
|Mike Evans||1975||james Rawls||1986||Amari Wynder||1998|
|Mike Saunders||1975||Ken Jones||1986||Charles Pratt||1998|
|Preston Macon||1975||Thelonius Mack||1986||Eric Benson||1998|
|Stan McGeathy||1975||William Bernard||1986||Jamar Butts||1998|
|Douglas Perry||1976||Bernard Williams||1987||Jon McLaurin||1998|
|Gregory Robinson||1976||Doug Overton||1987||Kaamil Harley||1998|
|Horace Timmons||1976||Eric Rankin||1987||Levon Stewart||1998|
|Juan Rodriguez||1976||Ervin Ezell||1987||Lonzo Edwards||1998|
|Merci Williams||1976||Jeff Carter||1987||Maurice Henry||1998|
|Michael Waller||1976||Jeff Hamilton||1987||Terrence "Nip" Cook||1998|
|Raymond Monroe||1976||Larry Stewart||1987||Andre Davis||1999|
|Robert McCrea||1976||Randy Slade||1987||Andre Martin||1999|
|Robert Ruffin||1976||Robert Williams||1987||Corey Mayhue||1999|
|Barry Smith||1977||Sean Dickerson||1987||Demetrius Harris||1999|
|Brad Dickson||1977||Charles Gathers||1988||Wayne Talmadge||1999|
|Brent "McAdoo" Hawthorne||1977||Jake Mickens||1988||JeVan Sayles||2000|
|Jerome Peterson||1977||Jerell Flournoy||1988||Keith Stokes||2000|
|Leroy Choice||1977||Jon Dunmeyer||1988||Maurice Allen||2000|
|Miles Woodberry||1977||Ken Liggins||1988||Norman Mitchell||2000|
|Ray Young||1977||Kevin Hill||1988||Saad Brabham||2000|
|Aaron Powell||1978||Alphonso Jones||1989||Shareef Jefferson||2000|
|Bruce Gunter||1978||Dan Brinkley||1989||Twayne Brown||2000|
|David Ames||1978||Jermaine Trottie||1989||Vince Garrett||2000|
|Karam Govens||1978||Julian Lawrence||1989||Antoine DuBose||2001|
|Kevin Taylor||1978||Kevin Holt||1989||Chris Tull||2001|
|Sam Hall||1978||Pete Rushing||1989||Dennis Meekins||2001|
|Wayne Oakley||1978||Willie Williams||1989||Dominick Patterson||2001|
|Allen McCray||1979||Anthony Smith||1990||Furman Gist||2001|
|Bryan Bartlett||1979||Duane Watts||1990||Hakeem Dunn||2001|
|Harry Barnes||1979||Earl Lewis||1990||Kareem Rouse||2001|
|Horace "Pappy" Owens||1979||Ken Treadwell||1990||Robert Kendrick||2001|
|Jeff Battle||1979||Kenya Mobley||1990||Will Smith||2001|
|Johnnie McCain||1979||Kevin Fennell||1990||Andre McMillan||2002|
|Larry Waiters||1979||Larry Billips||1990||Barren Grier||2002|
|Michael Mackins||1979||Vince Simms||1990||Marvin Shuler||2002|
|Stanley Brandon||1979||Vincent Simmons||1990||Patrick Grant||2002|
|Steve Nesmith||1979||Brian Johnson||1991||Ronald Davis||2002|
|Willie Boyd||1979||Craig Burton||1991||Tyrell Mathis||2002|
|Anthony Davidson||1980||Marcus Saunders||1991||William Walter||2002|
|Courtney Barclay||1980||Marvin Stinson||1991||Benjamin Robinson||2003|
|Joshua Cobb||1980||Maurice Foster||1991||Corrie Pounds||2003|
|Leon Jones||1980||Maurice Whitfield||1991||Darryl Moon||2003|
|Nate Byrd||1980||Montrell McCutchen||1991||Disheem "DaDa" Butler||2003|
|Quinzel Chestnut||1980||Randy Howell||1991||Khalif Boldin||2003|
|Ricky Owens||1980||Anthony Thompson||1992||Kyree Brown||2003|
|Troy Chandler||1980||Barry Jones||1992||Phil Burns||2003|
|William Lytle||1980||Derrik Millhouse||1992||Richard Willoughby||2003|
|Anthony Miller||1981||Joe Johnson||1992||Samuel Jones||2003|
|Bernard Terry||1981||Jon Price||1992||Ahkieme McClendon||2004|
|Burton Morris||1981||Shawn Mimms||1992||Brian Cherry||2004|
|Cevon Wallace||1981||Tyrone Cosum||1992||Corey McDuffy||2004|
|Dan Suttles||1981||Brian Whitfield||1993||James Bell||2004|
|David Lee||1981||David McCoy||1993||Kaseem Wilson||2004|
|John McQueen||1981||Desmond Jackson||1993||Larry Sanders||2004|
|Maurice Hightower||1981||Jesse Arnold||1993||Omar Wynn||2004|
|Mike Carroll||1981||Kenny Pickron||1993||Richard Jefferson||2004|
|Nate Stephens||1981||Lamont Young||1993||Chris Edwards||2005|
|Walker Lee||1981||Robert DuBose||1993||Codell Johnson||2005|
|Allen Jones||1982||Sid Johnson||1993||Damon Griffin||2005|
|Anthony Boddie||1982||Aasim Harp||1994||Dominic Slaughter||2005|
|Bill Butler||1982||Anthony McCoy||1994||Dujuan Anderson||2005|
|Clarence Oliver||1982||David Hughes||1994||Jamell Jones||2005|
|Darryl Alexander||1982||Isaac Ligon||1994||Justin Hayes||2005|
|John Canty||1982||Jermaine S. Johnson||1994||Kassim Green||2005|
|Leonard Smith||1982||Mike Roadcloud||1994||Lawrence Culbreth||2005|
|Matt Shired||1982||Terrill Beatty||1994||Malik Volcy||2005|
|Robert Warren||1982||Monte Carter||2005|
|Terrance Hall||1982||Sean Mosby||2005|
|Terrance Trottie||1982||Steve Sydnor||2005|