In Memoriam . . . General Page

Return to Homepage

  Please do not hesitate to send thoughts/memories, even photos, of any deceased
person who was connected with Philadelphia high school sports.
  They'll be listed below. Please list the person's name in the subject field of
your email and send to
  Thank you.
  Ted Silary

Your Contributions . . .

For Vince Miller . . . Frankford High basketball coach

He was Smiling the Whole Time! 
  It's not often that a man can look back on his life and see the hand of God. I can and God of mercy saw fit to put my life
in the hands of one of the greatest men I have ever had the pleasure of being around, Coach Vinson Miller. I played for Coach Miller at Frankford High School (class of 1982) and while coach was as tough as the devil when we were in the gym or at a game. He was old school in that he believed in discipline. I can remember the things he put us through after a loss, these young bucks today could not survive things like crab walk suicides or sitting arms extended with you back against the wall for what seemed like hours, I laugh at it now but I cry then believe me. Mr. Miller seemed to have a special dislike for me and it seemed like he was always on me about something or another. I asked him one day why he stayed on me so much? It was then that he said something that sticks with me until this very day he said, "Don't worry that I stay on you so hard son. Worry when I stop." I share that with kids that I coach and even my own son.
  Mr. Miller was a whole different person off the court though. I can remember going to the team picnics at his house and how warm and inviting he was although I was never quite sure if he was smiling or not, lol. His wife and kids were always welcoming and made us feel at home. It broke my heart to open the Daily News and see that my coach had passed. I went to his viewing that Saturday and watched the presentation on the big screen of the church and low and behold all the time I thought Mr. Miller was grimacing he was actually smiling. Thank you Coach Miller for what you instilled in me and I thank you Mrs. Miller for your warmth and grace whenever we invaded your home. Thank you to his daughter and son Reds for sharing your father. He was a Father to many at crucial times in our lives.
-- Nick F. Jenkins (Frankford Pioneer class of 82)

For “Mister” Nick Kueny . . . St. Joe’s Prep athletic trainer

  Ask any alumnus of St. Joe’s Prep that played any sport and graduated in the 50s, 60s, 70s, or 80s
who “Mister” is and they will immediately name Mr. Nick Kueny.    I met him in 1977, when I played
Freshman football.    I knew he had been a part of the school since 1939 because he was able to
provide vivid details concerning the 1939 City Championship Football team.    I believe “Mister”
was a freshman that year and he graduated in 1943.    I don’t know what year he became the
school trainer, but I’ve read testimonials from students who remember him taping their ankles
in the 50s.     More importantly, he taped ankles immediately after school and he went to
practices and games, every day.   In the fall, the football players and soccer players knew
him.   In the winter, it was the basketball team.   In the spring, I’m pretty sure he was there
for baseball and track, and whatever sport required his attention.     But more importantly,
every student and/or athlete who ever met him seems to feel that he was their friend.    In my
Junior year he spotted me on the corner one morning waiting to take the bus to the
Broad Street subway.    He invited me into his station wagon and told me that from now on,
he would drive me to school on game days.    From what I can tell, he did this with MANY
other student athletes.     But most importantly, he was a very humble man who never
called attention to himself.    Those who knew him, were aware of what he did.   Those
who didn’t know him, may not even be aware of his name.
-- anonymous
  P.S. -- It seems more fitting to know that what I wrote could have come from any one of several
thousand student athletes.

For Baron Adams . . . George Washington FB Player (Class of 2006)

  My prayers go out to his family and close ones. No matter what the situation was, I can only describe Baron as a good classmate and teammate because no matter what the outcome was going to be, Baron always was determined in a positive way. I'm going to miss you man. I love my boi.
-- David Porter

For Leo Broadhurst . . . Cardinal O'Hara Football Coach/Teacher

Today the O'Hara community and the O'Hara Football family lost a teacher, Coach and a friend with the passing of Mr. Leo Broadhurst. To me I simply knew him as Coach or Mr. Broadhurst. I was lucky enough to have gotten to know Coach during my fours years at O'Hara I was even luckier to have him has a teacher the course he taught was World History II but he also taught me so much about one of things that I love more than anything in the world and that's O'Hara Football and Football in general. He always made his classes interesting and made it easier for me to understand war strategies into football terms.  That year was when I started writing for Ted and it's because of Mr. Broadhurst that I have the knowledge of O'Hara football that I do. There's several things about Mr. Broadhurst that I won't ever forget such as his famous Yay Napoleon or how he always didn't mind me walking into to his room for a visit and to talk football even if he had a class going. Today we lost a great friend, teacher and coach. But our loss is God's gain. RIP Mr. Broadhurst or as I knew you as Coach. You will be surely missed. Thank you for everything you've done for me. To the Broadhurst Family: You will be in our prayers.
-- Willie McGonigle
Cardinal O'Hara Class of 2008

For Gerry Shotzbarger . . . Cardinal Dougherty Basketball Player (Class of 1974)

  The Catholic League lost a friend today in Gerry Shotzbarger (CD '74). Gerry was a lawyer who ran for City Council and lost, but won everything elese he ever did in his life.  Gerry was on the Cardinal Dougherty basketball team that upset North Catholic at the Palestra in 73. North was 16-0 going into the game. Dougherty was 9-7. Gerry always reminded everyone, even up to a couple of weeks ago, that he was the one that came up with the saying "16-0 and down they go." He played with 2 other players on the team who remained friends for life. (Vince Shervin-Mark Goetz). His brother George is a catholic league basketball referee and a good one.
  Gerry played for the legendary coach Bob Harrington. Then went on to Haverford College then on to Univ of Penn law school. Gerry played basketball at Haverford college. Gerry was a lawyer who help many people, most at pro-bono.
  The catholic league will never be the same without you and will miss you every week at our games. We will always love you.
-- Jack Rutter,
Bishop McDevitt

For John Fletcher . . . Bishop Egan Football Player (Class of 1989)

    Everyone remembers what a special player John was.  That ’88 team accomplished some great things and John's ability, character, toughness, leadership and relentless play were a large part of the reason.  He started as our “5-2” linebacker and fullback in the wishbone and excelled.  We had a good, tough team but we were not deep and many guys played both ways like John.  They started the ’88 season by upsetting (in most people's minds) McDevitt and snapping their 23-game winning streak.  I remember well that the McDevitt QB saw PLENTY of John that day.  John and I had recently talked about how he had gained over 150 yards in the first half against North only to have the game end that way due to the untimely death of an NC assistant coach at halftime.  The ’88 team also shut out undefeated La Salle, 9-0, in the playoffs and John was a huge factor defensively.  John’s ’88 team also took the PCL champion, Archbishop Ryan, to the wire in the regular season AND the playoffs despite losing 2-way (LB and HB) player Sean Corrigan, to injury on the first series of the playoff game.  They (John and his teammates) always said they ran out of time or they would have won the game.  He also recalled that he later made contact with Frank Wycheck of the ’88 AR team and they would talk about those games and their playing days. Mike Tos has John as a starting linebacker on his All-Time BishopEgan/Conwell-Egan first team.
  At last fall's Truman/Conwell-Egan Thanksgiving game, the ’88 Egan team captains -- John Fletcher, Steve Schurr and Charlie Coleman -- were honorary captains for that game.  John spoke to the CEC team before the game and it was great to see them win the game.  It was a very happy day for John, who was there with his wife, Jess, and son, Jake.  John was friendly with the ’88 Truman captains as well, which made it even better.  Glen Galeone and I were there along with many of his teammates and it was a very happy and enjoyable reunion for John and all of us.  When the ’88 team defeated Truman on Thanksgiving Day, 1988, it was the third game they had played in 11 days.  They played La Salle on Monday night in the playoffs, Ryan on Friday night in the Northern final and Truman the following Thursday on Thanksgiving.  That took a lot of resolve after a disappointing loss to Ryan but John, the other captains and teammates had a lot of character and they went forward without feeling sorry for themselves.  I think that character and resolve was seen in John to the end.  He battled as hard as he could and remained positive and strong up to the moment he died.  He was a great football player but an even greater person.  John Fletcher will be sorely missed.
  -- Chuck Knowles

For Herm Rogul, former Bulletin sports writer . . .

  As a 10 year old, following my older brother around watching him play in the Phila. Pen-Del League, Herm used to cover the games for his People in Sports columns and used to do a lot or articles publicizing the local amateur and semi-pro leagues.
  Two memories during one game..... had to be 1962-63   I was about 11 years brother was 25-26....
  1 - Watching my brother play for Glen Oaks (later Glanzmann Cars) at Tarken Playground.  I used to be the bat-boy for the team and would always be looking over Herm's shoulder while he kept a scorecard.  He asked if I wanted to learn how to keep score, which I did...
  2 - During the game, the pitcher for my brother's team, lefthander named Graham... was pitching a no-hitter. I happened to blurt that fact out in the bottom of the 7th inning... and you know what's next...... line drive base-hit to center field.....  I learned what a baseball superstition was on that day.  lol...
  He was the best. Also learned the definitions of "bingle" / "can-of-corn" etc. from Herm. And from others some words for which my Mom washed my mouth out with soap and smacked my brother in the head... lol....
 -- Gerry Sasse

For Tom Mazza, former basketball announcer/youth coach . . .

  I was so sorry to hear of Tommy Mazza's passing. He was a great guy. We used to umpire together years ago. I offer my condolences to his family. He will be missed.
-- Bob Dillon

For Chuck Knowles, former football coach and athletic director at Egan/Conwell-Egan

  I was very saddened when my brother informed me of Coach Knowles passing this morning.  I attended and played football for the Bishop Egan Eagles from 1985-1989.  I was a senior in 1988, I believe our team went 6-5-1 and lost to Ryan in the Northern Division Finals in a close game.  I have so many good memories from that season.  Coach Knowles was truly committed to that team and group of seniors.  I know he had a chance to leave for a significantly higher paying teaching job in a public school district during the summer of 1988.  I have no idea what his financial situation was at the time or has become since but I assume this was a major life decision for him. It could not have been easy to turn down a significant pay increase at one of the more prestigious public schools in the area.  I know he had a family with children and now myself having a family with children makes me have even more respect his decision to stay committed to what he was building.  Even though we did not pay him in full for his commitment with a PCL championship; I know he held our two huge victories over Bishop McDevitt (to snap their 23 game winning streak on opening day) and beating an undefeated Lasalle team in the first round of the Northern Division playoffs close to his heart. 
  Coach Knowles gave us many great memories and stories to relive, some humorous and some motivational. He had a very quick wit and often used this to get his point across.  Our junior year we were young and ended up be devastated with injuries, not a good combination in the PCL, I think we finished 2-8.  Anyway his quick wit left some lasting impressions, I had to miss a few games with a lower back injury.  Coach Knowles made it a point of nicknaming me, Sorebak, playing off my last name pronounced Sirbak. It was a bit annoying as you may imagine. My teammates didn't leave that one alone for while.  However, point taken, I spent the off season in the weight room getting stronger and had no back issues the rest of my playing life and became a decent OT the following year.   Another moment from our junior year was after  an early season loss in which a RB fumbled twice. Monday after watching the game film and "correcting" the RB  especially making the point of not wearing sleeves during a game because in his mind sleeves result in fumbles. (I have coached football for 11 years at both the college and high school levels, our backs are not allowed to wear sleeves!)  As we were walking to the practice the RB was off talking with his girlfriend, Coach Knowles saw this and calmly looked at the two, looked at the group walking to the field to ensure he had our attention and said something to the following, "With the way you hold onto the ball you may want to hold onto her extra tight, I'd hate to see you fumble her away!"  He immediately looked to the group of us, saying through that Coach Knowles smirk/smile (that all my teammates will remember) "Right?" and took the field.  We laughed and laughed. I am almost sure the RB never fumbled again and I am certain never wore sleeves again :).
  As I already mentioned Coach Knowles stayed committed to our group of seniors but in writing my thoughts down I now realize he was able to recognize the potential on a 2-8 team with no real crazy superstar talent as other teams had in the PCL.  We were a blue collar hit you in the face team that won with defense and a physical running game.  I remember him believing in us both as a team and individually.  I can remember before the season started after an off season spent exclusively in the weight room a sports equipment rep commenting on how he was surprised by our size.  Coach Knowles made the point to the man that we and me specifically had put an incredible amount of time in the weight room and were ready for McDevitt.  Just hearing him talk with confidence to this stranger gave me a ton of confidence.  He really believed in us.  A week or so later after one of the best pregame speeches I've heard in which Coach predicted we would be faced with adversity and that is the time that will matter most both in the game and in life. Get up and hit back.  Get back in the canoe and keep paddling.( I still use this teaching today with the players I coach and the kids I work with in residential treatment center in Duluth, MN)  Well just as predicted we scored early to take maybe a 3-0 lead.  Lead stayed at 3-0 until midway through the 3rd.  My memory is a bit faded but I think they returned a errant pitch back for a TD or it set them up for a score to take the lead 7-3.  I believe because of the faith he showed in us no one panicked and we took the game by the throat scoring TDs on consecutive long time consuming drives to win 17-7 snapping their streak and putting the rest of the PCL on notice that we would be a force to be reckoned with for the remainder of the year. (The game may have ended 10-7 with us driving down the length of the field to run out the clock, really can not remember.)   We were so happy for him and his coaching staff that we got them a big win.
  Lastly I will always remember Coach Knowles for his desire to see his players play on the next level if possible.  He really advocated for his players to colleges and made all kinds of contacts for his players back in a day and age that was not nearly as seamless as it is today.  I really appreciated Coach Knowles advocating for me and my teammates.  Several of us ended up coming out to University of Wisconsin-Superior in Superior, Wisconsin, which for me was the decision that led to me having a very blessed life today.
  Thank you, Coach Knowles!
-- Kevin J. Szczyrbak
Bishop Egan Class of 1989

For Kevin Kelly and Al Burba, members of Neumann's 1983 Catholic South football champs . . .

  Two of my teammates from the St. John Neumann 1983 Southern Division Championship team have passed away this month. I was a sophomore on that team and they were both seniors.
  Kevin Kelly was a fullback and a major part of the reason why Lenny Nelson was an All-Everything running back. Kevin would knock anyone on their butt and started that year by pounding a few Fr. Judge linebackers at Beach Bowl II. He was a 2nd team All-Catholic selection in 1983. He died suddenly on January 2nd.
  Al Burba was a defensive back and his work ethic was legendary. I distinctly remember Al practicing with a 102-degree fever one day. Why? because he wanted to kick the heck out of O'Hara that week. He died suddenly today.
  The 1983 team was very unique. We got to play at the Vet twice, once when we beat St. James in the playoffs and once when we beat Southern HS in the 50th Anniversary game. The team we played in our first game and beat ended up beating us in our last game that year... for the Catholic League Championship.
  Last May, our 1983 team was inducted into the Neumann-Goretti Hall of Fame and was the last time we were all together.
  Great guys who passed too early and certainly worthy of being recognized one more time.
Marc Marrone