Philadelphia High School Basketball

A Look at Mark "Max" Levin's 18-Year
Coaching Career at Overbrook High (1972-89)

  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 Levin's 18 seasons. . . . To provide additions/

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Tony "Big Tone" Costner, the 6-10 center for Overbrook's 1979
and 1980 Public League and /City champions, as coached by
Mark "Max" Levin. The teams' combined record was 68-1.

Coach Levin's All-Stars  and 1,000-Point Scorers

* - Played in NBA

1976 Mike Blackshear
1977 Lewis Lloyd
1978 Carlton "C-9" Willis
1979 Ricky Tucker
1979 Joe Washington
1980 Tony Costner
1980 Steve Black
1982 Timmy Pounds
1983 Ahmad Gilbert
1989 Mike Tyson
1972 Rich Laurel
1973 Jack Congo
1973 Ricky Watson
1973 Michael "Moon" Black
1974 Kevin Allen
1974 Michael "Moon" Black
1975 Mike Blackshear
1978 Ricky Tucker
1979 Richard Congo
1979 Tony Costner
1979 Jeffrey Tucker
1981 Kevin Palmer
1983 Herman "Coozy" Willis
1983 Octavius "Tate" Davis
1985 Ed Urie
1988 Mike Tyson
1984 Tommy Gilbert
1988 Ricardo Akins

(Bulletin, 1972-77, DN 1978-89)

1977 *Lewis Lloyd
1979 Ricky Tucker
1979 Joe Washington
1980 Tony Costner
1989 Mike Tyson
1972 *Rich Laurel
1976 Mike Blackshear
1978 Carlton "C-9" Willis
1980 Steve Black
1973 Jack Congo
1982 Timmy Pounds
(All or Part of Career)
* - Played in NBA
1,292 -- Tony Costner
1,106 -- Ricky Tucker
1,060 -- Mike Tyson







Mark "Max" Levin
Tribute Page

  Mark "Max" Levin coached basketball at Overbrook for 18 seasons (1972-89), winning 306  games, three Public League championships and the last two old-school City Titles. The '79 and '80 champs went a combined 68-1. The '80 team (34-0) beat Roman Catholic for the City Title. Here is that story . . .

By Ted Silary

  In the individual battle for laurels and glory that was discussed much more by us than by them, Lonnie McFarlan charged ahead by one and then by two.  But Tony Costner has now pulled even . . . And then some, in his eyes.
  All basketball season, the 6-5 forward from Roman Catholic and the 6- 10 center from Overbrook have been compared and contrasted by sportswriters, fanatics and even callers to radio talk shows, for goodness sake.
  On several occasions, organizations have been forced to choose between the two and about one month ago, Lonnie broke first from the gate with his
selection by McDonald's as one of the country's top 20 players, who are set to perform April 12 in Oakland in the East-West All-American Game.
  Then, this past Monday, he was presented the coveted Markward Award as the top senior player from the Public or Catholic league, squeezing out none other than Tony Costner.
  Well, it seems that Big Tone only gets even, not mad.
  Early yesterday afternoon, word clattered across the UPI wire that Costner was named fourth team All-American by Parade Magazine, which closed the gap to 2-1. And at just about 10:15 last night, word began to clatter throughout the city that Costner's team had beaten McFarlan's team for the City Title.
  The score was Overbrook 65, Roman 56 and despite what the spread may indicate, the game was great and it did require an overtime. 
  However, Costner notched eight of his 23 points in the extra period and by the end of the game, viewers were quickly switching from Channel 10 to 3 or 6 since roman's death was so drawn out and painful to watch.
  The real entertainment, though, was still to come. As media types cornered Big Tone in a hallway just outside the referees' dressing room, he tossed a
barb or three at McFarlan - as gently as he knows how - and provided evidence that yes, he is human.
  "Lonnie is my friend, I love him and he might be the best player in the city," said Costner, "but there's one thing he doesn't have . . . And that's this City Championship trophy.
  "In the overtime (regulation ended at 50-all), it was my world. I wanted the whole thing to come to me. I knew they could put two and three people on me and push and shove, but it didn't matter. I knew they weren't going to stop me. All i had to do was get the ball and it was a matter of putting it in.
  "Coach (Mark) Levin told us it was going to be a close game, decided by one or two points, at the most. Hey, it was almost decided in Roman's favor. But Randy missed that foul shot . . . "
  "Randy" is Randy Monroe, the Cahillites' extra-intense junior center and, with 11 seconds remaining in regulation, he was thrust into the limelight after Gerald Roberts (21 points) missed an 18-footer from the left side with Roman down by one, 50- 49.
  In the kung-fu exhibition that highlighted the scramble for the rebound, ref Jerry Donaghy noticed that Overbrook's Darryl Brown was guilty of a push. At first, Roberts was placed on the line for a one-and-one though everyone on press row agreed that Glenn Welton was the guy who should have been there.
  Somehow, Monroe was then placed at the line and swished the first shot.
  However, he missed the second and Costner rebounded. At the other end, William (Vernon) Hardwick missed a jumper and Costner was short with a tap before Welton hugged the ball at the buzzer while laying on the ground.
  "Vernon's shot looked like it was going to fall," Costner said. "Something told me to grab the rebound, but I didn't and that tap was lousy. I was kind of upset because i could have won the game right then and there."
  As it was, Costner won the game inside of 41 seconds as he converted twin feeds from Brown (sandwiching a Roman turnover) and had chances for three-point plays each time. He made only the second free throw, but 55-50 signaled the largest lead for either team and the damage was done.
  After the field goals, Overbrook followed with 11 free throws as Steve Black (6) and Costner (4) led the way.
  "For once I can say that I did feel pressure," Costner said, " especially when Roman had those three and four-point leads a couple of times. That's why my shots were going way over the rim.
  continued right below . . . 

Coach Mark "Max" Levin

League / Overall
1972: 11-3 / 15-7
1973: 2-0 / 3-8
1974: 9-4 / 12-10
1975: 12-2 / 19-3
1976: 10-3 / 16-7
1977: 13-1 / 23-4
1978: 14-1 / 21-6
1979: 14-1 / 34-1
1980: 14-0 / 34-0
1981: 8-7 / 11-15
1982: 11-1 / 21-7
1983: 6-2 / 21-5
1984: 5-7/ 6-20
1985: 10-3 / 14-10
1986: 6-7 / 13-12
1987: 9-4 / 12-12
1988: 10-3 / 18-7
1989: 7-6 / 13-11
18 Seasons, 1972-1989
League - 171-55
Overall - 306-145
Appearances Ended in  . . .
Quarterfinals (4)
1975, 1982, 1985, 1988
Semifinals (2)
1972, 1978
Finals (14)
1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1983
Note: 1973 team reached semis in Sonny Hill Winter League after teachers' strike ended PL season

Mike Tyson 1989 24.4
Lewis Lloyd 1977 21.6
Tony Costner 1980 20.4
Mich. "Moon" Black 1973 19.0
Mike Blackshear 1976 18.5
Carlton "C-9" Willis 1978 18.1
Rich Laurel 1972 18.1
Jack Congo 1973 17.0
Ahmad Gilbert 1983 17.0
Ricky Tucker 1979 16.9
Joe Washington 1979 16.8
Timmy Pounds 1982 16.8
Herman Willis 1983 16.5
Mike Blackshear 1975 16.4
Ed Urie 1985 15.9
Ricky Tucker
Joe Washington
Jeffrey Tucker
Richard Congo
Tony Costner
Tony Costner
Steve Black
Darryl "World" Brown
John Bryant
William "Vernon" Hardwick
Ahmad Gilbert
Herman "Coozie" Willis
Octavius "Tate" Davis
Walt Mitchell
Tommy Gilbert

  "But I came over to the huddle one time and Uncle Herb (Adams, a follower of the team and coach in community leagues)
said to keep my head, pretend I was at practice, just do the things that I always do. I just thought back to the drills we did in
October, how easy everything can be if you let it. It all worked out."
  As much of a snap as things seemed in the overtime, the Hilltoppers (34-0) were somewhat lucky to even get that far. A
baseline jumper by Black with 2:24 to go would provide the final points and they would miss their next five shots..
  Until the fourth quarter, Black was non-existent as a shooter and all facets of his game were affected.
  "As a basketball player, I have to mature," Steve said. "When I miss a shot, I really get down on myself. I try so hard to make
the next one and when I don't, I really get down on myself. If I can overcome this, I think I can become a really good player.
  "It was getting so late, I told myself, 'You haven't done a thing the whole game. You better start making a contribution.'
  "All I can say is that we're a pressure team. We've been involved in too many tough games not to hit the foul shots like we
did in the overtime."
  With 6:30 to go in regulation, Roman owned a 41-37 lead as Roberts stuck a jumper. However, sub Charlie Brown scuffled
for a three-point play and Hardwick canned a jumper on a pass from Black and Overbrook was back on top.
  Also, Big Tone was back in the game after incurring his fourth foul with 3:48 to go in the third quarter.
  "A few times," Costner said, "I've had to prove to people that I can stick it out with four fouls. I did it again tonight."
  Meanwhile, perhaps it is time to stick this 'Brook team on the same lofty plateau enjoyed by last year's team (34-1).
  "This one is sweeter," said Levin, "because I don't think anyone expected us to do it - including myself. You start out knowing
what Tony can do and that we usually have a good crop of players, but hard work is the only thing that will get you this far
with an undefeated record. Geez, even last year's team didn't do that."
  Last year's team, lest we forget, included a Tony Costner who was content to be one of five players, rather than the star.
This year, at specified times, Big Tone turned it on and turned it out, almost always in key games.
  And you better believe that last night's game was one of them. From an individual standpoint as much as a team standpoint.
  TITLE TIDBITS: Lonnie McFarlan finished 7-for-19 for 18 points and hit three straight shots in the fourth quarter when
the teams were trading leads . . . Terry Carter, the Panthers' usual starter at point guard, practiced only two days due to the flu
and was used sparingly as a sub . . . Mark (Max) Levin: "Before the overtime, I just said three little words: 'Get the ball to the
big guy.' That's six? (seven, actually). Three little words sounds better. That's the name of a pretty song." . . . Anyone who
faults Monroe for missing the second foul shot is nuts. He battled Costner all night from the back of Roman's zones and was
the major reason that his team stayed close . . . Costner won MVP honors for the second straight year. Overbrook went 89-7
in his three years as a starter.
This story was written in February 1978 after Overbrook ended West Philly's
68-game winning streak . . .


This story was written in December 1988 after Max claimed his 300th
career victory . . .

By Ted Silary
  Marla Levin would have celebrated her husband's 300th varsity basketball win by producing a cake.
  "She would have had a cake. She would have had a conniption, too," Mark ''Max" Levin said, warmly.
  But Marla Levin was not in attendance last night as Overbrook (7-4) defeated host Lower Merion, 44-42, in an
Ardmore Rotary Tournament consolation game and raised Max Levin's 18-year record to 300-138. Darrell
Briddell's follow shot with four seconds left was the game-winner, and other key contributions were Greg
Downing's two late steals and Mike Tyson's 22 points.
  Marla Levin was killed last June in an auto accident.
  A professional psychologist, she often had made time in her busy schedule to attend her husband's
games. It would not be exaggerating to say that Mrs. Levin derived pleasure equal to Max's from his
coaching career.
  That was why last night's win was so bittersweet.
  "Marla was such a part of this for all those years. It's such a shame she's not here to enjoy it," Levin said.
"The memory I'll always have is how she was behind me win or lose. If we won, she was the first to congratulate
me. If we lost, she was the first to console me. As far as support, a man couldn't ask for any more than what
I got from her.
  "I can picture her being here, getting a big kick out of it."
  On hand were Levin's daughters, Meredith, a freshman at the University of Wisconsin, and Maggie, a
sophomore at Lower Merion, as well as Marian Caplan, a friend and continuing source of strength.
  "My daughters were here, which was nice, and my new friend," Levin said. ''It helps when you have love
on both sides, when you get support from home and also from the kids you're working with at school.
Everyone has been great to me. Marian, especially. She has picked up where Marla left off. She really has."
  When Levin, 47, succeeded Paul Ward for the 1971-72 season, Overbrook was coming off consecutive
Public League and city championships. At the time, Levin also was the football coach, mostly because no one
else wanted the job.
  "Since I was so much younger then, a lot of people doubted - I think I doubted myself - whether I could do
the job," Levin said.
  Levin's first win came in his first game, Dec. 1, 1971, when Overbrook beat Cardinal O'Hara, 37-36, on
Tim Hardy's 20-foot jump shot.
  "I don't remember the first. Who cares?" said Levin, who resists personal recognition at every turn. "But I'll
ell you what - if I went back through all the scorebooks, I'll bet I could remember something about every game.
A player's performance. How the game went."
  Levin has produced three league champions. His 1978-79 team (Ricky Tucker, Joe Washington, Richard
Congo, Jeff Tucker, Tony Costner) finished 34-1 and was considered the best high school team in the country.
His 1979-80 team (Costner, Steve Black, Terry Carter, John Bryant, Darryl Brown) went 34-0, and the
1982-83 contingent (Octavius Davis, Herman Willis, Ahmad Gilbert, Tommy Gilbert, Walt Mitchell) was 21-5.
  Though nothing is definite, this season could be Levin's last.
  "I plan to keep on teaching, but maybe it's time to step down and give somebody else a chance," he said. "I
have a lot of responsibilities now. (Junior varsity coach) Rick Beckett would do a great job, I'm sure."
  Soon, Max Levin was ready to depart the locker room. And how did this native Philadelphian, who grew up
near 29th and Huntingdon streets, plan to celebrate?
  "With a cheesesteak, man," he said.
Recaps of victories in Public League finals/City Titles . . .

At the Palestra
Overbrook 63, Franklin 52
Ricky Tucker had 19 points and five assists and Jeffrey Tucker (no relation), Richard Congo and Tony Costner claimed 16 rebounds apiece for the Panthers, who went 34-1 to set the city record for wins in a season. Franklin's Vaughn Taylor had 20 points and 10 rebounds.
At the Palestra
Overbrook 72, Franklin 61
Tony Costner had 26 points and 14 rebounds for 'Brook (34-0), which set the city record for the highest number of wins in a perfect season. Darryl "World" Brown (15 points) and Steve Black (13) helped out. For Franklin, Earl Hightower (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Phil Burton (15, 12) did well inside and Kevin "Mug" Brown had 11 assists.
At Temple's McGonigle Hall
Overbrook 52, West 49 (ot)
Herman "Coozie" Willis (19) and Ahmad "Ahkkie" Gilbert (18) led Overbrook in scoring. With 0:38 left in OT, Octavius "Tate" Davis made two free throws to provide a 51-49 lead and Gilbert added another at 0:16. West then sandwiched a missed one-and-one by 'Brook with two misses from the floor. Marc Anderson had 11 points and nine rebounds for West.
At the Palestra
Overbrook 61, Roman 49
Tony Costner, a 6-9 junior, mixed 23 points and nine rebounds as the Panthers (34-1) set a city-leagues record for wins in a season. Ricky Tucker (12) and Jeffrey Tucker (10, 14 rebounds) also scored in double digits while Joe Washington dished six assists. Lonnie McFarlan scored 14 points for Roman, which opted to hold the ball when faced with a four-point deficit with 3:04 left in the third quarter.

At the Palestra
Overbrook 65, Roman 56 (OT)

Overbrook put the finishing touches on a 34-0 season -- the best record in city-leagues history -- as Tony Costner collected 23 points and 15 rebounds, Darryl "World" Brown added 14 points and five assists and John Bryant (12 rebounds) and Steve Black split 20 points. Costner scored eight points in a 15-6 overtime session. With 0:11 left in regulation, Roman's Randy Monroe went to the line for a one-and-one. He hit the first shot to create a 50-50 tie, but then missed the second. William "Vernon" Hardwick (jumper) and Costner (tap) missed shots for 'Brook to make necessary the first OT session in the series since 1943. Gerald Roberts (21) and Lonnie McFarlan (18) led Roman in scoring while Monroe (14) and McFarlan (13) were tops in rebounds.  


Below are the players who helped Mark "Max" Levin claim 306 wins, three Public League championships
and two City Titles in 18 seasons as the coach at Overbrook. 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.

Rich Laurel 1972 Ricky Tucker 1979 Ed Urie 1985
Tim "Tiny" Hardy 1972 Richard Congo 1979 Charles Fisher 1985
Craig Brown 1972 Joe Washington 1979 Troy Horton 1985
Craig West 1972 Jeffrey Tucker 1979 Blair Menefee 1985
Charlie Samuels 1972 John White 1979 Jhamiel Lowry 1985
Willie Kelly 1972 George Ellis 1979 Sean Clarkson 1985
Don Taylor 1972 Chuckie Cobb 1979 Richard Gaines 1986
Dave Shepard 1972 Craig Randall 1979 Barry Young 1986
Joel Fowler 1972 Tony Costner 1980 Ron Williams 1986
Joe Kennedy 1972 Darryl "World" Brown 1980 David Campbell 1986
Kenny Wiggins 1972 John Bryant 1980 Orlando "Coach" Williams 1986
Darryl Peterson 1972 Terry Carter 1980 Eric Cofield 1986
Jack Congo 1973 Steve Black 1980 Rahman Phillip 1986
Dave Williams 1973 Wm. "Vernon" Hardwick 1980 Allan Hagans 1986
Ricky Watson 1973 Eric Lewis 1980 Jerome Herring 1986
Kevin Allen 1974 Charlie Brown 1980 Jerome Harrison 1986
Michael "Moon" Black 1974 David Lacy 1981 Lacey Moore 1986
Tony Johnson 1974 Quadii McMillan 1981 Troy Lindsey 1986
Jose Vega 1974 Peter Scarborough 1981 Thomas Jefferson 1986
Roger Gaymon 1974 Kevin Palmer 1981 Rob McCrea 1987
Charles Gunter 1974 Reggie Darden 1981 Emmanuel Rothwell 1987
Barry Chambers 1974 Greg Kelly 1981 Jerome Golden 1987
Fred White 1974 James Pittman 1981 Marcus Burns 1987
Bernard Lopez 1974 Harrod Clay 1982 Andre Shuler 1987
Renaldo Askew 1974 Jerry Lawson 1982 Chris Roney 1987
Michael Washington 1975 Keith Glover 1982 James Guess 1987
Fred Lee 1975 Darnell Horn 1982 Charles Jackson 1987
James Brown 1975 Timmy Pounds 1982 Tennyson Lewis 1987
Keith McDonald 1975 Mike Lucas 1982 Marc Whaley 1988
Darryl White 1975 Gary Yuille 1982 David Mitchell 1988
Mike Goodman 1975 Dwayne King 1982 Ricardo Akins 1988
Leonard Watson 1975 Octavius "Tate" Davis 1983 DeHaven Peterson 1988
Tyrone Kidd 1975 Mike Mitchell 1983 Tony Simmons 1988
Mike Blackshear 1976 Ahmad Gilbert 1983 Kevin Everett 1988
Greg Powell 1976 Herman "Cooz" Willis 1983 Kevin Black 1988
Keith White 1976 Walt Mitchell 1983 Leonard Holland 1988
Mike Montgomery 1976 Bruce Hannibal 1983 Donald Watkins 1988
Robert Carter 1976 Russell King 1983 Claude Turner 1988
Howie McCutchen 1976 Patrick Grant 1983 Mike Tyson 1989
Elton Jolly 1976 Tommy Gilbert 1984 Darrell Briddell 1989
Warren Parker 1976 Brian Robinson 1984 Norman Bell 1989
Lewis Lloyd 1977 Steve Butler 1984 Kyle Jones 1989
Darrell Jones 1977 Dion DuBoyd 1984 Charles Cook 1989
Timmy Whitaker 1977 Mike Ramsey 1984 Gregory Downing 1989
Eugene Graham 1977 Clyde Jones 1984 Mike Ballard 1989
Frank Johnson 1977 Darren Price 1984 James Costner 1989
Arnold Medley 1977 Paul Slaughter 1984 Kevin Bennett 1989
Carlton "C-9" Willis 1978     Kobie Smith 1989
Carl Lacy 1978     Bryant Barr 1989
Steve Sanders 1978     Terry Hudson 1989
Blair Floyd 1978        
Bruce Floyd 1978        
Scott Lattany 1978        
Anthony Farmer 1978