August 24, 2016 |
LA SALLE'S Mount Rushmore is Tom Gola, Kenny Durrett, Michael Brooks and Lionel Simmons. Whenever La Salle plays a game at Gola Arena, the players can look up from their bench to see the retired jerseys, the players having combined for 15 points shy of 10,000. Gola's team won the 1954 national championship and lost in the championship game the next year. Durrett may very well have been the most talented player ever in the Big 5. Simmons left school as the third-leading scorer in Division I history.
August 8, 2014 |
GUY RODGERS did not play basketball at Temple as a freshman. Instead, remembered Big 5 historian Jack Scheuer, the longtime Associated Press writer, Rodgers played in five rec leagues around the city. The backcourt on one of those teams was Rodgers and Scheuer. One night, they combined for 57 points - 52 for Rodgers, five for Scheuer. If Rodgers had a fan club, Scheuer would have been its president. He first saw Rodgers at Northeast High, followed him through Temple and a wonderful NBA career, mostly with the Warriors and eventually with the Bulls, Bucks and Cincinnati Royals.
August 5, 2014 |
FORMER Daily News high school sports writer Ted Silary has put together a nifty list of the top pros in basketball, football and baseball to come out of the city leagues. Silary, creator of legendary website, tedsilary.com, considered athletes from the Public, Catholic and Inter-Ac leagues to come up with a list of 15 finalists. He then enlisted the help of 22 friends and colleagues - including Daily News staffers Aaron "Ace" Carter, Ed Barkowitz, Bill Fleischman, Mike Kern, Pat McLoone and Bob "Boop" Vetrone Jr. - to vote for the "Great Eight" and "Still-Special Seven.
April 3, 2014 |
Jack Sherry, 81, of Drexel Hill, a two-sport star at Penn State and the captain of the Nittany Lions' only basketball team to reach the NCAA Final Four, died Monday night in Lankenau Hospital. Born in West Philadelphia, the oldest of six children, Mr. Sherry, a 1950 graduate of West Catholic, attended Penn State on a football scholarship. Playing offensive end and defensive back, he set a team record in 1952 with eight interceptions, a mark that stood until 1969. As a senior in 1954, he led the Nittany Lions in receiving yards and tied for the lead in receptions.
March 20, 2014 |
IT WILL, says Bill Raftery, be his first Big 5 doubleheader ever. The 70-year-old analyst, who played for La Salle from 1961-64, is working his 32nd NCAA Tournament. He will join Verne Lundquist and sideline reporter Allie LaForce when CBS broadcasts tomorrow's Saint Joseph's-Connecticut and Villanova-Milwaukee games in Buffalo. "I've been in the Palestra and done games, and I once did a tripleheader there many, many years ago, but no teams from Philly played in it," Raftery said yesterday.
February 3, 2014 |
In 1956, to enter the first-grade classroom at Incarnation of Our Lord Parish School in Olney, you had to climb a flight of outdoor steps. Near their base, as uninviting and spooky as a crypt, was a sunken doorway that opened to a dark and spookier basement gym. "Down there," our nun noted, in a tone so reverent she might have been describing the Bethlehem stable, "is where Tom Gola learned to play basketball. " It was a humble birthplace for a god. In case you missed the news, god is dead.
February 1, 2014
Threat on rails Given that lengthy trains just like the one that derailed over the Schuylkill last week pass through Philadelphia every day, this kind of accident seems almost inevitable ("Getting oil, tankers off the bridge," Jan. 29). When a similar train derailed and exploded in rural North Dakota earlier this month, residents were evacuated within a five-mile radius. Here that would encompass much of the city, including all the major hospitals. Are we prepared? A safety alert issued recently by the U.S. Department of Transportation warned the public, emergency responders, and shippers about the potential high volatility of crude from the Bakken oil patch.
February 1, 2014 |
Tom Gola helped Lionel Simmons navigate the purchase of his first home. And his first car. And secure his first sports agent. Gola persuaded La Salle University that Speedy Morris was the right man for the job, even if Morris lacked the necessary qualifications to be men's basketball coach. And Gola, Fran Dunphy said, "did not see black or white. He just saw people. " Gola, who died Sunday at age 81, was one of the city's all-time basketball greats, but at Thursday's funeral he was remembered for being much more.
January 31, 2014 |
LA SALLE University's Brother Joe Grabenstein used one word to describe Tom Gola during his eulogy yesterday morning. Genuine. Hundreds of people packed into St. Albert the Great Catholic Church to say goodbye to Gola one final time. Gola's family, plus friends, fans and Philadelphia basketball legends, were at the Huntingdon Valley church to remember Gola as an outstanding man. Gola died Sunday afternoon at age 81. He is still the NCAA's all-time leading rebounder, and is one of only two men to win an NIT, NCAA and NBA championship.
January 31, 2014 |
Mainly into their own thing, Tom Gola's La Salle players didn't necessarily focus on their coach's hectic life: driving to Harrisburg on Monday mornings for his duties as a member of the state legislature; leaving La Salle's practice that day to his assistants; staying over in the state capital; getting back Tuesday in time for the afternoon workout; keeping his fledgling insurance practice going. That team Gola coached: You don't get much debate calling La Salle's 1968-69 squad the best in Big Five history.