‘ONE DISASTER AFTER ANOTHER’: entry #20 from — “A history of the events of the Allentown College’s 1972-1973 B-ball season …

Posted on Feb 04, 2013


This CENTAUR SEASONS post was written on February 4, 1973.

PREVIOUS GAME: Centaurs 47, Messiah College 76, yesterday

NEXT GAME: at Wilmington College, in two days


The results of our team meeting late last week were immediately evident in the locker room that same night. We all felt as though we could’ve taken on the world after that meeting. We were high. We were no longer down after our seven losses in a row.

Results of our team meeting were immediately evident at practice the next day. too. Gary Cacciatore was now pushing Joey Thompson, and Dennis Ramella and Jerry Fleming were going at it, and Dave Gliemi was playing Bobby Stormes, not Bob Hoeffner, who played Chris Cashman. And so on. The scrimmages were much better. We were constantly being forced by new and different situations and faces.

But not enough was new. Last night we lost to Messiah College, 74-47.

We were, understandably, all ready to go, against one of the best teams we face all year. We stayed with them for most of the first half. We were only down 2 with three minutes to play. At the half we were down 11.

The second half was one disaster after another.

I didn’t start, and I played only 18 minutes all told. But I had 10 points and 11 rebounds. And as P.J. Brennan said, it was evident that when I was in there I was dominating the game.

Nonetheless, I don’t think I played a good game. When it was out of reach I hit three quick ones from distance, which made me look really super. But what sticks in my mind are the two shots that hit the top of the backboard, my four turnovers and terrific dribbling exhibitions which ended up in two points for them – they have stolen the ball.

My mother brought a bus load of her friends (mine as well) to the game. My home town of York, Pennsylvania, is maybe 30 miles away. They all thought I played fantastic. Especially the four crazy kids sitting courtside right behind me when I hit those three rainbow jumpers. Their names will go unmentioned, my own private cheering section.

Actually, I was rather relieved after the game. Ten points and 11 ‘bounds is a pretty good night’s work. As I said to my mother, these people see Greg Flick (a good friend of mine who plays for my alma mater, York Catholic High School – where I never played) twice a week for 11 weeks. They are able to make a fairly good judgment on how good he is. I get one chance a year. Last year it was the York College game at their place. This year, Messiah.

It was rather a relief that although we got drubbed I was a success in their eyes. But I must admit that losing by so much really made me feel embarrassed and humiliated. Even though as my mother said, these people weren’t here to pass judgment, they were here merely to see me because they like both my mom + me.

But there was one man there. I’ll call him Mr. Brown. This Mr. John Brown is a very knowledgeable man when it comes to basketball. He played as big-time as there was, back in the early, right-before-the-NBA days. And as I said to my mother, last year against York College, the only person I wanted to impress was Greg Flick. This year I knew the only man who would make me nervous and make me want to play well was John Brown. I would place money that he wasn’t impressed with me, or the team.

After the game I accompanied my mother to the bus. I didn’t want to get on, but my mom asked me to. I did, and of course everybody cheered and clapped. But there was one face I looked for, and when it I saw him I could see that he was NOT impressed. The memory of that face will haunt me all summer long….

PREVIOUS GAME: Centaurs 47, Messiah College 76, yesterday

NEXT GAME: Wilmington College, in two days

1972-73 CENTAUR SEASON Schedule and Results:

12/1  — at Lehigh CCC — W/81-71 — 1-0

12-4 — at Northampton CCC — W/87-50 — 2-0

12-6  — EASTERN BAPTIST — L/73-75 — 2-1

12-12 — SPRING GARDEN — L/54-66 — 2-2

12-16 — PHILLY BIBLE — L/72-79 — 2-3

1-18   — at Baptist Bible — L/82-84 — 2-4

1-19  — WILMINGTON — L/56-71 — 2-5

1-25  — at Philly Pharmacy — L/56-71 — 2-6

1-30  — at Spring Garden — L/64-69 — 2-7

2-3   — at Messiah College — L/47-76 — 2-8

2-6   — at  Wilmington


2-16  — LEHIGH CCC

2-20  — MESSIAH





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Welcome to CENTAUR SEASONS: A ‘memory blog’ of the basketball beginnings of a half-good, half-bad, all-new college team.

Once, I was a Centaur.

I played basketball for Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales in Center Valley, Pa. I was on four of the school’s first seven teams, was MVP senior year and in 1974 graduated in the fifth class.

My junior year I kept a diary: A History of the Events of the 1972-1973 Allentown College B-Ball Season, as Chronicled by, and With the Personal Memoirs + Occassional [sic] Philosophizing of the Author, One Stephen J. McKee.  One-hundred-forty-five hand-writ pages. (Yes, I was an English major.)

But it occurs to me now: Were I today a “Bulldog” playing for “DeSales University” (both mascot and name changed in 2000), my private “History” would be not a diary but a blog.

So starting November 30  “…Personal Memoirs…” will be re-imagined as CENTAUR SEASONS

A blog before its time, posted 40 years after in real time.

Meanwhile, beginning on September 24, here at CENTAUR SEASONS the preseason has already tipped off, with stories, interviews and reminiscences of the people, the place and the purpose of those early years of Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales.

Check back often. Sign up for CentaurSeasonAlerts. Email CENTAUR SEASONS to friends.

We were not a bad team, we Centaurs. We just weren’t very good. Winning was always the goal, if never exactly the point. How could it be, with victories so few?

Back then Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales was a couple of buildings in some cornfields.  Our commitment to the school’s basketball program was far greater than was the school’s commitment us. So what? We got to play college ball – and paid for the privilege! In return, we got to be part of a team, wear the red and blue, be Centaurs. And we got to create a place that was, right then, as much concept as it was college, making itself up as we went along.

What we got was a once-in-a-life-time chance.

All we had to do was keep showing up -- next practice, next game, next season. And so we did.