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CARL KOLOGIE: 'Black Jocks' back in town

by on July 27, 2014 1:49 AM

Guess who was back in town this week?

Maybe you saw them and didn’t recognize who they were, but the “Black Jocks” were in Indiana for several days to celebrate their silver anniversary.

Although most of them graduated in 1951, this group of Indiana High School footballers have been meeting on a regular basis for the past 25 years.

And it has not always been in Indiana. They have met in Harrisburg; Sapphire Valley, N.C.; New Baltimore, Mich.; Hartsville, Ohio; Sarasota, Fla.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Winter Haven, Fla., and Litchfield, S.C.

Last Sunday I caught up with them at The Coney in Indiana. And what could be a more fitting place? One of the original Black Jocks, who went on to play at the University of Pittsburgh and in the East-West Shrine Game, was the late Bob McQuaide, whose family still owns the popular bar along Philadelphia Street.

In fact, McQuaide’s widow, Donna, joined the group for lunch.

The last time the Black Jocks met in Indiana for their reunion was in 2011, and prior to that it was in conjunction with their 50th Indiana High School class reunion in 2001.

Although their numbers have dwindled, as they are all in their early 80s, they still love to boast about the undefeated and untied team of 1951 and the fact that in two years, ’50 and ’51, they only had 27 points scored against them — 15 in 1950 and 12 in 1951.

The head football coach at that time was Vic Fusia, whom they all respected and who eventually went on to become the head coach at the University of Massachusetts.

Other coaches included Sam Lengel, Woody Banks and Charley McIntosh.

Fusia was a taskmaster and they all agreed that he coached football year around. There were only five members in town this week: Andy Stavres, Florida; Barry Balint, Harrisburg; and Abby Calegero, Cy Dubinski and Joe “Snook” Kinter, all of Michigan.

o o o

We were impressed by singer/song writer Phil Vassar, the headliner at the 40th annual FOP Country Music Show at the J.S. Mack Community Center last week.

Besides entertaining the crowd with his voice and piano playing, he also kept the large gathering at ease with his banter between songs. He said this was not his first time in Indiana as he had also performed at the Quality Inn hotel along Wayne Avenue when it was the Best Western.

Sean Moran and Mark Garrick, both of Indiana, opened the show, which was sponsored by the Indiana County Fraternal Order of Police, Rhododendron Lodge No. 33.

Also featured was Larry Frick, a singer and songwriter from Louisburg, N.C.

o o o

What a surprise when we looked up and saw Alex Staszkiewicz, of Indiana, on the big screen at PNC Park. We were there for the Pirates-Dodgers game on Monday evening.

Staszkiewicz was asked to select the correct total number of bulbs in the light standards at PNC and he would win a Pirates jacket worth about $150.

He guessed wrong, with 704. The answer is 642, and all he won was a slinky.

Carl Kologie is a columnist for The Indiana Gazette.
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July 27, 2014 1:45 AM
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