Indiana, PA - Indiana County

CARL KOLOGIE: Reception for Nance a success

by on August 31, 2014 1:50 AM

They came from everywhere.

New York, Delaware, New Jersey, Washington, D.C. And all with one purpose in mind, to pay tribute to the late James “Bo” Nance, who, without a doubt, was the greatest athlete who ever played a sport in this area.

A reception was held in the Indiana Area Senior High School gymnasium prior to the season opening football game where Indiana hosted Mars.

More than 50 people were in attendance, including 17 teammates who played with Nance during his high school career, from 1957 to 1960.

Included among the teammates in attendance:

• Quarterbacks Bill “W.H.” Spadafora, Chuck Spadafora, Joseph Dubinsky

• Backs Barry McKnight, Dave McNaughton, Jerry Kozusko, Tim Wilt, Bill Wilt

• Ends Chuck Sabatos, John Darr, Bill Kuzneski

• Tackles Jim Delaney, James Trimble

• Guards Tim Sexton, Slim Recupero

• Center Rod Ruddock

Jack Kurtz, the only remaining coach from that era, was unable to attend due to health problems but sent his regards.

He congratulated the members of the Nance family and said he was proud of the team members and their accomplishments.

A highlight at the reception was the emotional message of gratitude delivered by Nance’s daughter, Rachael Nance Wade, of New York.

She was one of 15 Nance family members in attendance, including his widow, Margie, brothers Drew and Gene, and sister Mae.

A replica James Nance Memorial Highway street sign was unveiled on the football field before the game.

Others at the reception representing the various entities involved in the naming of the highway included state Sen. Don White and state Rep. Dave Reed; Milt Lady, township manager, supervisor Gayle McCauley and Josh Krug, of White Township; Indiana superintendent Dale Kirsch and high school principal Wade McElheny; and Mike Shanshala, maintenances services engineer at PennDOT.

And to cap the evening, the Lil’ Indians came from behind to defeat a heavily favored Mars team, 29-26.

It was the perfect ending and, as someone said, “Jim Nance would have been proud.”

Just inside the lobby of the Indiana gymnasium is an area near the concession stand that has been dedicated to Nance.

Framed replicas of the jerseys he wore at Indiana High School, Syracuse University (thanks to Syracuse alum Bob Marcus) and the Boston Patriots are on the wall surrounded with wrestling photos from his high school and college days.

Thanks to Pat Snyder, athletic director, who engineered this project and to Joe McNelis of the Framing Hut Gallery who donated much of his time and materials in framing the jerseys.

o o o

Well, the weather was good and so were the crowds at the Indiana County Fair this week.

The fair always signals a new school year and the beginning of the high school and collegiate football season.

Where did the summer go?


Carl Kologie is a columnist for The Indiana Gazette.
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