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Hall of Fame Member Bios 1993

View: Alphabetical List - Members by Induction Class - Biographies

Few individuals have given more to the Collingswood High School athletic program than Al Drulis. After playing football at Temple University and with the Chicago Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League, Al arrived in Collingswood in the late 1940’s.
He is best known for serving as head coach of the all-conquering 1958 football squad, the fabled Golden Eleven. That, however, is only a small part of the services he has rendered. He was assistant coach on the 1953 South Jersey basketball squad and has been an assistant in a variety of sports.
For many years he was the capable and dedicated trainer of Panther athletic squads. There, quite simply, was nothing that was needed that Al did not provide. His contributions have been unlimited.

Hazel arrived in Collingswood in 1930 and for the next decade the girls athletic program was in superior hands. In field hockey she directed her team to three area titles and finished second five times. During her ten-year period as court coach her teams tasted defeat but 16 times.
She was equally successful in basketball as her teams were annually among the best in South Jersey. She also helped the girls’ program in a variety of ways and was one of those primarily responsible for making Collingswood strong in girls as well as boys sports.
She married and left teaching but her contributions are well remembered.

Jimmy Picken starred at Collingswood as a football lineman, basketball guard, and baseball catcher. He went on to gain All-American honors in basketball at Dartmouth, and served as bullpen catcher on the fabled 1927 Yankees.
He returned to South Jersey to coach powerful teams at Audubon in basketball, baseball and football. His 1937 football team was the unofficial Group 3 state champions.

Harry Hales was one of the dominant linemen of the Irvine era. He was named All South Jersey tackle for his outstanding play on the 1935 championship team. He was on his way to All-Star recognition as a junior but suffered a mid-season injury. He returned to perform brilliantly in the state championship game against Bloomfield.
Although a tackle, he was frequently moved to end by Irvine in passing situations. From this position he scored both touchdowns in a 12-0 1935 victory over South Philadelphia.
Hales was also a powerful rebounder in basketball and a consistent scorer in the weight events in track and field.

Howdy Roberts had the honor of scoring the first touchdown of the Irvine era. He was a three year starter in football, basketball and baseball.
He was a star end on the 1920 and 1921 championship teams. Howdy also starred in the 14-13 victory over Camden in 1922, the first Colls team to defeat Camden. In that game he was switched to quarterback, because of an injury to the regular quarterback, and played superbly.

Cliff Rubicam’s last minute field goal gave Collingswood a 9-7 victory over Camden. He was one of the finest kickers and punters of the Irvine years. An inspirational player, he was captain as a senior.
After attending Temple, he coached football at Woodbury and then returned to Collingswood as assistant coach of the championship team of 1942.
In 1949, following the death of Irvine, he became head coach and led his team to the Group 4 championship. In 1956 he moved to Florida.

One of Collingswood’s finest all-around athletes, Laux starred in football, baseball and basketball. He lettered as a freshman on the unbeaten team of 1932, then played the next three years as a regular. In his final two years he was named All-South Jersey, and in his senior football season of 1935 was selected All-State.
Both the 1934 and 1935 teams earned South Jersey titles and Laux starred as a runner, passer, place-kicker and linebacker. He also was a three year starter in baseball and basketball. He played football at St. Joseph’s College and for two years was a backup quarterback with the Philadelphia Eagles.
After playing independent baseball and football for years in the South Jersey area he moved to California where he passed away.

Although an end, Schaeffer was the leading scorer on the 1936 Group 4 championship football team. His long touchdown runs on end-around plays brought victories over Vineland and Woodrow Wilson. His brilliant play brought him All-South Jersey honors.
He was a regular on Ben Mark’s 1936-37 unit which won the Camden Suburban League title. In track he was the state Champion in the pole vault.
Recruited by the University of Southern California, Schaeffer was a top vaulter on one of the top track and field teams in the nation. He has spent most of his adult life in California.

Claire was a four sport (hockey, basketball, tennis and softball) athlete at Colls High from 1940-44. In her senior year, she captained the hockey team and was a standout on the basketball team that won all its’ league games.
Claire also had an outstanding athletic career at Temple University and was elected to the Temple Hall of Fame in 1985. She has devoted her adult years to teaching, coaching and building women’s sports organizations in South Jersey.
She has produced 235 wins and many outstanding teams during 20 years of coaching basketball at Holy Cross High School. Claire has served on many basketball and hockey organizations and has received numerous awards for her years of service. She is now retired from her teaching career.

Ruth was one of the many outstanding Colls High athletes produced by the borough of Oaklyn. She credits Ruth Woolston Pond with starting her on the path to sports success.
Ruth starred in hockey, basketball and softball at Collingswood and is best remembered as captain of the undefeated 1950 hockey team, one of the school’s best ever. She was the outstanding female athlete in a class of great athletes and received the 1951 Girls Athletic Award.

Blessed with exceptional speed, Al Leslie could have been a top sprinter. In the springtime though, his thoughts turned to baseball where he played so well for coach Bill Diemer that he was sought by many major league organizations. Upon graduation he did play professional baseball for four years.
On the gridiron he used his speed and elusiveness to gain All South Jersey honors as a halfback on the championship team of 1945. He was a starting guard in basketball, which completes the trifecta of having been a regular for Hall of Fame coaches, Diemer, Skeets Irvine and Ben Mark.
He now lives in retirement in Tampa, Florida.

While three-sport athletes were common in the days before specialization, only a handful truly excelled in all. One of those gifted performers was Gordon Leslie.
He was an All South Jersey halfback in his junior year of 1947. The next season he was off to one of the greatest starts of any Collingswood running back until an injury reduced his playing time. He still was named All Group 4 in 1948 and was a key member of Irvine’s last championship team.
In basketball he was a top scorer and exceptional rebounder. On the diamond he was a tremendous hitter and fleet baserunner. Many professional teams bid for his services but he opted to go to Lafayette College where he starred for three years and served as captain his senior year. He is retired and lives in Clearwater, Florida.

Al Ferner was a key player on Coach Jack McCloskey’s South Jersey Group 4 championship basketball team of 1953. The next season he set a school scoring record and was named the outstanding player on a team which reached the sectional finals.
In football he earned All-Group 4 honors as an end who was a brilliant pass receiver
and competent blocker. He lettered in baseball as a player who willingly served in a variety of positions, including catcher.
He went to LaSalle where he captained the basketball squad and was recognized as one of the top players in the city at a time when the BIG FIVE was at its peak. He is now a school superintendent in Burlington County.

The Golden Eleven of 1958 is a unit that has become part of Collingswood athletic lore. The quarterback and signal caller of that all-victorious squad was Ron Giordano who excelled as a passer, runner and on-the-field leader.
He was point guard on a powerful basketball team, which narrowly missed winning the South Jersey Group 4 title. He also was a regular player, contending baseball nines where he spent part of the time as a true rarity, a southpaw second baseman.
His collegiate career at Bucknell was as successful as his scholastic days at Collingswood. Starting as 7th string quarterback, he emerged as Little All-America. He then played professional football in the strong minor league circuits that then were a part of the football landscape.

Denny was an outstanding and versatile athlete, lettering in three sports his junior and senior years and two sports as a sophomore. He was a member of four championship teams, two of which were undefeated.
He was a key member of the 1965 and 1966 Colonial Conference championship football teams, performing as an offensive receiver, defensive end, punter and placekicker. In wrestling, Denny helped lead his team to two consecutive Colonial championships in 1966 and 1967. He was a district champion at 157 pounds in his senior year. He also lettered in track for three years and was an outstanding miler.
John Dennis Leary made the supreme sacrifice while serving his country in the Vietnam War.
“It is for his truly inspirational performances in the face of adversity, his silent leadership, as well as his selfless concern for his teammates that we remember John Dennis Leary” says Coach Sam Coursen.

In his years as a top reliever with the Cleveland Indians, many of his rivals felt that Ray Narleski threw the best fastball in the American League. It came as no surprise to many South Jersey scholastic players who had the misfortune to face him when he was setting strikeout records for coach Bill Diemer’s Panthers.
He signed with Cleveland out of high school and was a key member of the Indian pitching staff which accumulated a record 111 victories.
In high school, besides his pitching prowess, he lettered as a reserve quarterback on the championship football team of 1946 and then served as co-captain of the 1947 unit. His leg was as strong as his arm as many of the kickoffs landed in the enemy end zone.

Ferne was one of the best all-around athletes at Colls High during the decade of the 1960’s. She lettered for three years in both field hockey and basketball and for two years in softball, as well as playing on the tennis team.
Ferne captained the field hockey team in her senior year and, in all sports, was known for her competitive spirit and will to win. She received the South Jersey Conference Gold Medal for “Athlete of the Year” in 1962-63.
After a fine collegiate career at East Stroudsburg, Ferne has become known as one of the top women’s basketball coaches in the nation –, first at Trenton State College and for the last five years at the University of Miami (Fla.) She was Big East “Coach of the Year” in 1991-92, when her Lady Hurricanes won 28 straight games.

Steve captained, and, along with Tim Wright, led the 1967-68 basketball team to the South Jersey Group III finals. That team had the most wins (28), the best record and scored more points than any other Panther team.
Steve scored 1,131 points in three years and had an amazing field goal percentage of 64%. In his senior year, he was All-Conference, All-South Jersey and first team All-State, the first Colls player so named in 25 years.
A two-year letterman in tennis, Steve ranked in the top ten scholastically in his class and went on to achieve both academic and basketball honors at Rutgers University. He and his family now reside in Israel.

Cathy is known to be the only Collingswood High athlete to achieve All-South Jersey honors in three sports. She was a four-year performer in tennis and a three-year starter in basketball and lacrosse.
She was All-Colonial Conference for four years and All-South Jersey for three years in tennis. Cathy was also first team All-Colonial Conference and first team All-South Jersey in basketball.
In lacrosse, Cathy was captain of the 1982 state championship team, its leading scorer and MVP. She was named the “Offensive Player of the Year” by the Courier-Post and was first team All-South Jersey. A member of the National Honor Society at C.H.S., Cathy was the first female recipient of the Colonial Conference Scholar-Athlete Award in 1982.
She went on to have an outstanding career at Lehigh University, where she earned a degree in accounting. Cathy is now putting her accounting ability to good use by balancing the ledgers for the Hall of Fame committee.

For the third straight year, a member of the Rossell family is being inducted into the Collingswood Athletic Hall of Fame. Hank Rossell, Jr., an outstanding athlete of the 1970’s, follows his father (Hank, Sr., of course) and aunt Louise Godshall into the Hall of Fame.
Hank, Jr. lettered for three years each in football, basketball and baseball. An outstanding lineman, he was co-captain of a championship football team and received many individual honors – including first team All-Colonial Conference, first team All-Group III and first team All-South Jersey. He also received the coveted Brooks-Irvine Scholar-Athlete Award.

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