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Hall of Fame Member Bios 1999

View: Alphabetical List - Members by Induction Class - Biographies

John Smith achieved greatness as both a player and coach. As a senior he was active in football, basketball and baseball. He was especially proficient on the court, leading his team in scoring and rebounding. The prestigious honor, Athlete of the Year, was awarded to Smith at the school graduation.
Smith went on the Rutgers Sough Jersey and played basketball and baseball. At the time of his graduation in 1955, he virtually owned the school’s basketball record book.
He returned to his scholastic alma mater, where he served as head coach in both baseball and basketball. He served as an assistant in football. During his eight years as head basketball coach he produced some of the finest teams in Collingswood hoops history. Among his prized pupils is Gary Williams, now the ultra-successful coach at the University of Maryland.

Although born with a disease that prevented him from playing sports, Olas Winters ranks as one of Collingswood’s true all-stars. In high school he was manager of the football and baseball squads, positions he handled capably.
He was much more, though, than proficient in his duties. The athletes of his day looked upon him as a true inspiration. His devotion to his job, and his constant support of those who played, made Olas Winters almost an icon to his contemporaries. After graduation, Skeets Irvine put him in charge of sideline equipment, a post he held until 1959. Despite his physical problems he earned a degree from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. He made this field his career.
A generation of Collingswood athletes salute Winters and welcome him into the Colls High Hall of Fame.

In 1930, Hughes served as quarterback in a backfield that also included Jack Earle and Bill Conover. He was the field leader of a unit which only lost to Vineland, 7-6.
Football was but one of his athletic activities. Over his three years in the high school he earned eight letters. He was elected captain of the track and field squad and also lettered in basketball and tennis. He ranks as one of Collingswood’s finest all-around athletes. Hughes also excelled in other areas, serving as president of the Class of 1931 and lead in the school’s senior plan.

In the spring of 1938 at the South Jersey Championship Track and Field Meet, Gordon Magee ran the 100-Yard dash in 9.7 seconds and the 220 in 21.4, marks that would, even today, be considered exceptional.
Magee recalls that day, “Skeets was never one to offer high praise but on that afternoon he came up to me and said, “Mac, you are hot today!” There can be little doubt he is the greatest sprinter in Colls history. He also cleared 22 feet in the broad jump, a distance that dominated his era.
In his later years he ran for Compton Junior College in California, a national power at the time. He enjoyed a splendid junior year at Tennessee before the Army grabbed him. Afterwards his running days were over.

Crane had the honor of serving as captain for the first Colls High basketball team to capture the South Jersey Group 4 championship. That was in 1940, Crane’s third year as a starting guard. Ken was a fine outside shooter and skilled ball-handler. He was recognized as one of the area’s finest backcourt men.
He lettered in football his junior year and became starting center on a squad that went 8-2 on the season. He received honorable mention on the All-South Jersey Group 3 Team.
After serving in the Marines in the South Pacific, Crane joined the Collingswood Police Force as a patrolman and rose through the ranks to become the borough’s chief of police. During his long reign as chief, he is credited with modernizing the department.

Contemporaries of Hank Deighan always speak first of his extraordinary competitive drive. George Pims, his teammate on the unbeaten 1942 championship gridiron squad, stated: “ Whenever we were playing pick-up football or baseball games in the park, the rules were simple – we played until Hank’s team got ahead!”
Chosen All-Group 4 tackle in 1942, Hank’s superlative two-way play brought the respect of all. He was a reserve on the title team of 1940 and saw regular action in 1941.
In baseball he was the regular catcher for three years and had World War II not intervened, Deighan would most certainly have received professional playing offers. He later coached successfully at Camden Catholic. In 1961 he was selected Coach of the Year for producing a perfect-record unit.

Collingswood’s 1944 football squad jumped off to a fast start and then slumped to suffer a rare losing season. Joe Hinger was one of the reserves who decided that their senior year would be different.
He was chosen team captain and was the inspirational leader of a squad which finished with a record of 8-1-1 and captured the South Jersey Group 4 title. His play was so outstanding that he was selected All-South Jersey center. Teammates recall that his competitive drive equaled his remarkable ability.
During his days at CHS, Hinger also earned two letters in track as a discus thrower and also performed with distinction on the school’s swim team. Teammate Eivind Barth, another force in the football team’s revival, said simply” “Joe Hinger was a winner.”

An Oaklyn product, Betty Wallstin of the Class of 1951 was a top all-around athlete for the Panthers. She played three years of hockey, basketball and softball and even worked in a swim season during her Colls career. As a result, she is one of a select few Colls athletes to earn ten varsity letters.
Betty was a main cog in the Colls hockey tem that went undefeated and won the conference championship in her senior year. Her junior season team also won the conference title. Betty also captained the basketball team in her senior year.
It is with great pride that Betty accepts this honor in the same year that her daughter, Deborah, was inducted into the West Deptford High School Hall of Fame.

John Reier was an outstanding football and basketball player at Colls High in the late 1950’s. He was an intense competitor and recognized team leader in both sports.
Reier was a two-way end and punter for the 1957 and ’58 football teams, the latter the famous “Golden Eleven.” He was a first-team All-Group 4 end and received the “Outstanding Lineman Award” for the Golden Eleven.
A forward on strong Collingswood basketball teams, Reier was a tenacious rebounder and double-figure scorer for the Panthers. He received the Al Usilton Award as the outstanding basketball player in 1959 and was an All-Group 4 second teamer in both his junior an senior years.

Ed Friberg was an outstanding football and baseball player on some of Collingswood High’s greatest teams in both sports. A halfback, Friberg ran for over 1,000 yards in both his junior and senior years. He concluded his gridiron career with 29 touchdowns and over 3,000 yards gained.
His junior team of 1965 won the Colonial Conference with an 8-1 record and his senior contingent (which he co-captained with John Sohanchek) was 9-0 and won the Courier-Post trophy as the first number-one ranked team in South Jersey in the Brooks-Irvine poll. Friberg was voted to the All-South Jersey and All-Group 3 first teams.
In baseball, Friberg was a standout on Collingswood teams that won the South Jersey Group 3 championships in both his sophomore and junior years. He batted .444 in his junior year and co-captained the team.

Like fellow inductee Ed Friberg, Sandy Woodside was a member of the athletically-outstanding Colls Class of ’67. She lettered for three years each in field hockey and lacrosse, as well as one year in basketball.
While Friberg’s football team was going undefeated in the fall of 1966, Woodside’s hockey team duplicated that feat and she was captain and MVP of that Colonial Conference championship squad.
Woodside was a member of the first lacrosse team established at Collingswood High and received the Outstanding Player Award in her junior year.

Joe Falana was Collingswood High’s first soccer goalie, first soccer captain and first all-star in that sport. For three straight years he was named All-Colonial Conference. He was soccer MVP as a sophomore and junior and was named the school’s Outstanding Senior Athlete in 1970-71.
While Falana is best known for his soccer achievements, he was also a three-year regular in baseball and won All-Conference honors in his senior year. He went on to stand out in both sports at the University of Scranton and also earned four letters in ice hockey.
Falana has achieved an incredible record coaching soccer at Haddonfield High. In 24 years at the helm, his teams have won six state championships, eight South Jersey Group 1 titles and more conference titles (14, including 12 straight) than any other program in South Jersey. This past season he went over the 400-win mark as a coach.

Collingswood High School’s last Skeets Irvine-coached team ranks with the best of the 30-year tenure of the great coach, finishing a difficult schedule unbeaten and untied.
The final victory, a 20-6 conquest of Woodbury on Thanksgiving Day, proved to be a date that mixed elation with deep sadness. On the same afternoon, Irvine died at age 51 in the hospital. Two weeks previously Collingswood downed Haddonfield, also by a 20-6 score, as Irvine and his respected friend and foe, the Haddons’ Cy Marter, exchanged greetings after the game.
It was the last time Skeets Irvine stepped upon a football field. He was hospitalized and had the next week’s victory over Audubon phoned in to his hospital bed. Even then, the public was not aware of how seriously ill he was.
It was the year that the community had dedicated to Skeets. A huge banquet was held at the Consistory in mid-season to celebrate his wonderful 30-year run to glory. But, there were rumors. His 1947 unit finished with a record of 3-5-2, a ledger uncharacteristic for the Colls. Some said he was losing his touch and the celebratory year was sort of “thanks for the memories” type of gala.
Ted Narleski, the inspirational captain and quarterback of the great squad, saw it differently. He commented, “We had a very young team in 1947 and it took us a while to get going. But, we could feel it coming. On Thanksgiving we ran all over a pretty good Woodbury team and I know that every player was looking forward to 1948. It was a group of guys with great desire.”
The fates decreed that the entire year was filled with drama. The banquet was scheduled the Monday after the Bridgeton game which proved to be the sternest test of the year. Collingswood prevailed, 6-0, as Larry Schuman plunged over for the only score.
Many of those who wrote the final chapter of the Irvine regime are with us tonight. It is probably fitting that the men who started most of the games should be mentioned. Captain Narleski and Gordon Leslie were superb backs, both of whom earned All-South Jersey recognition during their scholastic days. Three excellent juniors, Schuman, Don DeMartin and Ben Addiego completed the backfield.
The ends were Sherwood Joy and Varon Schwalbe. Ed Shankin and Bob Buchanan held forth at tackle. The guard spots were manned by Bill Bozarth and Jim Hankins, while Ed Vekony held forth at center.


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