St. Matthew’s CYO
Back in the Day (Just a few photos below…)
Frank Zoltowski, a Montgomery County Coaches Hall of Fame 2008 inductee, and former St. Matthew’s CYO Coach recently handed me a pile of St. Matthew’s CYO banquet programs from years past, he thought I might get a kick of browsing through them. My first thought was ‘Oh NO,” but then I realized that no I didn’t have to write and photograph it, I could sit back and reminisce about it.
For those of you who don’t understand the “OH NO” statement, well, throughout the 1980’s and I think into the 1990’s I was invited as a “Special Guest” not only to the St. Matthew’s CYO Banquet, but I was also a “Special Guest” at the SS Cosmas & Damian CYO Banquet, I may have even covered one or two St. Mary’s Banquets over the years.
As a “Special Guest,” I mean I was really special, after eating my hot dog or burger I was required for the next three and a half to four hours to take what seemed like hundreds of pictures, and write down every team member and every award, (Thank God for Donna) and then write a lengthy article for the Conshohocken Recorder Newspaper. This is where it really sucked, usually SS Cosmas would hold their four hour banquet in the church hall on a Sunday night, St. Matthew’s would hold their four hour banquet the following night at the Fellowship House.
Now before you shoot off all them nasty e-mails, when I say it really sucked it had nothing to do with the children, but everything with having to sit for eight hours in a 24 hour period and snap pictures and take notes. What’s worse for me was St. Matt’s usually had more than 100 kids participating in the different sporting events, and I’m guessing Cosmas had somewhere near the same number. The final blow, these two schools had some outstanding athletes, and the teams were very successful playing in district playoffs and then regional playoffs and then the all-time playoffs and on and on. This translates to me as having presented many more awards at the annual banquets, meaning more photographs and writing for me.
With all that being said and I hope those of you involved understand where I was coming from, and God Bless all the parents that sat through the many banquet hours. I loved the programs, I loved the coaches who put in a tremendous amount of time, and after all many of the participating teams provided a very exciting time in the borough.
During the mid-1980’s I of course can remember Frank Zoltowski coaching, Frank was a pretty good coach and he was always one hundred percent for the kids. As I thumb through the programs all of the coach’s names come rushing back in my memory. I remember the Maloney girls coaching volleyball, Maureen and Susan, Janet Galleo coached girls’ basketball, I think the Maloney girls might have helped out in basketball as well. Then you had an old friend of mine Jimmy Moore, Bill McAvoy, I think Kevin Hollingsworth coached for a while, and a near and dear friend of us all Tony Santoni. I think Tony coached the baseball team with Harry Cunningham and Tom Kaufmann. Mikki Santoni, Fran Hildebrand, Colleen Leonard, Donna and Beth Pierce, Irene Coshin, Marybeth Donovan, Granny Jeffries, Megan Dougherty, Maureen Kendorski, Bill Kelly, and of course the baseball foursome of George Gebhardt, Bob Frost, Steve Irwin, and Bob Kliamovich, how would you like to listen in to a conversation at the pitcher’s mound with them four guys, you probably wouldn’t get a word in edge wise.
Just a few other coaches I remember giving time at St. Matthew’s CYO programs include Tammy Fletcher, Vicki Carter, it seemed like Dave Leonard was there forever, Maureen Kendorski, Tom Nolan George Woznicki, and if I’m not mistaken I think Jessica Frost was coaching for a year or two. Then I remember Sue Mangler, Tom Lawler, Roman Kubas, Chris Shaffer, Mike Baranowski, Betsy Royals, Chet Dugas, Tina Trasko, Doug Tracey, and Dana Shaffer.
Wow, as I dig through some of the programs from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s I recognize a few names like Kathy Conboy, Ted Zoltowski, Judy Ingram, Mary Smith, Trisha Smith, Bill Weychert, Joe Hatfield, Mary Ann Plower, Laurie Mascio, Kim Lesinski, Karen Wisniewski, I don’t remember if I mentioned Linda Hughes, Mark Ambler, Carolyn and Paulette Champagne.
No I didn’t mention every coach who ever participated in the St. Matt’s CYO program, but I just wanted to resurrect a memory or two for all the post baby boomers who may have participated over the years. Sometimes when you’re young and experiencing a program, you don’t always necessarily appreciate the time and effort a volunteer coach puts in, and sometimes reflecting back maybe you do, or can appreciate their contributions.
I’m not gonna name every kid who ever participated in the CYO program, but it’s funny looking back I mean I just opened a 1983 program, looking at names like Dana Racich, Erin McCarthy, the Maloney girls, Robyne Bondi, Mikey McNally, Mary Beth Donovan, Ray Bowman, Dave Minnick, Jennifer Pigeon, Renee Bonneau, Joe Seaner, Chris Kauffman, Jamie Hildebrand, Valerie Dunlevy, Alicia Ondik, Bernadette Hayes, Mary Dugan, and then of course the Hildebrand twins, Darlene and Arlene.
I want to say how it was a pleasure watching these kids play and grow, but the only thing I can think about is the fact, and forgive me ladies but it seemed like yesterday but these kids today are all about 40 years old or older, for goodness sake, most of them have children of their own, is it possible that some of them are nearing grandparent status? My, my, Father Time marches on, but my it’s always a pleasure to look back.
While flashing through the programs the one team that stands out, and I’m not gonna go check all the records to see if any team had a better record, let’s just say the one team that I remember as being exceptional, was the 1985 Boys Varsity Basketball Team. Those guys were 30-4, in any league, and sport, at any level a 30-4 record is a pretty amazing season. The leading scorer that year was Chris Kaufmann with 780 points, that’s nearly 23 points a game, how does an eighth grade kid score nearly 23 points a game. The Region 21 Champions also had Joe Seaner, Mike Schultz, Shawn Hollingsworth, Jamie Hildebrand and a number of other stand out players. I should really mention the boy’s baseball team from 1985 as they finished the season 8-2, a pretty good record for us. Schultz, Seaner, and Chucky Farrell all helped the team to victory.
This year, 2013 might be the final year for Conshohocken Catholic CYO involvement, formerly St. Matthew’s, SS Cosmas, and St. Mary’s CYO. Looking back on my years of covering games and printing the kids names in the paper I must say was a very busy time in my life, but for the kids, ah, to anyone, there’s nothing like “Glory Days,” and the kids who have participated in the youth programs, all I can say in in the words of Bruce Springsteen, “Glory days, they’ll make you smile.” As far as covering the back to back nights of the four hour banquets, well that’s another story. I hope all you kids who are now parents and grandparents appreciated it, of course you do.
Thanks for the memories Frank!
About Jack Coll
Jack Coll worked for the Conshohocken Recorder Newspaper for more than 25 years as a freelance writer and photographer. Over the course of a quarter of a century Jack published thousands of photographs and hundreds of articles many of them pertaining to the youth sports in Conshohocken, including but not limited to long drawn out CYO Banquets.
Jack also free-lanced for the Norristown Times Herald Newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer Newspaper, and many other newspapers and magazines. Jack along with his son Brian have published a dozen books and publications pertaining to Conshohocken and surrounding areas. Jack and Brian currently own and operate a custom frame shop located at 324 Fayette Street.