The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Sports

May 2, 2013

MERCER COUNTY NOTEBOOK: Photo stirs memories of one of county's best

OPINION — IT’S ONE of my favorite photographs from The Herald’s archives.

Pre-digital age, it’s a classic, glossy, black-and-white publicity photo issued from Wake Forest University’s athletic department, circa early autumn, 1967.

In it, the two men — a college basketball coach and his young, blossoming star — are smiling, easily. This is no Mike Rice moment. They’re relaxed, the harsh glare of Atlantic Coast Conference competition along legendary Tobacco Road having not yet begun.

Neil Johnston, Wake’s freshman team coach, poses, hands on knees, admiring his player. Poised in pseudo triple-threat, flaxen brown hair falling onto his forehead, adorned with his white canvas Chuck Taylor Converse high-tops, the 18-year-old’s whole life is ahead of him.

Whenever I look at that picture I long for those days and wish I’d grown up in Mercer County during the 1950’s — when Sharon and Farrell took turns alternating PIAA state championship game appearances — and the 1960’s, when the Mighty Mercer Mustangs manhandled opponents.

John Dale Swogger — Mercer mentor and mastermind of the Mustangs’ manic pace that approached the century mark almost every night — passed away a few months ago. And now, so has the easy-going kid from my favored photo.

I didn’t know him then, didn’t have the opportunity to see him play in high school or college. But I’ve always been infatuated with the stories: a pair of 50-point games as a high school senior, during which he scored 816 points — before the 3-point arc was established — 3-year starter at Wake Forest ... 4-year career in the Australian National Club League ... successful high school, AAU and college coach.

When he was inducted into Mercer County’s Hall of Fame during the organization’s 50th anniversary year of 1997, his classmates included some of the area’s hallowed hardwood hierarchy: Farrell’s Brian Generalovich, Jack Marin and Willie Somerset, and posthumously, one of his Mercer cage brethren and successors, Jerry Woods.

He and I became acquainted later in life. We even were Greenville Rec League teammates twice, and I’m not ashamed to admit to anyone reading this, that was a thrill for me.

Subsequently, as a sports writer for The Herald I had the opportunity to cover his daughters’ Slippery Rock High playing careers. What most impressed me about him was, while he could’ve doted and gloated — and rightfully so — he never did, choosing, instead a proud, albeit, low-key demeanor when discussing his daughters.

I think that’s what I admired most about Bob “Posey” Rhoads. If I could travel back across time and space, it seems to me — as successful as he was — he remained the same shy, smiling kid frozen for a moment in time in that photo.

Posey Rhoads passed away April 18. His legend will live forever!

Ed Farrell is assistant sports editor for The Herald

1
Text Only
Sports
  • NFL NOTEBOOK: Ex-Sharon star Austin hopes to spark Lions' defense

    THE TALENTED — albeit underachieving — Detroit Lions commence camp July 27 in Allen Park, Mich. as the National Football League prepares for the 2014 season.

    July 21, 2014

  • Fighting cancer Racing to fight cancer

    Former Hickory High athlete Amanda Budzowski is on the run — the run to raise money to fight cancer.
    Budzowski is part of Team in Training, an organization that has raised more than $1.4 billion for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society since forming in 1988. Her division is known as IRONTEAM and she is currently training for the 140.6-mile Ironman triathlon in Mont Tremblant, Canada, in August.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: Pirates, Indians need fast start after All-Star break

    SO FAR, so good. I’m referring to the start of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians after the All-Star break on Friday night.
    Both teams rallied to win. The Buccos beat the Colorado Joints — err, I mean Rockies — by coming from behind in the 8th inning. Since they legalized marijuana sales in that state, it gave new meaning to John Denver’s song “Rocky Mountain High.”

    July 20, 2014

  • Sky high Rutters earn spot in national motocross event

    The brother-sister racing duo of Elijah and Dannah Rutter of Mercer are set to travel to Hurricane Mills, Tenn., to compete soon in the prestigious 33rd annual Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships presented by AMSOIL at Loretta Lynn Ranch.
    Elijah, 18, and Dannah, 16, earned a ticket to the event with their performances at qualifiers and then regionals and are among the top 5 percent of riders in the U.S. Overall, 20,000 hopefuls from across the U.S. competed and there are only 1,446 qualifying spots at nationals.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sharon Football scramble Notebook: Sharon football greats meet, reunite at inaugural golf scramble

    Mid-July, with the temperature 80-plus degrees at Avalon at Buhl Country Club; however, it felt like a fall, football Friday.
    The inaugural Sharon Football Boosters 4-man golf scramble took place recently, and served as a Who’s Who in the Tigers’ triumphant tradition.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: All is right with the world - LeBron has come home!

    HAPPY DAYS are here again. The prodigal child has returned!
    The announcement that “King James” is returning to Cleveland has created a level of euphoria not seen since the Browns won the city’s last major sport championship a couple of years ago.
    What’s that? Oh, yeah — make that 50 years ago (1964).

    July 13, 2014

  • LeBron James Full text of LeBron's essay in SI

    LeBron James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday in an essay that he wrote for Sports Illustrated. The following is the full text of that essay.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Snyder, Gordon, Popatak named to All-State team

    Grove City High’s David Gordon, Sharpsville’s Greg Popatak and Lakeview’s Logan Snyder recently were named to the Pennsylvania High School Baseball Coaches Association all-state team.
    Synder was selected 1st-Team in Class A as a designated-hitter, while Gordon was honorably-mentioned in Class AAA and Popatak similarly was honored in AA. Gordon gained his laurels as a pitcher; Popatak as a 3rd baseman.

    July 10, 2014

  • Oprah lands first interview with Jerry Sandusky's adopted son, Matthew

    Matthew Sandusky, the adopted son of former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, is breaking his silence for the first time since his father's 2012 conviction on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, sitting down with Oprah to tell his story.

    July 8, 2014

  • County champs Little League Tournaments

    Sharon won the District 2 Major Division (12-year-olds) Championship, while Greenville 9-10 and West Middlesex 11 teams notched tournament victories in recent action.

    Hermitage Brennan Chiropractic won the Mercer County 14-under championship recently.

    Following are game reports:

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Cook The First Tee of Sharon celebrates 15th anniversary

    Professional golf star John Cook has received many honors and awards in his illustrious career, but probably none mean as much as those similar to the one he received Monday afternoon at The First Tee of Sharon.
    During a special ceremony to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the local program, a permanent plaque was unveiled in his honor describing the contributions he has made to junior golf.

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: John Cook here Monday for First Tee; other celebs on July 11

    THE RETURN of Tiger Woods to a PGA event sparked a lot of interest this past week. The return of John Cook to Buhl Farm Golf Course Monday will do the same locally.
    Cook, a standout on the Champions Tour and outstanding TV golf analyst, will conduct a clinic at 11 a.m. Monday at the course to help celebrate the 15th anniversary of The First Tee of Sharon program.
    It is open to the public at no charge.

    June 29, 2014

  • Tri-Athletes Hickory honors Tri-Athletes

    Hickory High honored its 2013-14 tri-athletes in a recent ceremony, the latest installment in a program that began in 2003-04.
    Fifty student-athletes (grades 9-12) were cited for having competed in at least one sport in the fall, winter and spring while maintaining a minimum B (85 percent) grade-point-average during the first three 9-week grading periods of the  academic year.

    June 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPORTVIEW: Ex-Greenville man to enter Bedford County Hall

    HUGHEY TATE was the greatest baseball player that ever lived — hitting 10,000 home runs and never making an out in 50 years on the diamond.
    OK, that’s not true of course. But that’s the way Hughey would have told it before bursting into laughter.
    Tate, a Greenville man who was as good at spinning a yarn as well as he was in hitting home runs, will be inducted posthumously into the Bedford County (Pa.) Hall of Fame Saturday. Some of his relatives from this area will attend the ceremonies.

    June 22, 2014

  • Trophy time Wilson wins Herald-Tamie Jr. golf crown

    It was a case of family history trumping golfing history!
    Hickory High golfer Billy Colbert had a chance to become only the second player ever to win the Herald-Tam O’Shanter Golf Championship four times. But he missed the final round of the tourney Wednesday along with his brother Colbert to attend his great-grandma’s funeral in Pittsburgh.
    “I kind of wish he was here,” said the 2014 champion Jacob Wilson, a Kennedy Catholic High player who lost in a sudden-death playoff to Colbert last year. “But you play whoever is here. And in golf, you play against yourself too.”

    June 19, 2014 1 Photo

Top 25 (AP Poll)
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Facebook