Top: Mike Larko, Bill Closson,
Frank Marchlewski, Gary Sandala
Bottom: Jennifer McDowell, Joe Naunchick, Willaim Rometo
Sr., Steve Cassidy
The first in
so many ways, Steve Cassidy’s career became the template for
Plum ’s wrestling elite.
He was the first
Plum wrestler to win a PIAA Championship during
his senior year in 1990, at 140 pounds.
He capped off his high school career by becoming
Plum ’s first (and only) Sr. National Champion.
Steve was the first of four Plum state champions to
choose to attend
. In 1993, he
became the first
Plum alumnus to become a NCAA Division I
All-American in wrestling.
After missing the 1994 NCAAs due to injury, he repeated as
an All-American in 1995.
He ranks 3rd all-time in Lehigh wins with 110.
As a testament to his character, Cassidy was chosen
to be Team Captain for three years.
He graduated from Lehigh in 1995 with a degree in
mechanical engineering and has worked as a mechanical
engineer with Bihler of America for the past 10 years.
Steve has also spent the last nine seasons as an
assistant wrestling coach at
school record 85-14
senior year 32-0
1st, 3rd, 4th WPIAL
1st, 6th PIAA Championships
National Champion –
in 1990 Dapper Dan Classic
most wins in Lehigh history
Team Captain for 3 years
1st, 2nd, 4th EIWA
ever 150 lbs. EIWA Champion in Lehigh history
NCAA Division I All-American (7th-1993 &
class of 1993
heavyweight wrestler of tremendous stature, Bill Closson’s
legacy is his agility.
Bill parlayed strength, speed and superior technique
into a career of outstanding achievements.
His 117 career wins set an all-time
record, as did his 74 pins.
He was a three-time sectional champion and a
three-time PIAA state qualifier.
Bill’s spotless 33-0 senior year was highlighted
with a 0:48-second pin in the PIAA Championship.
As a year-round wrestler, he was a member of the
Cadet World Team and became a Cadet National Freestyle
success on the mat continued at
where he amassed a career record of 104-37.
He became a NCAA Division I All-American as a junior
and repeated the feat again as a senior by placing 4th.
Along the way, Bill was the Gold Medalist at the U.S.
Olympic Festival in freestyle wrestling and placed 6th
at the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials.
school record 117-21
senior year 32-0
freshman to wrestle on varsity team High
1st, 3rd, 3rd, WPIAL
1st, 4th PIAA Championships
National Champion in Freestyle & Runner-up in Greco
All-American at Junior Nationals
in 1993 Dapper Dan Classic
National Freestyle Champion
Medalist at the U.S. Olympic Festival in freestyle
team Academic All-American
Most Outstanding Male Athlete Award
NCAA Division I All-American (8th-1997 &
Mike Larko’s tenure as both boys and girls volleyball
coach marks one of the most successfully periods of any
coached the girls from 1973 through 1983.
His girls won three section championships and
qualified for the PIAA championships in both 1982 and 1983.
However, his greatest coaching achievements came
while coaching the boys from 1973 through 1990.
Mike coached the
boys to three consecutive WPIAL Championships in 1980, 1981
and 1982. Incredibly,
he led the
boys to six straight PIAA championship appearances.
In 1981, his team was second in the state and his
1980 boys team became the first team in
’s history to be crowned PIAA state champions.
Along the way, Mike coached 12 All-State players and
has been inducted into the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches
Hall of Fame. Coach
Larko’s positive influence on his players is illustrated
by the fact that nine of them have went on to become head
volleyball coaches. Mike
is a retired Math teacher and is currently coaching the
Pittsburgh Elite Volleyball Club.
He recently rejoined the
boys team as an assistant coach.
Girls Section Championships 1980,1982,1983
Boys Section Championships
WPIAL runner-up 1988
Boys WPIAL Champions 1980,1981,1982
Girls PIAA qualifier
Boys PIAA qualifier
PIAA runner-up 1981
PIAA Champions 1980
to Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame
Volleyball Camps from 1978-1985
class of 1960
earning high school varsity letters in basketball, baseball
and track, it was on the football field that Frank
Marchlewski ascended to the professional ranks.
Frank lettered four times at
and received many honors including the WPIAL
MVP Lineman Award and High School All-American
the college level, he played in the Big Ten Conference for
Minnesota Golden Gophers
. As the
leader of the
offensive charge, Frank lettered three times.
He was named to the Big Ten All-Conference second
team and was an honorable mention All-American (second only
to Dick Butkus). Coach
Murray Warmath named Frank the
center of the decade. In
1965, the Los Angeles Rams drafted Frank as a center in the
5th round. His
pro career spanned six seasons and 74 games.
In addition to the Rams, Frank also was the pivotman
for the Atlanta Falcons and the Buffalo Bills. Coached
by George Allen, his 1969 Rams team won 12 straight games.
Frank is recently retired from the Genesee Brewing
Company after 33 years of employment.
4 years high school basketball
to Jaycee All-Star in Basketball
in high school baseball and track
4 years high school football
High football Team Captain
Club MVP Award
first team lineman
Class A MVP lineman
first team lineman
Mention All-American center
Ten All-Conference second team center
center of the decade
5th round (60th overall) by L.A.
Rams in 1965
six years in NFL/NFC
into the Alle-Kiski Sports Hall of Fame in 1977
McDowell, class of 1984
varsity letters in four different sports illustrates just
how elite of an athlete Jenny was while at Plum high.
She was named an all-conference basketball player and
an All-WPIAL volleyball player in each of her three years as
a Mustang. She
also made the All-State volleyball team as a senior.
Her volleyball teams won conference
championships three years straight and capture the PIAA
Championship in her senior year.
McDowell received a volleyball scholarship to the
where she earned numerous accolades including All-Conference
honors all four years. Jenny
set the Southern Conference record for assists that held for
18 years. The
recognized Jenny’s prominence by retiring her jersey in
1987. She served
as an assistant coach at
until 1996 when she was named Head Women’s Volleyball
where her career record stands at 278-82.
Her winning percentage of .772 ranks her fourth among
active collegiate coaches.
During her tenure, Emory has reached the NCAA Sweet
Sixteen six times, Elite Eight once and the Final Four once.
She has coached nine All-Americans.
In addition to her coaching duties, Jenny serves as
the University Associate Director of Athletics.
Plum High Varsity letters (3 volleyball, 3 basketball, 2
track, 2 softball)
All-Conference girls basketball
All-WPIAL girls volleyball
All-State girls volleyball
1984 PIAA Championship volleyball team
1982, 1983, 1984 conference champion volleyball teams
All-Conference, Southeastern conference
All-Collegiate, Southern Region
Olympic Festival in 1986
conference assist record 1987-2005
to have jersey retired (#16)
7 consecutive 30 win seasons
career coaching record of 278-82 (.772 win percentage)
University Athletic Association Coach of the Year
as a football coach, Joe Naunchick’s athletic
accomplishments are much further reaching.
graduate was the captain his football, basketball and
baseball teams. As
Alle-Kiski Valley Back of the Year, he led the 1955 Mustangs
to an undefeated season.
A standout on the baseball diamond as well, Joe set a
WPIAL record by striking out 20 batters in a 7 inning game.
Naunchick accepted a football scholarship to
, however he left early to sign a baseball contract with the
Pittsburgh Pirates. Joe
played in the minor leagues for three years before returning
to college and eventually becoming a teacher and a coach.
As Coach Naunchick, Joe spent 38 seasons as a
high school football coach (25 as a head coach).
Nine of those years were spent as coach of the
Mustangs where his teams won two conference championships
& one co-championship.
Naunchick also spent four seasons as part of the
coaching staff. Joe
is a member of the Alle-Kiski Hall of Fame.
High team captain in football, basketball & baseball
News Dispatch “Back
of the Year”
High “Most Valuable
record – 20 strikeouts in 7 innings
football scholarship to
league in stolen bases for 3 years
high school football for 38 years (25 as head coach)
to 2 conference championships & 1 co-championship
4 different schools to WPIAL playoffs
coaching staff for 4 seasons (42-7record)
in Fiesta, Gator, Sugar and Cotton bowls
into A-K Valley Hall of Fame
coach/teacher/principal 1947-78 William
Rometo was a quarterback and halfback during his football
playing days. He
first competed for
in 1932 and later for several semi-pro teams including the
Creighton Tigers and the Swissvale Floridians.
Rometo then played football for Slippery Rock State
College until an injury ended his playing career just before
the 1942 season. In
1947, he was hired by
to be head coach of the football, basketball and baseball
football was where Coach Rometo had his greatest triumphs. His
teams won 14 straight games throughout the 1951 and 1952
season including an Alle-Kiski conference championship.
He remained the head football coach until 1960 when
he became principal of Plum Jr. High.
William Rometo worked in the
for 31 years before retiring in 1978.
Throughout his career at
, he was active and supportive of athletics in many ways. He
served as the first president of the Plum Borough Baseball
Association and officiated football, basketball and
was inducted into the Alle-Kiski Sports Hall of Fame in
halfback and tailback for
semi-pro football for Creighton,
halfback for Slippery Rock State College
head coach of football,
basketball and baseball
football coaching record of 54 wins 53 loses and 11 ties
Allegheny-Kiski conference champions in 1951
undefeated 1955 Class A team
to coach Shriners All Star Football Game in 1952
president of Plum Borough Baseball Association
official for football, basketball and baseball
into A-K Valley Hall of Fame
member of the
’s wrestling, cross country and physical fitness teams,
was named the 1978 Co-Male Athlete of the Year.
A well rounded athlete, Sandala’s most notable
achievements were in wrestling. His
career record at
was an impressive 64-8-2.
He never lost a dual meet match through all of junior
high and high school. As
became the first
wrestler to qualify for the PIAA Championship.
He qualified again as a senior by placing second at
the WPIAL Championship.
As a three-year letterman and a two-year captain,
led the Mustangs to an overall 40-4 record including two
WPIAL Section Championships.
While attending the U.S. Naval Academy, Sandala
lettered in wrestling and in sprint football.
He was a member Navy’s 1982 EIWA Team Championship
wrestling team and the 1981 Eastern Intercollegiate Sprint
Football Championship team.
Captain Gary Sandala has received numerous campaign
and service awards throughout his illustrious career as a
Naval Flight Officer. He
flew operations in support of Operations Desert Shield,
Desert Storm and Provide Comfort.
Captain Sandala is currently serving as the Deputy
Director for Character Development at the U.S. Naval Academy
where he is in charge of the moral development of 4,200
sport high school letter winner
school wrestling record 64-8-2
Keystone Conference Champion
member of Sectional Champion wresting team
member of Keystone Conference Champion wrestling team
2nd and 4th
Plum Wrestler to qualify for PIAA Championship
WPIAL in 1978 Dapper Dan Classic
Kids Region II National
in wrestling at U.S. Naval Academy
in sprint football at U.S. Naval Academy