In Memory

Michael Long

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09/20/08 12:02 PM #1    

Mike Moriarty

My favorite e-mail exchange with Mike

The athletes of the 1960's were in a class by themselves.

High school, college, or professional, they all could have served as role models for the younger generation.

Perhaps part of that is due to the leadership of a Coach McDade, or a Coach Parseghian, Woody Hayes, Paul "Bear" Bryant, or yes, even Vince Lombardi.

Clearly, the attitude of the athletes of "generation "Y" are less focused on image and more focused on $$$. The exceptions might be the Manning family . . . Archie and sons Peyton and Eli. All serve as great role models for this generation.

MIke Long

>>> 4/3/2008 9:08 PM >>>
Hello my Fighting Irish Friends:

Below is a nostalgic look at our outstanding football teams written by Gazette sports writer, Danny Wells. The phenomenal success of this era extended
to our Freshman Year of 1964-65.

You will see some familiar names. You will also see reference to a young kid named, Melvin Walker. Why did I include Melvin? Melvin attended St. Francis of Assisi School in St. Albans. Coach McDade tried everything he could to persuade Melvin to go to CCHS. Melvin picked
Dunbar High School. How much better would our awesome teams of the early and mid 60s been if we had Melvin too.

Enjoy the article and be proud!!!




Published: 12/31/1999
Page: 1B

Senior Writer
Peeping back into the 20th century, it's my recollection that 1962 was a nifty time to have been hired by Shorty Hardman to join the Gazette sports department.
I was able to pick up a quick post-West Virginia University journalism education under the likes of Hardman, Skip Johnson, Bob Baker, Bob Fretwell, Bob
Smith and George Ballard, along with Ned Chilton, the Gazette's fiery publisher who wasn't above crusading in the sports world.

It was also special because it was a banner period in high school sports in the Kanawha Valley. One of the first dominating football teams I remember in the county was at a school just down the street from the Gazette - Charleston Catholic. Head coach Mickey McDade and assistant Joe Cielensky had a powerhouse that
didn't lose a regular-season game from 1963 to 1965. The Fighting Irish had a remarkable run of talent for being such a small school. Skip Johnson nicknamed the Catholic backfield the "Four Colts."

Catholic's version of Notre Dame's famous Four Horsemen included halfbacks Terry Smoot and Frank Criniti, fullback Jim Irving and quarterback Dave Boyle during 1964 and '65. Catholic's home games at Laidley Field usually were decided in the first quarter. The school produced two Kennedy Award winners (quarterback Joe White in 1963 and Criniti in 1965), two Kanawha Valley Conference scoring champions (Irving in 1964 and Smoot in 1965, while averaging more than 15 yards per
carry) and a gang of college players in those three seasons.

Smoot recalled that Virginia Tech wanted five players from the 1965 team, including Tim Monty, Steve Divita, John Rectenwald and Criniti . "Criniti and Monty also had offers from Notre Dame but they said they would
go to Virginia Tech," Smoot recalled. "I told them that if I had an offer, I would go there. Playing for Notre Dame was a Catholic boys' dream." Criniti and Monty followed Smoot's advice and played at Notre Dame under Ara Parseghian.

Smoot became one of Virginia Tech's top rushers. Two other players on those great Catholic teams, Tom Groom and John Rectenwald, also played at Virginia Tech.
White played at North Carolina State. Boyle played at Dartmouth.

It was also a privilege in the 1960s to write about the exploits of one of the most remarkable high school athletes ever to compete in West Virginia -
Melvin Walker. Walker excelled in four sports at Dunbar. As a junior quarterback, he led the Bulldogs to the 1965 state title game, where they fell to Huntington by a
touchdown. The next year, Walker was the catalyst on coach Bill Young's Class AAA state championship team that swamped Bob Hummell and his Moundsville teammates in
the title game. It was the second state championship for Young, who had coached Burch to the Class A title in 1957.
Young became the only coach to win state championships in three classes when he took Class AA Dunbar to the title in 1985. The third title was special to Young because his son, Michael, was a key player for him. Young, who still lives in Dunbar, had a gruff style of coaching but is actually a very warm person.

Walker, meanwhile, went to Wisconsin on a football scholarship and suffered an injury that led to a leg amputation.

Kanawha Valley sports fans will likely carry on a never-ending debate about
who was the better all-around high school athlete -Walker or DuPont's Randy Moss. It's a close call. They were athletes with different styles, thus making them
hard to compare. But to Young, it's an easy decision.
"Melvin Walker was the best high school athlete I've ever seen," he said.

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