The list of guest speakers over the 100-year history of the Mount Carmel high school football banquet is a mini who’s who of college and professional football players. Here’s just a sampling:
1922: John W. Heisman (yes, that Heisman, though before his name was attached to the annual college award).
1957: Rip Engle, predecessor to Joe Paterno at Penn State who’s career record wasn’t too shabby, either, at 132–68–8.
1959: Norm VanBrocklin, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback.
1962: Jim Brown, Cleveland Browns running back.
1969: Joe Paterno.
1975: Joe Theisman, Washington Redskins quarterback.
1977: Dick Vermeil, Philadelphia Eagles head coach.
1978: Ron Jaworski, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback.
1981: Jackie Sherrill, University of Pittsburgh head coach.
1995: Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys quarterback at the time, and now head coach.
Sports fans would easily recognize dozens of others, including, of course, Henry Hynoski Sr., who, long before his son became a football star, played professional ball after graduating from Mount Carmel.
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Impressive as the list is, however, we believe the football program outdid itself this year in welcoming back the Diminick brothers. Four of the six sons of legendary former MCA head coach Joe “Jazz” Diminick — Gary, Ken, Joe and John (only Ed and Mike weren’t present) — attended the ceremony to pass on advice to current players and to support their alma mater and one of the most successful football programs in the state.
These men found success on the football field as Red Tornadoes and also at the highest level of collegiate ball. (Gary played in the 1972 Orange Bowl and 1973 Sugar Bowl and Joe in the 1976 Gator Bowl, 1977 Fiesta Bowl and 1978 Sugar Bowl). But they also earned college degrees that helped launched their successful pursuits in adulthood. The brothers, in fact, have degrees, ranging from a bachelor of science in civil engineering to a medical doctorate, from Notre Dame, Villanova, Temple Penn State, Lafayette, Duke and even Harvard.
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We hope the young players and their parents and coaches were listening when Ken Diminick said his father considered football to be a means to an end — not the end all.
“He would brag about the kids that he got into college,” he said. “One of his biggest messages was that nobody should ever out work you.”
That’s the message that should resonate, and that’s the message that a clan like the Diminicks can delivery with absolute credibility.