Doin’ Dunmore: Henzes’ Impact Much Bigger Than Football

CoachHenzesBy Steve Svetovich

He is a legend beyond measure in Dunmore, and And with 444 high school football wins under his belt, second most ever to George Curry, the legend will now be rooting for the Dunmore Bucks from his Peckville home.

It was a moment everyone knew would come for Jack Henzes someday, but not this way.

The Dunmore football coaching icon announced Thurday, April 25, he was stepping down as head coach of the Dunmore Bucks, effective at the end of the month.

He cited health issues following an illness and recent heart procedure. He simply could not go on.

In 52 seasons as a head football coach, including 48 at Dunmore and his first four at Wyoming Area, Henzes compiled a 444-164-8 record. Curry won 455 games at Lake Lehman, Wyoming Valley West and Berwick.

Henzes called it “a difficult decision” he made “for the good of the program and the next head coach. It had to be done so they could get back to work.”

henzesHenzes did not coach from the sidelines in 2018 while he recovered from heart surgery. He called Dunmore a wonderful community, with a great school system and administration. He said he would miss the camaraderie and competition, but mostly the kids.

Kevin McHale served as acting/interim head coach last season at Dunmore. He played for and coached under coach Henzes. He remains the acting coach at present.

“Although coach Henzes has been super successful as a football coach,” McHale said to The Dunmorean, “all of those wins pale in comparison to what kind of effect he had on students, teachers, coaches and the community.

“There are no words to describe the effect and influence coach Henzes had on student athletes who were in his classroom or the teams he coached. The number of student athletes that benefitted from his life lessons in the classroom and on the football field are nothing short of amazing. And to think many people then passed those lessons down to their children and grandchildren is a very special thing.

“He was a teacher who believed in doing things the right way. He often talked about taking pride in yourself, your team, your school and your community. Those have always been some of his core fundamentals.

“The way you conducted yourself, taking care of the locker room, everyone wearing the same socks, those things were more important than any plays or drills we ever did for coach.”

Former Dunmore Councilman Paul Nardozzi, currently running for Dunmore School Board, called coach Henzes “the driving force behind God, family and the Dunmore Bucks.

“Coach Henzes is Dunmore Bucks football.

“Coach molded many men into what they are today. He was the ultimate coach, teacher, friend and a man everyone looked up to. He cared and took pride in his players’ academic progress as well as their on the field performance.”

Former Dunmore Mayor Patrick “Nibs” Loughney called coach Henzes “truly a gentleman, first and foremost.

“He is a great family man and devoted to his faith. Coach had a great influence not only on his players, but on many students.

“Thank you, coach Henzes. Enjoy your family.”

Coach Henzes introduction to football began at an early age. He played quarterback for his dad, John “Papa Bear” Henzes, another high school coaching legend, for the Blakely Bears.

Following his graduation from George Washington University, Henzes served as an assistant coach under his dad at Blakely before accepting his first head coaching position in 1966 at Wyoming Area High School.

After going 30-12 in four years at Wyoming Area, he took a year off before taking over at Dunmore in 1971 where he has been a constant until stepping down last month due to health issues at 83.

Jack HenzesA deeply religious man, he guided his players both on and off the field throughout the years.

Henzes helped elevate Dunmore’s status with a run to a PIAA Class 1A title in 1989.

He led Dunmore to a 42-6 win over Scranton Prep in 2000 to pass his legendary dad on the all-time wins list.

He led Dunmore to state title games in 2012 and 2014.

In 2016, he led Dunmore to a perfect regular season and a third straight District 2 Class 2A title.

In 2017, Henzes led Dunmore to a school record winning its first 14 games and won its fourth straight District 2 Class 2A title to push its regular season winning streak to a conference record 29 straight games.

The wins, district titles and run to state finals are too numerous to mention during his 48 years at Dunmore. But there is one common thread that comes from every player who played for him.

And that was that he didn’t just teach his players about football, he taught them about life and being a responsible, good human being.

That came from every single player this scribe interviewed for The Dunmorean during the past three decades for this newspaper and a previous eight years covering him.

And that really says it all about a true Dunmore legend.

Henzes, Curry, Peck, Klein Prindle Inducted into State Hall of Fame

henzesBy Steve Svetovich

Dunmore Bucks legendary football coach Jack Henzes, late Berwick football coach George Curry, Abington Heights graduate Abby Peck and Scranton Prep graduate Kathleen Klein Prindle were among 12 inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Woodlands, Wilkes Barre.

Bob Walsh, president of the Northeastern Chapter, performed the Welcome during the ceremonies for the Class of 2018.

Jim Coles served as toastmaster for the 56th induction ceremony and banquet.

The presentation of colors was performed by the Northeastern Detachment Marine Corps League Department of PA.

Sue Lucas sang the national anthem. Joe Bordell introduced Hall of Fame president Ed Ludwig.

Retired Dunmore teacher and former Lady Bucks basketball coach Alice Foley of the Northeast Chapter provided the invocation and benediction.

The event was hosted by the Northeastern Chapter in collaboration with the Carbon County, Lehigh Valley-Pocono, John Popple-Luzerne, Allen Rogowicz, Ed Romance, Bernie Romanoski, Jerry Wolman-Northern Anthracite, and Bernie Romanoski Chapters.

The 12 inductees were Jack Henzes, George Curry, Abby Peck, Kathleen Klein Prindle, Joe Battista, Robert “Tick” Cloherty, Bruce Dal Canton, Abe Everhart, Tom Harbert, Karen Klassner, Manuel Pihakis and Robert Shoudt.

Henzes, who has the second most high school football wins in state history to Curry, was absent due to illness related to a heart ailment. His induction was accepted by his son Randy.

His career started as an assistant football coach at Blakely High School under his dad, the late “Papa Bear” John Henzes, Sr. In 1966 he became head coach at Wyoming Area and in 1971 was named, and currently is, head football coach at Dunmore where he has a record of 435 wins, 160 losses and eight ties. He has the most wins for an active coach in the state.

He led Dunmore to the Eastern Conference title in 1985, Class A state title in 1989, Class A state Eastern title in 2012, Class AA in 2007, 2014 state Eastern title, District 2 “A” 2012 title, and District 2 “AA” titles in 1995, 1999, 2007-09 and 2014-2017.

He was inducted into the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame, joining his late dad,  in 2009. He is a member of the Chic Feldman Foundation Hall of Fame of Northeast PA.

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George Curry was the winningest high school coach in Pennsylvania. He died back in 2016 from complications with ALS.

The late Curry, whose 455 high school football wins are the most in state history, accumulated six state championships and three national champions. Curry’s son Cosmo accepted the induction.

Curry coached 38 years at Berwick, four years at Lake Lehman and three years at Wyoming Valley West. He coached 12 regular season undefeated teams and had a 47-game winning streak from 1981 to 1985. He was named Coach of the Year 28 times and helped get millions of dollars in scholarships for his players.

Abington Heights graduate Peck represented the United States at the World Championships as a member of the 1983, 1985, 1986 and 1987 National Teams and the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Teams. She was elected Captain of the 1988 Olympic Rowing Team. She is a 12 time National Champion, World Championship and Goodwill Games silver medalist and six times winner at the Head of Charles in Boston. She coached at Smith and Wellesley Colleges and at Masters and pre-Elite levels, where her teams won numerous medals.

As a coach, she worked with the “One-In-Nine” rowing program for cancer patients/survivors, helped create the ‘WeCanRow” program to teach cancer patients/survivors to row and regain physical capability and developed an exercise protocol for a Dana Farber cancer study. The free exercise program she created locally for cancer survivors is in its 11th year.

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Kathleen Klein Prindle was a four-year swimming letterman at Scranton Prep. She assisted in preparing eight athletes in the 2008 Beijing Games resulting in two Olympic medals (Photo Credit: Abington Journal)

Scranton Prep graduate Klein Prindle has been involved in aquatics since 1978, first as a swimmer and later as a coach. Her elite athletes include National Champions and qualifiers from over 18 countries. She founded Performance Aquatics where Olympic hopefuls from all over the world are trained alongside local swimmers, achieving success locally at Junior Olympic/Sectional/State, to nationally at NCAA/USA Nationals, and internationally at World Champs/Olympic Games levels. She created nine Learn-to-Swim programs, 2 USA Swimming competitive teams, two US Masters teams, a Girls/Boys Varsity team and instituted middle school swimming locally.

Battista, known as the “Godfather of Penn State Hockey,” began his career at Penn Hills high school where he was a three-time hockey team captain. He helped secure the largest gift in Penn State history from Terry and Kim Pegula, Carbondale, in 2010 to field varsity men’s and women’s hockey teams and construct the Pegula Ice Arena. He was named Associate Athletic Director to oversee the project. In 2013, he became Vice-President of the Buffalo Sabres.

Cloherty was a four-time first-team PSAC offense and defense player at Clarion State College and was football captain in 1961. He was WPIAL football official for 35 years and basketball official for 25 years.

The late Dal Canton pitched the Cal Vulcans to the District 30 title and first NAIA National tournament. His 1.30 ERA remains a school and PSAC record. He pitched in the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves. He had a career big league record of 51-49 with a 3.67 ERA and later served as pitching coach for the Braves. He once set a team record retiring 23 consecutive batters for the Royals.

Everhart was coach of the Uniontown High school Red Raiders basketball team for 29 years. His career record was 549-149, including four WPIAL titles and two PIAA titles.

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Former NFL star Billy “White Shoes” Johnson who escorted PA Sports Hall of Fame inductee Robert Stoudtposes with Steve Svetovich at recent Hall of Fame induction dinner. Johnson is one of 75 players named to NFL’s all-time 75th anniversary team.

Harbert was the youngest head wrestling coach at Saint Vincent College and went on to Latrobe compiling a 202-87-5 record. He earned seven WPIAL titles. He started the varsity men and women’s cross country and men and women’s lacrosse programs at Saint Vincent.

Klassner took over the Wyoming Seminary Blue Knights field hockey team in 1973 and currently holds a 660-171-6 record, including 17 undefeated seasons and six state titles.

Pihakis was Western PA’s Interscholastic Athletic League wrestling champion in 1949, 1950, 1951 and 1952. At Canonsburg High School, he had a 99-1 wrestling record. He had a 58-8 wrestling record at Indiana University where he was All-American.

Shoudt was escorted by former NFL great Billy “White Shoes” Johnson who was named one of the 75 greatest players in pro football history. Shoudt coached track and field at numerous state high schools. His teams won 10 Penn Relays titles. He coached Billy White Shoes on one of his high school track and field teams. He is a six-time Big East Coach of the Year.