Kusko, Leonzi, Santo to be inducted
The Carbon County Sports Hall of Fame will inducte its 2013 class on May 26 at Memorial Hall in Jim Thorpe.
The doors will open at 12:45 with cocktail hour from 1-2 p.m. Dinner will be at 2 p.m. with the induction ceremony to follow.
Anyone looking for tickets to the banquet can contact any of the following people: Art George 610-826-2830; Jake Boyer 610-751-6634; Danny McGinley 570-325-3550; Tom Wehr 570-366-2694; Trevor Lawrence 570-645-4722; Ted Bortnick 570-645-9575; Emmett McCall 570-645-2093; Bob Gelatko 570-645-8652; Tom McGrath 570-668-2237; Gary Clemson 570-668-1066; Tom Pilla 570-669-6666; Bill Gardiner 570-669-6564.
This year's class includes the follow members:
TAMAQUA - Mike Hromyak Sr., Robert "Bob" Clemson, Sean Love.
JIM THORPE - Peggy Sue O'Donnell, Joe Morgan, Jack Morgan.
NESQUEHONING - Joe Ligenza, Bill Morgan, Charles Zabroski, Tom Pilla.
LEHIGHTON - Jim Tkach, Larry Mertz, Jennifer (Harleman) Lopata.
SUMMIT HILL - Joe Leonzi, Ed Kusko, Frank Santo.
PALMERTON - Billy Heydt, Bruce Kocher, Steve Kocher, Steve Barilla.
LANSFORD - Caszy Kosciolek, Roberta (Spezialetti) Porambo, Bill Maynard.
COALDALE - Pete Radocha, Diana Demianenko, Joseph Ozefovich, John Posta.
Over the next several Saturdays, the TIMES NEWS will run brief biographies of this year's class.
Following are the inductees from Summit Hill:
EDWARD J. KUSKO
Kusko was a 1980 graduate of Panther Valley High School where he excelled in football, basketball and baseball.
While at Panther Valley, Kusko was a forward and a center on the basketball team for one year. He lettered four years as a member of the baseball team. He was a pitcher and a first baseman. He was captain of the baseball team his senior year.
Football was Kusko's strong suit. He played four years at PV as an offensive guard and inside linebacker. He lettered three years, was captain his senior year, was on the All-Anthracite team and made the Second Team All-State as a guard and an inside linebacker. He was the defensive captain of the 1979 team that won the Schuylkill League title with a 9-1 record.
Following graduation, Kusko moved onto Lehigh University for his freshman year. He was named MVP during spring practice in 1981 before transfering to Washington and Jefferson College. While at W&J, Kusko captained the team while lettering all three years. He was a three-time winner of the Crouse Award for outstanding lineman. He became W&J's first-ever recipient of the Division II Kodak All-American Award. The Pittsburgh Press named Kusko to the First Team All-District squad. W&J claimed the PAC Championship his senior year and also won the NCAA Southern Regional Championship. Kusko was named Senior Athlete of the Year.
After college, Kusko had a try-out with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was the first inductee in W&J's Sports Hall of Fame and had his jersey retired. Kusko graduated from W&J in 1985 with a Bachelors' degree in Business Management.
Kusko is presently employed at Silberline Manufacturing for the past 18 years. He is married to Donna (Gildea) Kusko and is the father of four children - Megan, Matthew, Lyndsay and Jacob. He coached Little League and Babe Ruth for 16 years and was an assistant football coach at PV for 12 years.
JOSEPH P. LEONZI JR.
Leonzi graduated from Marian Catholic in 1956 after transferring from Summit Hill. While at Marian, Leonzi played offensive guard and end for three years while lettering all three years. He was also a member of the area All-Star team.
Following high school, Leonzi attended Villanova University in 1961 and eventually graduated from Glassboro State College in New Jersey in 1964. He had a long and successful teaching and coaching career in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In 1961-62, he taught at St. Peters High School, while coaching football and basketball. In 1962, he returned to his alma mater to teach and serve as an assistant football coach. Eventually he made his way to Westfield High School in New Jersey where he taught Social Studies, Math and World Cultures as well as working as an assistant football and basketball coach.
In 1970, Leonzi came back to Marian as a head football coach while teaching Drivers Education, World Cultures and Social Studies. He guided Marian to its first winning season since 1963. In 1972, he left Marian to take on the head coaching responsibilities at Hamburg High School. He led the program from a prior longest, losing streak in state to a number of successful seasons. He was nominated Coach of the Year in 1977.
Leonzi retired from teaching in 1982 but continued his coaching career at Panther Valley High School where he led the team to the District 11 Championship in 1987 and was named Coach of the Year.
Leonzi also served as golf coach at Hamburg and eventually became head football coach a second time in 1994.
He has been married 51years to his wife Madeline. They have a son Paul, a guidance counselor in the Northern Lehigh School District.
In 1954, Santo came to Summit Hill from Boston, Massachusetts. He enrolled at Marian Catholic where he started at fullback on offense and defensive back on defense.
Santo then transferred to Summit Hill where he immediately became a two-way starter. He was a fast and versatile back for the Hillers. He was a three year two-way starter and a four time letter winner in football. In his senior year, Santo was co-captain of the football team.
Santo was also a member of the track team for three years and had a stellar career as a sprinter and a member of the 400 relay team. Three years in succession Santo qualified for the District meet in Allentown. And three years he attended and participated in the State meet at Penn State. He was also captain of the track team his senior year.
Santo was also a member of the basketball team and baseball teams for one year.
After graduatiion from Summit Hill, Santo went on to East Stroudsburg University where he played football his freshman year. He eventually went on to Penn State and West Chester.
He remained close to area sports when in 1961 he coached the Summit Hill Little League for a number of years. In 1968, Santo played semi-pro football for the Plainfield Red Oaks of New Jersey. The won the New Jersey State Championship going undefeated. In 1983, Santo purchased the Scranton Eagles, a semi-professional football team that played in the Empire Football League based in New York. He owned the Eagles for 10 years. In those 10 years, the Eagles won eight Empire League Championships and two National Championships. They had a record of 46 straight game winning streak. Six players from the Scranton Eagles went onto play for the NFL. The Eagles were inducted into the Northeast Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
Santo is a lifetime voting member. He spent a number of years following his sons football career from Knee-High to Boston College. He now resides in Scranton.