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Lehighton’s Kresge decides on Lafayette

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Since May of 1999, the Times News Sports Department has featured an On This Date practically every day, highlighting an event that happened in the past. With the coronavirus putting a halt to sports locally and nationally, the On This Dates have been expanded to the stories that actually ran in the next day’s newspaper. Today’s On This Date story is from April 3, 1987).

By Emmett McCall

Sports Staff Writer

Tom Kresge ended weeks of speculation and anticipation yesterday morning when he announced that he’ll further his athletic and academic career at Lafayette College in Easton.

Kresge, who finished his four-year varsity basketball career at Lehighton with 2,234 points, said he made his decision on Thursday night.

“I finally decided on Thursday,” he explained. “I talked with my mother after dinner and made my mind up then that Lafayette would be my choice.

“My mom, my dad, my brothers and coach (Jim) Smith all loved Lafayette. But nobody pressured me about my decision. They helped me when I asked for it, but they all left the decision up to me.”

Kresge, who is ranked 16th on the all-time Pennsylvania scoring list and second on the all-time District 11 list, picked the Leopards over Lehigh and Drexel.

“The coaching staffs at all three schools were fabulous,” stated Kresge. “They all treated me great which made my decision difficult.

“But after considering everything, I decided that Lafayette was best for me.”

The Lafayette scholarship will be worth approximately $50,000 over four years for T.K. (about 85 to 90 percent of the school’s full tuition).

“Lehigh made me about the same offer as Lafayette while Drexel was offering me a full ride,” Kresge remarked. “So I really couldn’t have gone wrong no matter where I chose.

“In the end, though, Lafayette seemed perfect. You can’t beat it academically, I loved the campus, the players on the team are great and I really like coach (Butch) van Breda Kolff.”

Kresge went on to explain that van Breda Kolff played a major role in his decision. “He showed a lot of interest in me. Plus, I like the way he’s involved with his players. Not just on the court, but with their academic and personal lives as well.”

Kresge, who will major in biology with hopes of getting into physical therapy, is very enthusiastic about the Leopards’ hoop program.

“It’s a young team with some very good players,” he commented. “Another thing I like is their schedule. We play at Iowa and Notre Dame this year and then at Indiana the following year. In addition, the East Coast Conference (of which Lafayette is a member) is very competitive.”

Van Breda Kolff was also enthusiastic to be getting Kresge. “He can do more than score,” the veteran coach boasted. “He can dribble and he can pass. What I like most is that he has a real good feel for the game. His head is on pretty straight.”

Lehighton coach Smith voiced his pleasure with T.K.’s decision. “I’m very excited about Tommy’s choice,” he mentioned. “Lafayette is an outstanding school and their basketball program has some good young players. I think it’s a great place for Tommy.”

Now, with his choice of schools out of the way, Kresge has set some new priorities.

“My goal right now is to work hard over the summer and be a starter my freshman year. I was thinking about going out for track (at Lehighton), but I decided to do some lifting instead to help prepare for college ball.

“Ron Reynolds is the only starter they (Lafayette) lose this year. He played the shooting guard position, which is where I’ll probably be used, so the position is wide open. Now I just have to work hard to earn the spot.”

Lehighton basketball fans, who have seen Kresge accomplish just about everything on the court that he possibly could’ve the past four years, have no doubts about his chances.

Tom Kresge cuts down the nets after Lehighton won the 1987 District 11 Championship. Kresge later signed to play college basketball at Lafayette. TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO