Thursday, February 13, 2014

Academy High School Rocked the Court

Academy High School basketball coach Don Zonno with Bob Thomas and Fred Williams around 1963. Photo courtesy Erie School District.
The more respect you give the more you are likely to receive. Don Zonno (1931-2013) lived by this motto. He taught by example and was an educator, coach and later principal at Academy High School at 2825 State Street in Erie, PA. In the early 1960s, Mr. Zonno lead a powerhouse basketball team which included Bob Thomas and Fred Williams, shown in the photo above. 

Bob Thomas (AHS '64) led the city in scoring for three consecutive years. Academy High School finished second in the City and Sectionals for the 1962-63 season.

"Academy's 'hot and cold' Lions, as they were called by the newspaper, proved to be mostly hot by remaining in contention for the sectional and city championship throughout the year. Although off to a slow start the surprising Lions astounded everyone by capturing the first annual Scholastic Invitational Tournament. Bob Thomas' field goal in the last two seconds of play gained the victory over Tech in the championship game...Bob Thomas led the team and the league in scoring...The hustling leadership of Freddy Williams was also instrumental as was Coach Zonno, in his first year of varsity coaching." -The Academe, 1962.

Other players from this era included Walt Crosby, Mike Trott, Dave Stingel and Everette Williams.

To sum it up, the team with the highest scoring player in the City of Erie for three consecutive years? Check. Top seed in local competition? Check. Nothing but net? Check. This is one team that will long be remembered. 

Find more historic facts and photos of Erie, Pennsylvania at Old Time Erie

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