Carroll Football Hall of Fame
Joe McNichol, Head Coach
The architect and founding father of Carroll football, McNichol set the bar high for his Patriots program, one that would eventually go on to win more playoff games than any other team in Catholic League history. His 48-37-2 record in eight seasons (1969-76) includes two City Championships. His 7-2 playoff record remains the top winning percentage among Catholic League coaches with five or more playoff games. McNichol not only influenced players but also coaches under his tenure. Dan Bielli and Kevin Clancy, both assistant coaches under McNichol, went on to win championships as head coaches.
John Givens ’70
Carroll’s first legitimate star played on its first-ever team in 1969. Blessed with great genetics, Givens was named first team All-Catholic at defensive end despite playing just one varsity season (Carroll opened in the fall of 1967 with no juniors or seniors). The two-way lineman went on to a standout career at Villanova and was selected (14th round) by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1974 NFL draft.
Kevin Clancy ’71 (Head Coach, 1981-1990)
As the head coach at his alma mater for nine seasons, Kevin Clancy’s record is an outstanding 45-17-1 in the Catholic League, 68-40-2 overall. His teams at Carroll and Strath Haven made eight appearances in title games, four Catholic League and four State respectively. Clancy’s 1999 & 2000 Strath Haven teams won the AAA State Crown. Clancy continues to excel as the Panthers head coach, and he has earned more wins than any high school football coach in Delaware County history. Clancy is a member of the Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. A hard-nosed defensive lineman on Carroll’s first two varsity squads, many former teammates credit him for teaching them the work ethic and the toughness needed to be the best.
City Title Team ’71 (11-1)
Quarterback Bill Zwaan was great; he was not alone. Paul Savini, Frank Mellon, Steve Adelizzi (Stet), Mike Adelizzi, Gary Shugrue, Joe Clancy were just some of the standouts that brought home Carroll’s first City Title under Head Coach Joe McNichol.
Gary Shugrue ’72
A star defensive end who anchored the 1971 defensive line that won the City title. Shugrue went on to a stellar football career at Villanova and he spent a year with the Detroit Lions after being selected in the 11th round of the 1976 NFL Draft.
Billy Zwaan ’72
No player in Carroll football history epitomized teamwork, leadership and a will to win like the quarterback who led an unheralded program into immortality. In 1971, Zwann willed the Patriots to the City Championship. His team’s fourth-quarter comeback win over powerful St. James is still talked about by Carroll and St. James alumni and probably always will be. His team’s comeback win over Frankford in the City Title game is revered as an all-time classic.
Bill Zwaan is presently the Head Football Coach at West Chester University. He won the Maxwell Club’s Tri-state Coach of the Year award in 1997 while the head coach at Widener.
Jim Ronan ’73
A superb interior defensive lineman for an outstanding Patriots team that finished with a 6-1 league record in 1973. Ronan went on to earn three varsity letters (1976-1978) at the University of Minnesota. Ronan was a major force on the defensive line that shutout No. 1 Michigan in 1977. The Gophers won the game 16-0 and played in the Hall of Fame Bowl. The 6-foot-6, 250 pounder played well enough to get drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the sixth round of the 1979 NFL draft. As a Brown he displaced Lyle Alzado as a starter on the defensive line before a neck injury suddenly ended his career.
Mike Bailey ’75
The greatest passer in Carroll history… Bailey’s 2,262 yards in 1973 remain a single-season school record. The signal caller still owns several school records including single game (314) and playoff (212). Bailey’s 212 passing yards in the Catholic League title game against Archbishop Wood in 1974 is the third highest total in a championship game in Catholic League history.
Mike Saksa ’75
The greatest statistical receiver in Carroll history, Saksa’s 1,142 receiving yards in 1974 remain a school record. His total of 176 receiving yards in the 1974 title game against Wood remains as a Catholic League record for any playoff game. Saksa scored two touchdowns in the title game against Wood.
Joe Keefer ’76
The Southern Division MVP, an All-Catholic and an All-City selection as a fullback, Keefer rushed for a school record of 1,303 yards in 1975 – his senior season. The record still stands today. Keefer won the prestigious Maxwell Club Award too.
City Title Team ’76 (10-1-1)
Nick Becker had lots of help in winning Carroll’s second City Championship. His teammates included Tom Rohlfing, Kevin Mullen, Pete McKenna, Tom Seibert, Kevin McClernon, Joe Pretzello. Led by Hall of Fame Head Coach Joe McNichol, Carroll captured its second City Championship in only eight years of existence.
Link to Mike Clancy’s 1976 City Title Team Archives
Nick Becker ’77
Although the quarterback had his share of statistics in leading the Patriots to their second City Title (1976) in just eight years of existence, Becker was best known for his leadership and cool under fire. In the Catholic league semifinals against St. Joe’s Prep, the Southern Division MVP threw four touchdown passes in a 42-0 win. In the final against Father Judge, he found the end zone one more time to lead Carroll to a 27-21 victory. In the City Title game against Bartram, he threw two more in the Patriots’ 21-6 win.
Kevin Mullen ’78
A two-time First Team All-Catholic receiver, Mullen starred on Carroll’s 1976 City Title team as a junior. The surehanded, speedy receiver caught three touchdown passes in the Patriots playoff run including a score in the City Title win over Bartram, but his most fabled reception came in spectacular fashion during a dramatic come-from-behind win over Southern Division rival Cardinal O’Hara, 15-14. Mullen played under head coach Jim Bowes his senior season when he was selected to the Philadelphia Daily News All-City First Team.
Gerard Phelan ’81
An All-City running back during his years at Carroll, Phelan’s name is still listed in the school’s record books. His rushing total of 283 yards in a single game in 1980 is still a school record. Although Phelan appeared on virtually every postseason all-star team in the Delaware Valley his senior year including Catholic League Southern Division MVP, he made his mark on the sport itself four years later as the recipient of the famed “Hail Mary” pass from Doug Flutie on the final play of the game — a Boston College upset win over Miami on November 23, 1984.
Burt Grossman ’85
One of just eight City League’s football players to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft, Grossman was taken by the San Diego Chargers in 1989. Grossman played for the Chargers (1989-93) and the Eagles (1994). The All-City defensive lineman helped Carroll reach the Catholic League final in 1984 against Father Judge, losing 17-10 at Villanova Stadium. Grossman recorded 13 tackles with two sacks against Monsignor Bonner in the semifinals at Veterans Stadium. Grossman starred for the University of Pittsburgh before embarking on a NFL career that would see the 6-foot-4, 275-pounder record 43.5 sacks in 86 games.