By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
It was about four months ago that Dave Schrecengost received a phone call out of the blue from a former player he coached now living in Quincy, Ill.
The call wasn't in regard to anything extremely important or anything special. It was just a call to see what his old coach -- now living in Georgia -- had been up to recently.
After all, it's been nearly 45 years since Dick Steinbach -- who made the call -- was on the court under Schrecengost's tutelage.
Schrecengost has returned to Milton numerous times since he coached there between 1964 and 1969, but he's lost contact with some of those old players. That's when a light bulb went off in Steinbach's head.
"We started talking that it'd be a great idea to get all these guys back again from the 1969 team," Schrecengost said.
That 1969 Black Panthers team ended the season at 14-9, claiming a league title in the process before losing to eventual state champion Mansfield in the District 4 final at Williamsport High School. Schrecengost's squad hung in with Mansfield until the final two minutes of the game. That Tigers team featured a player by the name of Tom McMillen, a 6-foot-11 center who towered area players and ended up at the University of Maryland before spending 11 years in the NBA.
As the two talked, the 1969 team reunion started to expand a little. They realized that players from the 1968 team helped build the 1969 team. Then, sure enough, the other teams prior from 1967 down to 1964 got brought up too.
"We decided what we were going to do was hold a reunion of all of the five teams that I coached during that time period," Schrecengost said. "These guys are almost as old as I am. It's sort of interesting. When we started, I was 21 and some of them were 18."
Schrecengost was hired by the superintendent to coach Milton in 1964 after graduating from Westminster College.
The planned reunion is scheduled for Labor Day Weekend -- specifically Saturday, Aug. 31 -- with a brunch at the Watson Inn in Watsontown at 11 a.m. followed by a get-together later that evening.
The reunion isn't limited to simply the players from 1964 through 1969, but to all former coaches and cheerleaders during that time span as well.
"We're opening it up to the whole program at that time period," Schrecengost said.
Any former players who played on Milton's boys basketball team between 1964 and 1969 are encouraged to contact Schrecengost at either his home phone (770-926-3733) or his cell phone (678-427-2784). He can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friends or relatives of anyone from those teams -- be it a player, cheerleader or coach -- are encouraged to contact Schrecengost at their earliest convenience in regards to the reunion.
"Our problem is that we don't want to leave anybody out. We don't have contacts with everybody," Schrecengost said. "Anything that we can do to get everybody aware of the fact that there is this event that is going to be held on that Aug. 31 date, that's what we want to try to do."