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."