One of Duquesne’s Own Sport Heros!

120911_ScarryI have learned SO much about the town that we all love since beginning this blog. Stories about people, places and events that were perhaps destined to be lost forever, have now been noted, recapped and made available to Duquesne neighbors, friends and to the world for posterity.

One such “revelation” was made known to me by Paul Duffy, a Duquesne native and one of our blog followers. A few days ago, Paul commented on a story that I had posted regarding Duquesne High School’s Football Team. I was fascinated by the story Paul provided and researched for more information about a Duquesne HERO that I was unaware of. Paul’s recollections about Mo Scarry are priceless and are so heartfelt. THANK YOU Paul for your poignant contribution.

In addition to the information I located on the web, I have also included an article that was published in The Duquesne Times 75 years ago, this week, recapping a basketball game in which Mo starred. The extent of his athletic prowess throughout his youth and adult life is incredible!

From Paul Duffy:

Submitted on 2013/01/25 at 7:46 pmPlease allow me to lengthen the historical mosaic of Dukes football:With deep sadness and respect, I must report that Mo Scarry, one of our Duquesne brethren recently passed.Beyond the details in the obit, I can fill out a bit more of the richness of a remarkable man, since I played for Mo at Waynesburg. Not noted in the obit, you’ll be interested to know that Mo was a graduate of Holy Name High School, while also playing both football and basketball at DHS (as it was done, BITD).Also omitted from the obit is the abiding impact he had on his players and teams. Mo was as old-school as ever has been seen, not in any sense mean but as tough as iron. It’s not noticeable in the portrait accompanying the obit, but he had a huge broad scar across that Irish nose. Mo could fuss and fume and bluster with the best of them. A common experience for many of us was to have Mo stick his face with that vicious scar and which was as vast as Galway Bay into our face masks, and in highest dudgeon and his characteristic faint lisp, proclaim “Shon, I want you to go chlean that guy’s clockh!”.The obit notes that Mo was drafted during WWII. Like most of those vets, he didn’t talk about it much, but over time we managed to learn a bit more about his service. He landed with Patton in North Africa, was captured in combat, and while being shipped back to Italy, his POW boat was torpedoed and sunk; somehow Mo survived but regrettably I don’t know much more of that tale.At one of our occasional team reunions some years ago, Mo was circling around his former payers and body-slamming and clip blocking us; he was about 80 at the time. Later at the bar, I happened to ask Mo what it was like to serve under Patton. As usual, that launched Mo immediately into his characteristic high bluster, saying “Why that shon of a ….”, and he paused, then adding “but you know what, that guy knew how to WIN!” Classic Mo.The obit only implies it, but it’s worth noting that perhaps the highlight of his coaching career was coaching the defensive line of the legendary No-Name Defense of the 1972 undefeated Super Bowl champion Dolphins. (http://www.miamidolphins.com/news/article-1/Former-Dolphins-Coach-Mo-Scarry-Dies/11824e4d-be3b-40b9-bbf3-dfeba6682004) Vern Den Herder, one of his defensive tackles on that team, later named one of horses Mo in honor of the coach. Shortly after Mo had moved on to the NFL, we won the NAIA national championship at Waynesburg, and of course, we invited Mo as guest of honor to our celebration dinner. As we gathered around him, we asked him, “Coach, what’s the biggest difference coaching in the NFL?”. His curt and obviously snide response was simply, “Agents”.May God grant him eternal peace.Paul Duffy

From Wikipedia:

Michael Maurice “Mo” Scarry

Personal Information

Date of birth: February 1, 1920

Place of birth: Duquesne, Pennsylvania

Date of death: September 9, 2012 (aged 92)

Place of death: Fort Myers, Florida

Career Information

College: Waynesburg College 

Career History

As player:

Cleveland Rams (1944–1945)

Cleveland Browns (1946–1947)

As coach:

 Western Reserve (HC) 1948–1949

 Santa Clara University (Asst.) 1950–1951

 Loras College (HC) 1952–1953

 Washington State University (Asst.) 1954–1955

 University of Cincinnati (DL) 1956–1962

 Waynesburg College (HC) 1963–1965

 Washington Redskins (DL) 1966–1968

 Scout, various teams 1969

 Miami Dolphins (DL) 1970–1985

 

Career Highlights and Awards

 NFL Champion (1945)

 2× AAFC Champion (1946, 1947)

 Member, Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame

 

Career NFL Statistics as of 1947

Games – 45

Interceptions – 7

Stats at NFL.com

Michael Joseph “Mo” Scarry (February 1, 1920 – September 9, 2012) was an American football player and coach. He grew up in Pennsylvania and was a star on his high school basketball team. Scarry, however, played football in college at Waynesburg College in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania and went on to join the Cleveland Rams in the National Football League as a center following a stint in the U.S. Army during World War II. The Rams moved to Los Angeles after winning the 1945 NFL championship, and Scarry elected to stay in Cleveland and play for the Cleveland Browns under Coach Paul Brown in the new All-America Football Conference. The Browns won the AAFC championship in 1946 and 1947 while Scarry was on the team.

Scarry, who coached the basketball team at Western Reserve University in Cleveland during his playing career, retired from pro football after the 1947 season to take up a post as head coach of the school’s football team. He stayed there for two seasons before moving to Santa Clara University in California as an assistant coach. Scarry then moved in 1952 to Loras College in Iowa as an assistant. After a stint at Washington State University, he spent six years as the line coach for the University of Cincinnati. Scarry served as head football coach at Waynesburg, his alma mater, for three seasons between 1963 and 1965. He got his first professional coaching job in 1966 with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, the following year, and became the defensive line coach of the Miami Dolphins three years later. He stayed with the Dolphins for 15 seasons until his retirement; during his Dolphins career, the team won two Super Bowls. Scarry was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

High school, college and military service

Scarry grew up in Duquesne, Pennsylvania, where he was a star on his high school basketball team. He also played football, but was not a standout.[1] Scarry attended Waynesburg College, a small school in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, where he continued to play football and basketball. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II in North Africa, but came down with asthma and was given a medical discharge. He signed with the Cleveland Rams of the National Football League starting in 1944. 

Professional career

Scarry began the 1944 season with the Rams at left tackle, but was shifted to center in September. He played on defense and offense, occasionally as a forward passer.[3] After a season in which the Rams contended for but lost the NFL’s western division, Scarry spent the offseason as a student at Western Reserve University in Cleveland and served as the director of a YMCA camp in Mantua, Ohio. Scarry suffered a knee injury near the beginning of the 1945 season, but soon returned to action as the Rams, led by quarterback Bob Waterfield, won the NFL championship. Scarry was the captain of the Rams during the championship run. 

The Rams moved to Los Angeles after the 1945 season, and Scarry, along with teammates Chet Adams, Tommy Colella, Don Greenwood and Gaylon Smith, decided to stay in Cleveland and play for the Cleveland Browns, a team under formation in the new All-America Football Conference. The Rams sought an injunction in Federal court to prevent Adams from defecting to the Browns, arguing that he was still under contract with the Rams despite the move. Adams argued that his contract described a team in Cleveland, and was no longer valid because of the Rams’ relocation. A judge ruled in favor of Adams in August of 1946, clearing the way for him and other former Rams players to join the Browns. 

While Scarry was playing for the Browns, he was named head basketball coach at Western Reserve, where he had taken classes between games and in the offseason. In his first season, Scarry was a workhorse who often played between 50 and the full 60 minutes of games, lining up on the offensive and defensive lines. Toward the middle of the season, Cleveland coach Paul Brown began to use him as the defensive leader, letting him call the unit’s formations. In December, Scarry’s Western Reserve basketball team played its first games; he had missed numerous practices because of his duties with the Browns. The Browns went on to win the AAFC championship later in the month. 

Scarry remained with the Browns the following season. In September of 1947 he received a bachelor of science degree from Western Reserve, completing an educational career at Waynesburg that was cut short by the war. By October, he was mentioned as a possible successor to Tom Davies, who had resigned as Western Reserve’s football coach. While still one of the AAFC’s top centers, Scarry was bothered by injury and asthma and was considering leaving pro football. The Browns, meanwhile, won a second straight AAFC championship in December. Scarry was named Western Reserve’s football coach the following January, ending his career with the Browns. Frank Gatski took over as the Browns’ regular center after Scarry’s retirement.

Coaching career

Scarry borrowed Paul Brown’s coaching techniques at Western Reserve, instituting well-organized practices there. “I had a lot of ideas about coaching before I went to work for the Browns,” he said in 1947. “But the manner in which Paul organized his practice and all his duties impressed me. I try to do the same here.” With no good passer or runner and a lack of depth, Reserve’s Red Cats performed poorly in Scarry’s first season, but he was praised for making the most out of a thin squad. In his second year in 1949, the Red Cats improved to a 4–5–1 record, and Scarry was expected to stay on for a third season. The following year, however, he resigned to take an assistant coaching position at Santa Clara University in California under former Browns assistant Dick Gallagher. 

Scarry stayed at Santa Clara for the 1950 and 1951 seasons before getting a job as an assistant at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. He stayed at Loras for two years, moving to Washington State University in 1954. He left that school in November of 1955 when head coach Al Kircher was fired in the wake of a 1–10 season. In February of 1956, he was hired as a line coach by the University of Cincinnati. During his time at Cincinnati, Scarry served as an assistant to Otto Graham, the former Browns star quarterback, as a coach in the College All-Star Game, a now-defunct annual matchup between the NFL champion and a selection of the best college players from across the country. 

After seven seasons at Cincinnati, Scarry got his third head coaching job, for the Yellow Jackets at Waynesburg, his alma mater. He was also the school’s athletic director. Scarry held the position for three seasons, from 1963 until 1965, and his teams had a 17–8–1 record during that span. As of the conclusion of the 2010 season, this ranks him 12th at Waynesburg in total wins for a coach and fifth at the school in winning percentage (.673). Waynesburg won the Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title in 1965, and Scarry was voted the conference’s coach of the year. Scarry continued to act as the line coach under Graham for the college all-stars in the offseason during his tenure at Waynesburg. In 1964, he was inducted into football hall of fame of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, an association of smaller college sports programs. 

Graham became the head coach of the NFL’s Washington Redskins in 1966, and he hired Scarry that year as his defensive line coach. Scarry stayed with the Redskins through 1968, when Graham resigned after three unsuccessful seasons. He then scouted briefly for the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys before taking a job in 1970 as the defensive line coach for the Miami Dolphins under Don Shula, a former Browns player. Scarry spent the remainder of his coaching career with the Dolphins, retiring after 15 years in 1986. Miami reached the Super Bowl five times while Scarry was a coach there, winning the championship twice, in 1972 and 1973.

 Later life and death

After retiring from football, Scarry worked informally for the Dolphins as a volunteer assistant.[33] He moved with his wife, Libby, to Fort Myers, Florida in 1994. Scarry was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. He died in 2012 at his home in Fort Myers; he was the last surviving member of the original Browns team. He had four sons and a daughter.

120911_Scarry2

From The News-Press:

Former Dolphins Coach Mo Scarry Dies 

Posted Sep 11, 2012

David Dorsey-The News-Press @DavidADorsey The News-Press  

Article Link: http://www.miamidolphins.com/news/article-1/Former-Dolphins-Coach-Mo-Scarry-Dies/11824e4d-be3b-40b9-bbf3-dfeba6682004 

Former Dolphins long-time assistant coach passes away at the age of 92. 

Don Shula called Michael Maurice “Mo” Scarry a “father figure to me,” a man he just had to have on his Miami Dolphins coaching staff, which he did for 16 seasons. 

Jim Scarry called Mo Scarry “Dad,” but he also called him coach.  

Even at age 77, Mo Scarry refused to retire, working for his son as the defensive line coach at Bishop Verot High School for four seasons.  

Mike Scarry called Mo Scarry not just his father but his friend.  

The two of them bonded during road trips from Fort Myers to Miami Dolphins games at least twice a year, long after Mo Scarry ended 25 NFL seasons as coach or player.  

Mo Scarry died early Sunday morning at his Fort Myers home. He was 92. He and his late wife Libby moved to Fort Myers in 1994. The funeral for Mo Scarry is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday at the Church of the Resurrection at 8121 Cypress Lake Drive.  

“I’ve been blessed with some great assistant coaches, and he has to be considered one of them,” Shula said during a phone interview from his summer home in Monterey, Calif. “He has to be considered one of the best. He was like a father figure to me. When I was playing in college, he was coaching at Western Reserve. He was always interested in how we were doing.  

“I was a fan of his even before that. I was a Browns fan when he played for them.” 

After serving in north Africa for the U.S. Army during World War II, Mo Scarry entered the NFL in its infancy, playing center and linebacker first for the Cleveland Rams in 1944-45 and then for the Cleveland Browns in 1946-47.  

After coaching for the Washington Redskins in 1966-68 and then scouting for the Redskins in 1969, Scarry became Don Shula’s defensive line coach from 1970 to 1985, which included that undefeated 1972 season. 

“He was a great coach and a great friend,” Shula said. “I will always remember him.”  

Mo Scarry kept coaching even after retiring. When he left Shula’s paid staff after 1985, he continued advising from the press box on game days as a volunteer assistant.  

After he moved to Fort Myers, Mo Scarry told his son Jim he would advise the coaches at Bishop Verot.  

“He was 77-years-old when he was helping me,” said Jim Scarry, 56 and an assistant coach in Montrose, Colo. “The plan was for him to come to practice twice a week, watch the coaches coach and then help them out. That lasted one day.  

“He wanted to coach the kids. He loved coaching the kids.”  

Hands on and with a firm handshake, even right before he died, Mo Scarry would get into a defensive lineman’s stance at age 77 and fire his legs, throwing his shoulders into a two-man blocking sled to demonstrate proper technique.  

“One of the cool things was he coached the kids at Bishop Verot the same way he coached with the Miami Dolphins,” said Jim Scarry. “He coached fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals.That’s just what he believed in.”  

Mike Scarry said his father played in the first televised college football game, suiting up for Waynesburg vs. Fordham on Sept. 30, 1939. The VIP seating section at Waynesburg is named in Mo Scarry’s honor.  

Dave Shula, an assistant coach to his father Don Shula while with the Dolphins, grew up around Mo Scarry.  

“He was one of my father figures and mentors,” Dave Shula said. “When describing people, like people who were always discipline problems or were always overweight, he’d use the same expression all the time. He’d say, ‘Tigers never change their stripes.’ That’s one of the things that stuck with me.”  

“He was an extra set of eyeballs,” his son Mike Scarry said. 

 After he moved to Fort Myers, Mo Scarry told his son Jim he would advise the coaches at Bishop Verot.  

“He was 77-years-old when he was helping me,” said Jim Scarry, 56 and an assistant coach in Montrose, Colo. “The plan was for him to come to practice twice a week, watch the coaches coach and then help them out. That lasted one day.  

“He wanted to coach the kids. He loved coaching the kids.”  

Hands on and with a firm handshake, even right before he died, Mo Scarry would get into a defensive lineman’s stance at age 77 and fire his legs, throwing his shoulders into a two-man blocking sled to demonstrate proper technique.  

“One of the cool things was he coached the kids at Bishop Verot the same way he coached with the Miami Dolphins,” said Jim Scarry. “He coached fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals.That’s just what he believed in.”  

Mike Scarry said his father played in the first televised college football game, suiting up for Waynesburg vs. Fordham on Sept. 30, 1939. The VIP seating section at Waynesburg is named in Mo Scarry’s honor.  

Dave Shula, an assistant coach to his father Don Shula while with the Dolphins, grew up around Mo Scarry.  

“He was one of my father figures and mentors,” Dave Shula said. “When describing people, like people who were always discipline problems or were always overweight, he’d use the same expression all the time. He’d say, ‘Tigers never change their stripes.’ That’s one of the things that stuck with me.”

 URL: http://www.miamidolphins.com/news/article-1/Former-Dolphins-Coach-Mo-Scarry-Dies/11824e4d-be3b-40b9-bbf3-dfeba6682004

 

FROM THE DUQUESNE TIMES – JANUARY 28, 1938:

HEADLINE

Mo Article

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted in Duquesne High School, Duquesne Public Schools, Duquesne's Special Citizens, Feedback From Our Friends, Sports. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to One of Duquesne’s Own Sport Heros!

  1. Ken Denne says:

    Talked to Rad and he sent me the book..A great readAnyone in the 50;s-60;s will thoroughly enjoy it..

  2. Sam Gizzi says:

    I grew up in Duquesne. We (the Gizzi family) moved there from McKeesport where we lived until 1944. My brother, Dominic (deceased), and my sisters, Polly, Ruby, Linda, and Sandy, and I all attended Holy Name School, and Duquesne Junior High on Sixth Street. We all graduated from Duquesne High School. We originally lived on Apricot Way (behind the old Oliver School) between 2nd and 3rd Streets. Our family moved to Lowery Street in 1954. My sisters, Polly and Linda, and I moved away, but Dom, Ruby, and Sandy remained in Duquesne. I graduated from D.H.S. in 1957 and attended the 40th classs reunion where I was able to meet with some of my old classmates. Unless there is a funeral to attend, I rarely get back to Duquesne. My last visit there was to a Teichart’s Funeral Home to pay respects to a deceased nephew. My drive up Kennedy Ave. and down Grant Avenue was very disheartening. We all had a great time growing up there when there was a shopping area with a variety of stores and a movie theater (The Plaza). The end of all that came when the buildings along First Street were torn down and a strip mall was erected.

    Sam Gizzi

    • Barry Long says:

      Sam: I was a classmate of Dom’s & would not have graduated if not for him. I was given 1/2″ pile of Trigonometry problems & told I would not get a diploma unless I handed them in completed in a week. I went from DHS across Grant Ave; & down 3rd to your house knowing only Dom could do that pile of Trig that fast. He answered the door & I told him of my problem & asked if he would do them for me for $5.00. He reached out & took the pile from my hand, said he would see me in 2 days & he refused the money.(We made .44cents an hour in 1953.) After I graduated I saw him several times before I left Duquesne & would thank him & remind him that I owed him with the $5.00 in my hand. He would hold his hand up (like HALT) & say, “Barry I told you I’d do it as a favor”.What a friend. Over the years i would ask about him since I never saw him at reunions. Big Mike Sabol (Bakersfield CA.) would tell me via phone when he visited family in Duquesne & he said he saw Dom washing his car on one visit & stopped to talked, & on another visit he told me that he heard Dom had passed. I hope to return to the area this summer for DHS’s class of 1953 reunion to be held 26&27th of JULY. Your brother is always mentioned at our reunions. I loved the guy!

    • Ken Denne says:

      When we went to the Grand and Plaza never passed Elsies without seeing Dom. I thought he was a part owner. Remember Elsie..never missed a high school basketball game..she took up two seats in the reserved section!

  3. Harold West says:

    Great post. Back is the 70’s the Superbowl Steelers had an Assistant Coach, Dan Radakovich, who went to DHS. He came back for an assembly at the school and passed his superbowl ring around the audience. Wikipedia does nor mention his HS career.

  4. Dick Bowen says:

    Jim, Dan Radakovich(class of 1953) has written a book about his 55 years of coaching as an assistant.The title of the book is: BAD RAD FOOTBALL NOMAD. He was the originator of the Steelers “STEEL CURTAIN”, Super Bowl IX,X,XIV offensive lines; and Father of PennState’s “Linebacker U”. Over those 55 years he coached with 17 different teams. If interested his web site is www. badradfootballnomad.com. I bought the book last Wed. and I have a hard time putting it down. Very interesting book,easy reading and if you new Rad (which I did), you will enjoy reading it.We were team mates at Duquesne High School, then we played against each other. He was at Penn State and I weny to Pitt. Jim, I enjoy reading your Duquesne Hunky. Keep up the great work. —– Original Message —– From: The Duquesne Hunky To: rfbowen@comcast.net Sent: Saturday, January 26, 2013 12:40 PM Subject: [New post] One of Duquesne’s Own Sport Heros!

    Jim posted: “I have learned SO much about the town that we all love since beginning this blog. Stories about people, places and events that were perhaps destined to be lost forever, have now been noted, recapped and made available to Duquesne neighbors, friends and to”

    • Rome Sikora says:

      Dear Dick
      Thanks for the info on Dan’s book. I talked to Dan about a year ago and he told me that the manuscript was almost finished. I asked him to let me know when it got published but he probably forgot. I had been looking out for the book to hit the racks but yours is the first positive sighting. I will now order the book. Without your input I would still be waiting. Thanks.
      Hope all is well with you. Pitt should have won the Notre Dame game. Fate.

      • Barry Long says:

        Hey ROME: You’re computer literate, Text Rada & tell him to bring some books to sign at our reunion. I called Rada & said I had finished “Johnny U” about John Unitas & a GOOD read. Tell him if he doesn’t bring books to sign & sell to his classmates that Bob Madeya will tackle him when he walks into the Country Club. That should terrify him into remembering!!!! How is the shoulder?????

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