Living with ‘Papa Bear’ Henzes

  • Hello Everyone, I recently had delightful conversations with two former Blakely Bear team members, Joe Weston and Bob Rossi and they informed me how successful the web site was going and that I should take a look and maybe relate a bear tale about Papa Bear. Well, I have the good fortune and blessing to be married into the Henzes family. I was lucky enough to marry his daughter, Joan .I not only played football for him ,but I also got to live with him, coach football with him and coached basketball and baseball against Papa bear. How strange is that you might say. Well, here’s how it happened. When Joan and I finished college we got married like most young people in love we had no money and I got a job at the last minute at Olyphant High School in August of 1964. I was head basketball coach and coach to Stan Kutsop. As many of you know Coach never drove a car. He walked everywhere. He also had a law degree from Dickenson and was a classmate of Congressman Dan Flood. Sorry, I’m getting ahead of my tale. Coach and Mrs. Henzes took us in their home for two years until Baby Eric and we were able to get on our own…… One day before a game against each other we were discussing basketball strategy and he was telling me what he would do if he had my team and was playing against Blakely. I listened intensely and thought to myself what a compassionate and totally unselfish man he is to give his wise advice. I drove him to our game in the old Olyphant High Gym ,he sat on one side I sat on the other. I decided to use his advice and for three quarters of the game we were neck and neck. At the start of the fourth he gave me a wink of his eye as to say nice going, and his team of linebackers Mike Magnot and Mike Tomasetti crushed the boards and blew the game wide open. After the game ,Coach said to me” O.K. Phil let’s go home and have some ice cream.”. I loved that man! I always will…..He was the one and only man who really deserved to be called COACH…..

    Phil Angeli, Class of 1959


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