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1969 – Glory Years of Follansbee High Football Coaches

Follansbee High School Football Coaches

*1910 -1918 – George Hubbs (1884-1973) – Hubbs was the first coach of athletics and first high school principal. According to folk stories, he organized the first football team in 1910 against Mingo. However, the 1914 team was the first to officially represent FHS.  Earlier teams existed but included players not in school. The first official football schedule was established with the 1917 squad. Also in 1917, Hubbs coached Walter “Red” Mahan, who later was an All American at WVU.  The first baseball team was formed in 1911, and the basketball team in 1916.  George Hubbs graduated from West Liberty Normal School in1907. 

*1919-1920 – Herschel R. Ice – Ice was the football and basketball coach while also principal. His team traveled to Burgettstown by train to open the 1919 season with a scoreless tie. FHS lost its first home game against New Cumberland 20-0. The game at Toronto ended in the third quarter. With Follansbee leading 6-0 Toronto claimed they scored a touchdown as time ended the quarter. The dispute ended the contest.  The 1920 team was the first to beat arch-rival Wellsburg on the Blue & White home field at Pastime Park along the river. The score was 6-0. 

*1921 – Paul “Monk” E. Hager  (1895-1995) – Hager came to FHS after being selected to 1917 All American football team as an end from WVU. His huge popularity engaged the school’s male enrollment to play football. During Hager’s era, the big game of the year was against Mingo, referred to as the “Turkey Day Classic,” on Thanksgiving Day.  His team was the first to play Tridelphia winning 41-0.  Follansbee also defeated archrival Wellsburg 7-0. Hager played a role in the first football banquet on December 10, 1921, sponsored by city busters known as the “21 Club.”  

*1922 – Fred StewartStewart’s 1922 team finished 7-2, losing only to Wheeling and Moundsville. His boys outscored the opposition 205 to 20 points in the first six games and defeated Toronto 61-7. Stewart’s basketball team went to the 1922 finals of the WV State Tournament losing to Parkersburg 24-18. Fred Stewart attended Bethany College where he played basketball and was a celebrated Bison quarterback. 

*1923 –1925Harry F. Sweeny (1899-1964) – Sweeney’s 1923 team was first to represent the new Cross Creek District High school, referred to as FHS.  The city paper described the1923 team as the “Largest Grid Squad in FHS History” with 30 candidates. The team included the first Colliers boys to play for FHS as a result of the construction of the consolidated district high school in 1922-23. The 1924 team was the first to play Weirton, defeating the Red Riders 21-0, and tying Weirton 0-0 in 1925.  Harry Sweeney was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Susquehanna University (PA) and later posthumously inducted into the West Liberty Hall of Fame as a “Hilltoppers” football coach 1n 1982.

*1926 – T.W. CaskeyHis 1926 Blue & White team was the first to play on the new athletic field behind the high school. The first game, against New Cumberland, ended in a scoreless tie. Neither team gained more than five first downs on a rain-soaked field with no draining system. The dedication of the field was delayed until 1928. George Roark, who became the FHS coach in 1929, coached the New Cumberland team in the 1926 mud fest. T.W. Caskey was a stand-out football player at Milligan College (TN).

*1927-1928 – Howard “Stump” Fredericks – Coach Fredericks took over the reigns at FHS on September 15, 1927. His team resumed grid relations with Wellsburg following some years of heated county rivalry disputes. No games between the two Brooke rivals were played during1924 -1926. Fredericks resumed the series winning in 1927 6-0 and 1928 38-0. Signature victories for Fredericks 1927 team were over Weirton 18-0 and Irondale 54-0. Howard Fredericks later became a prominent Wheeling attorney and competitive sportsmen in tennis circles. 

*1929 – George W. Roark (1898-1993) – Roark’s 1929 team was undefeated until losing the final game to arch-rival Wellsburg 6-0. Captain Herbert Minnis intercepted a pass to defeat Weirton 6-0. Roark’s team outscored their opponents 211-24 points and finished the season 8-1-1. George Roark was inducted into the Bethany College Football Hall of Fame in 1925

*1930-1931Earl B. ZookZook’s two-year career at FHS closed with the 1931 season with three tie games against Wheeling 0-0, Worwood 0-0, Wellsburg 6-6, and losses to Mingo 2-0, South Hills (PA) 6-0, Weirton 12-0 and Tiltonsville 45-0. Zook’s victories were against Tyler-Middlebourne 79-0 and Chester 41-7. The Zookmen played one of the toughest schedules in school history.  South Hills lost only one game and won the championship of Pittsburgh. Weirton was the district champions. Earl Zook played football and basketball at Bethany College.

*1932-1933Elmer McGraw – McGraw’s 1933 team lost only two games. Students referred to McGraw as a “miracle man” after his 1933 underdog team beat the Red Riders at the old Cove Field in Weirton 7-6. He graduated from FHS and was on George Roark’s1929 team. McGraw was a tackle at Geneva College.

*1934 -1938 – Harry F. Sweeney (1899-1964) – Sweeney began his second coaching era at FHS having left in 1925 to teach and coach at West Liberty State College. At West Liberty Sweeney compiled an outstanding record of 46-14-3. During his seven-year run, the Hilltoppers gained national prominence.

Returning to FHS in 1934, Sweeney’s efforts to establish a regional reputation were complicated by matchups with regional powerhouses and especially losing records. His 1937 team won only two of eleven games, and the 1938 team dropped its first five starts. Even though disappointing seasons, the fans loved him. A Follansbee Review article (March 11, 1937) praised Sweeney, “We like his form of coaching. It’s the old Follansbee spirit back again. Sweeney’s remarkable coaching career ended in 1938 at Follansbee.     

*1939 –1944Burdell “Jimmy” Carey (1906-1977)Carey’s 1939 team defeated arch-rival Wellsburg 53-6, and completed the season with a 7-2-1 record. Joe Chorba (captain) and Mutt Lombardi represented Carey’s team in the first WV-Ohio All-Star game in 1940. Victor Bonie’s, “educated toe,” won two games over Benwood and Warwood 3-0 by kicking field goals. During the first 1939 game at Weirton, Robert Donell a Red Riders lineman crashed into the Blue & White line head-on with Chorba. Donell was fatally injured and died. Two movies of the 1939 Follansbee vs. Mingo and Wellsburg games can be viewed on YouTube. Carey was inducted into the West Liberty Hall of Fame in 1981.

*1945 –1949 – Mac Bowles Bowles won the OVAC Class A championships in 1947, 1948, and 1949.  His 1945 team defeated Steubenville Big Red in a rainstorm 6-0. His 1948 team was 9-1. Tony Paesano, who later coached both St. Anthony and Follansbee high, was on Bowles 1947 team. Mac was president of the OVAC 1949-1950 and coached the 1950 WV team in the OVAC All-Star game. Mac played football at Davis & Elkins College. 

1950 -1951 – Argue E. “Gus” Winter  (1908-1952) – His undefeated 10-0 team won the 1950 OVAC Class A championship. No opponent scored more than 7 points against the 1950 squad. Zigzag sensational running back and team captain, Paul “Whitey” Mikanik, was selected for the All-State team. Winter’s overall record was 18-1-1, the best winning percentage in FHS history, and the 1950 defense the best in school history allowing only 19 points all season. In 1952, Winter’s unexpected death at 44 of a heart attack shocked the city and ended his outstanding coaching career. “Gus” Winter was a sports star at Davis & Elkins College.

*1952 –1962 – William Doug” Stone (1911-1962) – Stone won the 1954 West Virginia Class AA championship defeating Barboursville 7-6. The 1954 team is considered the best of all time with an 11-0 record. Stone’s basketball team reached the State tournament finals at Morgantown the same year. Stone coached three WV teams in the OVAC All-Star games between 1954-1956. At Salem College, he was an All-WV Conference football player 3 consecutive seasons and rated by sportswriter Grantland Rice among the best backs in the East in 1935. Stone was posthumously inducted into the Salem College Hall of Fame in 1984. He died of a heart attack in Follansbee, May 1962 at 51. 

*1962 –1968 – Denny Williams – Coach Williams’s 1963 Blue Wave defeated Wintersville 30-18 spoiling the Warrior’s perfect season. His 1964 team, beefed up with 13 transfers from Follansbee St. Anthony, inflicted a bitter defeat on Weirton 13-12He coached five All-State players: Verland West, Bob Sebeck, Jack Kostur, Tom Moorhead and Tim Anderson. Anderson later became an All-American at Ohio State. Another standout was Ron Sebeck who went on to fame at Virginia Tech. Williams co-captained the FHS football team and graduated in 1952. He was an athletic at West Liberty and received his Master’s degree from WVU

*1969 – Anthony “Tony” Paesano – was the final FHS football coach. His team finished the season 4-1-5. Vincent Rea was the assistant coach. Larry Hood and Charles Barnhart were selected to play in the WV-Ohio All-Star Game. Impressive wins were over Toronto 43-0, Martins Ferry 29-9, Oak Glenn 29-0, and Triadelphia 15-0. The team lost against old rivals Weirton 7-6 and Wellsburg 39-12. Tony was also the first coach at Follansbee St. Anthony High School winning the OVAC Class A championship in 1958. Tony graduated from FHS in 1947 and played college football at Duquesne University. In 1988 he was inducted into the Duquesne University Hall of Fame.

Nov. 8, 1968 – Final Game Between Follansbee and Wellsburg

Wellsburg won the 48th and final football game over the Blue Wave 39-12. The rivalry began in 1917.  Not only was it the last game of the series, but the final game for both schools, since they consolidated into Brooke High the following year. In capturing the final county championship title, Wellsburg won the Silver Saw, the trophy donated by the Wellsburg Kiwanis Club in 1949.

The final points scored by a Follansbee team occurred in the first period when Guy Casinelli fired a pass to Jim Thomaselli.  In the third quarter, Ron Sebek scored the second touchdown on a one yard run.








Celebration of final game between Follansbee and Wellsburg.

Follansbee Review, “Knights Win Silver Saw in Final,” Wednesday, Nov. 20, 1968

June 1967 – Jefferson School Was Demolished

The old school that was built in 1906 was demolished to make room for a new $465,000 consolidated elementary school. The facility now serves all first through fourth grades in the Follansbee area.   Many former students of the school took bricks as mementos of their of their years in the old school. A time box was found in the corner stone of the building containing the early history of Follansbee.

Children on steps at Jefferson School- 1910

Feb. 17, 1964-History of St. Anthony School

The history of St. Anthony school begins with the vision of a number of capable Catholic priests. In 1917 the Rev. Henry Parascandola was assigned the Church’s first resident pastor.  He acquired properties on the corner of Jefferson and Raymond streets.  Rev. James Rogers became pastor in 1919.  In 1927 the first school building was built.  However, the building was used primarily for church events until 1938.

August 29, 1938 was the official opening date planned for St. Anthony’s parochial school. The announcement was made by Father Martin J. Egan, who was the new pastor having arrived in May.

Three Sisters of the Poor Child Jesus were chosen to conduct the school, assisted by Father Egan.  The sisters were members of an educational order, located at Parkersburg, WV.  Classrooms in the church and school building, erected several years earlier were to be used.

Because of the limited accommodations and the large number of families who asked to register their children, classes were restricted to the first three grades.  In order to determine which children could enter, entrance exams were conducted.  Children entering school for the first time were required to be vaccinated.

By early September 120 children were enrolled as the school opened its door.   Each grade was limited to 40 students.  The curriculum included regular studies, supplemented by religious instruction and Bible reading.

In 1947 Father Robert Weiskercher was appointed to St. Anthony.  During the same year, a Kindergarten was established in the basement of the school.  Plans were also underway for a new high school.

In the summer of 1953, work began on St. Anthony High School.  Its doors opened for two classes, 9th and 10th grades in September 1954.  The high school continued to grow as Rev. John O’Reilly, and Rev. John Allison, his associate, added classes. In June 1957 the first senior class graduated.  By 1959 St. Anthony had 10 teaching nuns, 408 pupils with 135 of these attending high school.

In spite of the efforts of dedicated parishioners and clergy, the announcement to close the high school was made on February 17, 1964. “The rising financial cost and the trend toward centralization of facilities on the part of school systems were the main reasons given for the closing of the small St. Anthony High School.”  St. Anthony had an enrollment of 148 students in high school, and 396 in the lower grades.

Rev. Fr. John L. O. Reilly announced that St. Anthony would merge with Madonna High School of Weirton, WV.  Madonna High became the consolidated Catholic High School for both Hancock and Brooke counties.  The classrooms at St. Anthony High continued to be used for the Follansbee parochial elementary school.

IMG_20141006_0012 St. Anthony Grade School



St. Anthony School





St. Anthony’s First School Building 




1964 St. Anthony







*Follansbee Review, “Parochial School Will Open.” Aug. 18, 1938, p. 1.

*Follansbee Review, “120 Students at Parochial School,” Sep. 8, 1938, p.1.

*”St. Anthony’s Church: History of the Parish,” 1992 Celebration of 50th Anniversary of Church Building.

*Steubenville Herald Star, “Follansbee St. Anthony Will Be Closed,” Feb. 17, 1964.

*Steubenville Herald Star, “St. Anthony Alumni to Meet,” Feb. 27, 1964.

1962-1973- Final Days of Mahan School

Mahan grade school was built at Main and State streets in 1914.  The school served the lower-end of Follansbee from Penn street to the lower city limits, and children from the Cross Creek vicinity.  In 1962, the school suffered significant damage to the rear of the building from fire.  During the renovation of the school, children attended classes in various locations where temporary space was leased by the city.

In 1969 the new enlarged Jefferson School was constructed and Mahan students began attending Jefferson.  The Mahan building was no longer in use.

In June 1973, Mayor Adam Dalessio’s city council passed the necessary legislation to demolish Mahan School and create a recreation area on the site.  “Residents of Follansbee were amazed at the speed the Murphy Construction Co. of Wellsburg demolished” the grand old school.
The school was gone but the fire escape remained.  Matz Malooe, a Herald Star newspaper photographer, captured the last standing remains of the school.  The photo was titled, “A Staircase to Nowhere ???.  For hundreds of residents who recall their childhood years at Mahan, the photo remains a lasting memory.
Council moved quickly with the Mahan School recreational site project.  The Tri-State Asphalt Co. was contracted for black-topping the of basketball, tennis, and handball courts.  The Lee Kane Fence Co. of East Liverpool installed 600 feet of aluminum fencing.  Additional plans were underway for lighting the area during evenings.  The recreational site continues to exists and serves the kids of the local community.
  • *(See 1914 Mahan School on Timeline)
  • *Steubenville Herald Star, “Demolition Bid Goes To Murphy,” Wed. June 6, 1973.
  • *Steubenville Herald Star, “Mahan Recreational Site Project Pushed,” Tues. June 12, 1973.
  • *Steubenville Herald Star, “Staircase to No-Where ???” Fri. June 15, 1973.

1960- Hillside and Aerial Photos of Follansbee

The city of Follansbee began as a boomtown with the construction of the Follansbee Brothers Tin Mills between 1902-1904. In 1906 the town was chartered as the city of Follansbee. The Follansbee Brothers continued to expand and other factories and businesses moved to the city. The 1910 census recorded the town population as 2,031. By 1920 the population grew to 3,135, and between 1930 and 1960 the city census remained over four thousand persons residing in Follansbee. The census did not include the unincorporated areas surrounding the city. 

The aerial and hillside photos of the city illustrate the remarkable prosperity and growth of Follansbee.  The golden age of Follansbee occurred between the 1930s and 1960s including World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam Conflict.   

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Sheet Metal factory at far right. Mahan School upper right.


Jefferson Glass factory, upper left.


Photo from Highland Avenue


Photo from Highland Avenue


Photo from Highland Avenue


Photo from Highland Avenue

untitled Follansbee Aerial Photo

Early photo of city before paved streets.

thumbnail_Follansbee Birdseye view







To see this picture in greater detail, first click on the image. Second, hold the Ctrl key down while using the scroller on your mouse. To bring computer screen back to normal, click out of the picture, hold down the Ctrl key and scroll in the opposite direction.

At the right, you see the river, the houses in front are on Virginia avenue.  You can see the newly paved sidewalks there, those walks were paved after the 1913 flood.  Prior to 1913 , the walks were made of wooden slats, which got washed away by the flood of 1913. This area is the block north of Raymond street, (the 1000 block). The big building on the left with 5 windows on the upper floor is the Grago Garage & the skating ring was upstairs.  The north end of Follansbee Steel is in the middle of the (900 block).  The Immediate front house is on Neville street, and behind that is Jefferson street. Description given by Joe Settimio.

*Photos courtesy of WV Archives, Tillie Meno, and Burgesttown Historical Society


June 1957 – Follansbee St. Anthony Graduates First Class

St. Anthony school began operation in September 1938 with 3 Sisters. In 1947 a kindergarten was established in the basement. In the summer of 1953 work began on St. Anthony High School. The doors opened to 9th and 10th grades in September 1954.  The school continued adding grades until June 1957 when the first senior class graduated. By 1959, St. Anthony had 10 teaching nuns and 408 students with 135 of these as high school students.  Because of financial difficulties, St. Anthony discontinued classes on February 17, 1964.

  • “St. Anthony Parish 100th Anniversary Celebration: 1906-2006.”  Follansbee, WV. November 5, 2006, p. 3.


1956 – Gleen Ashby “Jeep” Davis — Olympic Champion

IMG_20141012_0007 Gleen Davis was born in Follansbee.  After his parents died when he was 15, he moved to Barberton (OH) to live with his brother.  Davis became a track star at Ohio State. He won Olympic gold medals in the 400 meter hurdles at the 1956 Melbourne and 1960 Rome Olympics. In 1958 he received the James E. Sullivan Award as the nation’s top amateur athletic.  He was also a sprinter and won a third gold medal as a member of the U.S. 4X400 meter relay team in 1960. He is a member of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.  Davis was featured on the June 27, 1960 cover of Sports Illustrated.   Following his track career, he played wide receiver for the Detroit Lions in 1960-1961.


Mayor Tony Paesano, who knew Davis’ late sister, Doris Basil, said while growing up in Follansbee, Davis was known for setting up saw horses and garbage cans in Rose Alley (now Rose Street) to practice running hurdles. On a visit to Follansbee in 1998, Davis served as the Grand Marshall in the Community Days parade. He died in 2009.

  • See “TJ Hill-1954” on timeline
  • See “Gleen Davis (athletic)” on Wikipedia for more information (On-line)
  • Brooke Scene, “Follansbee native, Olympian remembered,” February 7, 2009, p. 4.