The Citizens' Voice
Top 100 Athletes
Note: The Citizens' Voice has compiled a list of the area's top 100 athletes
of all time. Each day another name will be revealed with the countdown
to No. 1 to be completed on Christmas Day. Who will be next?
If we miss any Nanticoke people, please email
us and let us know.
For more on "Famous Nanticokians" please go to www.nanticokecity.com
and click on "Famous Nanticokians."
No. 27: Harry Hamilton
A few key numbers tell the story of the athletic excellence of Nanticoke
Area graduate Harry Hamilton.
100 - That's the number of tackles the hard-hitting hero made
in 1983, the most-ever for a Penn State defensive back at the time.
It earned him Associated Press All-American
honors. That came a year after Hamilton helped the Nittany Lions claim
the first national title in schoolhistory.
8 - That's the number of seasons Hamilton played in the NFL for
the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccanneers. A seventhround pick in
the 1984 draft, Hamilton was always among
the leading tacklers on his team. He finished his pro career with more
than 600 stops and 23 interceptions.
3.5 - Perhaps the most impressive number of all, that represents
the grade-point average in pre-law that Hamilton graduated from Penn
State with. He was a two-time academic All-American and was frequently
cited for his contributions to the community.
When Penn State defeated Georgia 27-23 in the 1983 Sugar Bowl
to win the national title, Hamilton was second on the team with 10 tackles.
Linebacker Scott Radecic led the Lions with 14 stops. Todd Blackledge
was the winning quarterback.
All three were academic All-Americans, leading some to pronounce coach
Joe Paterno's Grand Experiment a success.
"I like to think of myself as a student of the game, but I also
like to hit and I like the contact of the game."
-Hamilton in 1982
DID YOU KNOW?
Hamilton finished his Penn State career with 208 tackles, good for
eighth on the school's all-time list at the time of his graduation.
When Hamilton was a senior at Penn State, his brother Lance was a
sophomore defensive back and his brother Darren was a freshman wide
Before Hamilton's football career took off, he won awards showing
horses and competing in equestrian events while his family lived on
a 150-acre farm near Wapwallopen. He was also an outstanding performer
in track and field.
No. 54: Steve Bilko Jr.
Football, Basketball, Baseball
In 1969, the St. Joseph's Holy Name Society presented Steve Bilko
Jr. with a trophy that gives a perfect snapshot of the breadth of
his athletic excellence.
The trophy was a three-tiered award that featured a baseball, basketball
and football. It was appropriate because many who saw him in action
call Bilko the finest all-around athlete ever to come out of Nanticoke
Bilko had the genes to succeed in baseball, as his father, Steve,
was one of the finest sluggers to ever call the Wyoming Valley home.
The younger Bilko was a fine outfielder who led District 2 with a
.597 batting average in 1969.
Bilko didn't join Nanticoke's football team until his senior year,
but he immediately became an all-conference end, one of the finest
Bilko achieved most of his acclaim in basketball.
Teaming with his brother Tom, Bilko helped the Trojans become a basketball
juggernaut. They went undefeated in league play in Bilko's last two
years of high school and almost certainly would have won a state title
against Steelton in 1969 had it not been for the bizarre fashion in
which the game was officiated.
A 6-foot-2 left-hander, Bilko was known as not only the finest passer
but also the fiercest rebounder in the league. Some say Bilko could
have averaged 30 points per game, maybe more, if he had not been so
committed to coach Syl Bozinski's team-first offense.
DID YOU KNOW?
Despite not taking up football until his senior year, Bilko became the
first Nanticoke Area player named to the Big 33 team when he was picked
Nanticoke Area won five of six league championships in football, basketball
and baseball during Bilko's final two years of high school.
Both Steve and Tom Bilko were named first-team all-scholastic in football,
basketball and baseball in 1969.
#75 Paul Guffrovich - Nanticoke Basketball
"Ever since he was six years old, he had a basketball
in his hand. Anytime you went down to West Side (Park), Paul was working
out. He wanted to be a player."
- Former Nanticoke Area Coach Jim Zubritski, who coached the Trojans during
Guffrovich's Junior and Senior Seasons. -
Paul Guffrovich had one of those "what if?"
high school careers at Nanticoke Area. As in, "what if Guffrovich
played after the PIAA adopted the three-point line?"
A year after Guffrovich graduated, the PIAA instituted the three-point
shot (19-feet, 9 inches) but during his career with the Trojans from 1984-87,
Guffrovich regularly drained jump shots from 20-25 feet away from the
basket. The 1987 Division I MVP following his senior season with the Trojans,
Guffrovich set the school record for career points with 2,271. He averaged
32.6 points per game during his senior year and, as a sophomore, helped
lead Nanticoke Area to the PIAA championship game where the Trojans fell
to Erie Strong Vincent.
Coaches in the Wyoming Valley Conference tried a variety of defenses to
slow the slick shooting point guard, who was also an outstanding defender
and passer. Guffrovich consistently saw a box and-one or triangle-and-two
defenses. But nothing seemed to work and Guffrovich always found a way
to get his points. He ranks eighth in District 2 and fourth in the WVC
on the all-time scoring list.
After receiving a scholarship to Wichita State University, he finished
his careen 5th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,247 points.
His role varied with the Shockers, either being counted on to hit the
three-pointer or being relied upon to distribute the ball. He is the school's
all-time leader in career three-point field goals made with 144. He is
sixth all-time in assists with 383 and fifth in three point shooting percentage
at 43.4. He is also fourth all-time at WSU with 114 steals and second
in free throw percentage at 83.5.
DID YOU KNOW?
In high school, Guffrovich was a standout baseball player.
Guffrovich ranks 30th on the state's all-time scoring list.
He was a four-time All-Missouri Valley Conference Academic selection.
#91 Ken Legins - Nanticoke Basketball
In college, he was known as a good player who played on
some bad teams. Just the opposite could be said of Ken Legins' high school
Legins, a four-year starter for the Nanticoke basketball team, helped
lead the Rams to the 1960-61 Class A state championship with a 56-46 victory
over Hickory Township in his senior year.
However, it is the previous game, a win over Reading, that is considered
by the hardcore Nanticoke basketball fans as the longest 2½ minutes
in modern basketball.
In that game, Reading led by seven, but Nanticoke scored 11 consecutive
points to win the game.
Against Reading, Legins had 13 points. Against Hickory Township he had
16. Legins was named a UPI first-team all-state selection, a Wyoming Valley
League all-star and a member of Pennsylvania's "Big 15" squad.
He had several college coaches vying for his services before selecting
George Washington University.
On the GW freshman team, Legins set a school record for points in a single
game with 41. In 10 games his rookie season, he averaged 22.8 ppg. and
He averaged 15.4 points as a sophomore, 15.3 as a junior and 13 as senior.
The Colonials, as a team, struggled his three varsity seasons, going a
combined 29-43. During that span, Legins averaged 14.8 points and 10.1
DID YOU KNOW?
Legins helped lead Nanticoke to the 1960 Lynett Tournament championship
In his junior year, Nanticoke was 23-0, the first time since 1926 a Nanticoke
team went unbeaten
As a three-year member of the George Washington varsity team, he scored
946 points and pulled down 643 rebounds.
Trojan Sports || Sports