Gary Diminick

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  • December 14, 2023
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He’s a lightning bolt in a football uniform. Catching him is like trying to grab dandelions swishing in a stiff breeze. One minute he’s going in one direction and almost faster than the eye can follow he’s off in another. Such descriptions were often used in describing the athletic abilities of Gary Diminick,

Gary showed early signs of greatness when, as a freshman he returned a kick-off 85 yards for a touchdown in a game against Minersville. It was the first of 73 touchdowns he would score during his high school athletic career between 1966 and 1969 His Tornado teams enjoyed a 43-3 record while winning two Southern Division Championships and one Eastern Conference Crown.

The “galloping comedian” as he became known, went on to become the most prolific scorer the anthracite area has ever known. He scored over 100 points in three consecutive seasons; his 244 points during the ’69 campaign establishing a new state record. He also established state marks for TD’s scored in a season, 38; and rushing yards in a season, 2,099. During his career Gary scored 473 points and amassed a total of 6,144 yards as an all-purpose runner. He averaged 9.1 yards each time he touched the football.

Following the ’69 season, Gary was named to the AP First ALL-State, UPI first team, Big 33, Coach and Athletic First team All-American, Scholastic Magazine All-America, Scholastic Coach All-America, Senior Scholastic Magazine All-America, Kick-Off magazine top 100 backs in America, was featured in Sports Illustrated Faces in the crowd, and became the first athlete in history to have his jersey retired- #33. He became one of the most sought after high school players in the country which over the 100 colleges competing for his services. One college coach said “Gary’s the best high school player I’ve seen in 20 years of scouting.” Another said “of 600 high school backs we have looked at, he’s our number one pick.” That was the Ara Parasegian of Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish, who would eventually win the battle for Gary’s services.

Categories: 1978 Hall of Fame