- Post by: mcalibrary
- December 20, 2023
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“Hook’s Goal Beats Coal!”…That was the headline on the sports page of the Mt. Carmel Item, celebrating the upset win that gave the Tornadoes the championship over previously unbeaten Coal Township High.
That was a first-ever championship for the Big Red. Never known as a basketball power, the Tornadoes had always played second fiddle to Shamokin and Coal Township before Jack Hook’s last minute field goal turned the trick for Mt. Carmel.
What was even more improbable was the fact that Hook was a first-year player at the time. He had contacted rheumatic fever his sophomore year and was forbidden by the doctors to participate in sports during his recovery period. He finally got the medical go ahead his senior year, and the res, as they say, is “history”.
The Tornadoes, finally having the “big” man that always seems to be missing at Mt. Carmel won 19 of 23 games and had its most successful season ever to that point.
After graduation, Jack continued to play semi-pro basketball, around a 2-year army stint, in which he served in the counter-intelligence corps. He probably had his most successful basketball performances as a member of the Locust Gap Apollos. The Apollos, led by Hook, Bill Shannon another of our inductees, Bill Wetzel, and Phil Muscara, a former Pottsville star were semi-pro state champions in 1953.
The Apollos took on all comers, and in 1953 won 37 of 44 games enroute to winning the state championship.
Hook later turned to politics; and was a borough councilman for more than 20 years before his death in 1995.