James “Jimo” Wasakoski

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  • January 11, 2024
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Give me a big tackle! – no, make it two big tackles! Better yet, make it two big, strong tackles! That’s exactly what coach Joe Diminick got during his first two years at the helm of the Mount Carmel High School football program. One of those guys was “Iron Mike” Chapel. The other -James “Jimo” Wasakoski. Jimo would start for two years at offensive tackle at MCA in 1962 and 1963, leading the way for guys like Joe Greco, Bob Menapace, Tom Beierschmitt, Ron Grossman and Jimmy McFadden. Those two teams would go 18-3-1 over the 2 year period, losing 3 games by a total of 10 points. Wasakoski was named to the Reading Eagle All Anthracite Team and would receive an athletic/academic scholarship to the University of Richmond in Richmond, Va.

As a freshman at Richmond, Jimo returned a blocked field goal attempt 74 yards for a game winning touchdown and was named the Outstanding Freshman Defensive Player on the team. He then lettered as a sophomore at defensive end before a severe injury short-circuited a very promising career. He would go on to graduate from Richmond with a 3.2 grade point average and earn the Award for the top Economics graduate.

In addition to football at MCA, Wasakoski was a four-year starter for coach Tufky Andrulewicz’s baseball nine. He pitched, played first and second base and captained the team during his junior and senior seasons. During his four years, the Tornadoes won 33 games while losing 19 and had 4 consecutive winning seasons. Jimo also pitched legion baseball, along with Frank Bolick Sr, for the Northern Valley of Girardville and posted a 7-0 record on the mound. Wasakoski also started for one year with the Tornado basketball squad and chipped in with 12 points and 10 rebounds per game.

In a complete turnaround, Jimo found himself as a member of the track team at Richmond and ended up with a 154 foot discuss throw – good for the second best throw in school history at the time.

In 1972, Jim received a Masters Degree from Penn State University and served as Commander of the 65th Military Police Company at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He served as the player/coach for the Battalion’s football, basketball, and softball programs. He also found time to win the Military Police Golf Tournament at Fort Bragg.

After returning home, Wasakoski played in the Adult Basketball League for the Avalon and Political Club teams. He also played Fast Pitch Softball for Shuda Café and B & E Body, winning many league titles and finishing 5th in the state for 2 consecutive years. Jim led the league in home runs for 2 years.

Jimo helped to start the CYO Basketball Program at Queen of the Most Holy Rosary in 1984 and coached the team for 8 years, winning several titles and putting up a 34 game win streak. Jim currently lives in Elysburg with his wife, Maryann and is set to retire from the Pa. Dept of Public Welfare after 32 years of service. Jim and Maryann are parents of a daughter, Jenna, 25, and son, Jimmy- an outstanding athlete himself – deceased.

Categories: 2004 Hall of Fame