Tom F. Vernon(Vershinski)
- Post by: mcalibrary
- December 20, 2023
- Comments off
If you were going to make a list of the top 5 athletes ever to play at Mt. Carmel High School you would have to include the name of Tom Vernon. He won 12 letters as a Tornado athlete, and was outstanding in every sport. He is the only athlete in the school’s history to be named All State in both football and basketball in the same year.
The list of accomplishments goes on: He holds the single game scoring record for basketball, a 45 point effort against Pottsville in 1955. He was the first player to score 1000 points in a career; and his 25.3 points per game average in 54-55 is still the Tornado record.
He began to compete in track as a junior…up to that time he concentrated on baseball in the spring. He became an immediate sensation. He went to the state track finals in two events, high jump and discus. Meanwhile, he led the Tornado baseball team in both hitting and pitching. As a senior he was Captain on all four major sports squads; and was named to Scholastic Sports All American team at end…the only Pennsylvanian to achieve that honor.
Tom was not just a high school flash. As a football recruit at Michigan State he made an immediate impact. He started at end for three years for the Spartans, during which time their record was 32-12-2. He starred in the Rose Bowl victory over UCLA in 1956; and in 1958 won the Oil Can Award for the squad member who had the best attitude, enthusiasm, and humor…
He signed with the Boston Patriots in 1960 and was their last cut at tight end. He finished that season in the Eastern Coast semi-pro league and led the league in receptions and touchdown passes (16 in 10 games).
He was offered a contract with the Washington Redskins the following year, but because of 1-A draft status opted to coach the Mifflin High School team in Columbus, Ohio. He remained coach there for 5 years, and during the same period continued to play semi-pro with the Columbus Colts and the Columbus Capitols.
He was frankly, ahead of his time. He had the athleticism and grace of a small man in a big man’s body. Certainly one of the finest athletes ever to wear the Tornado red and white.