William P. “Billy” O’Brien
- Post by: mcalibrary
- January 12, 2024
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Billy O’Brien’s induction today is something that has long been overdue. During his high school career at Mount Carmel Catholic High School, O’Brien was recognized as one of the best basketball players to play in the area up until that time. Bill starred for four years with the Rams, finishing his career with 1,068 points, and is believed to be the first local player to register 1000 points in his career. Tom Vershinski did it at Mount Carmel in 1955, while Charlie Griscavage concluded his Catholic High career in 1957 surpassing the 1000 point mark. O’Brien and Griscavage remain as the only two players to surpass the mark in Catholic High history, while both still reside in the top 20 of St. Ed’s, Lourdes and MC Catholic combined. Catholic High played in the always tough Central Penn Catholic League at the time, but Billy still managed to lead the league in scoring as a senior.
Following his graduation in 1954, Billy would spend six years working for the Public Utility Commission in Harrisburg, PA. During his time O’Brien played basketball for the legendary Locust Gap Apollos, a semi pro team in the 50’s and 60’s. Billy would then spend two years with the United States Army Counter Intelligence Corps.
In 1962, Billy was approached by John Barr, the head basketball coach at Susquehanna University, and was offered a full scholarship to play for him and the Crusaders. (Barr is an inductee in the inaugural class of the Ed Romance Chapter in 1978). Bill would go on to letter for four years with the Crusaders and was named a captain in both his junior and senior seasons. Billy would rank third in scoring for Susquehanna in each of his three years as a starter. He would go on to score 892 points, averaging 12.9 pts per game in his three years as a starter. He would lead his team, shooting 85% from the foul line and 52% from the field during the 1966 campaign. Two of his teammates: Rick Eppenheimer and Clark Moiser, still rank as the 2 highest scorers in SU history.
After graduating from Susquehanna in 1966, Bill was employed as an accountant for Weis Markets, Inc. in Sunbury, PA. During his first two years at Weis, he served as the JV coach at Susquehanna. O’Brien remained with Weis Markets for 34 years, retiring as Controller in March of 2000.
Bill married the former Mary Louis Todorowski in 1961. They currently reside in Lewisburg and are the parents of three sons: William Jr, James, and Stephen.