History of Plymouth Whitemarsh Boy's Basketball
Plymouth Whitemarsh High School officially opened its doors in 1952. In 1958 the school joined the Suburban I league, and just 5 short seasons later, in 1963, won its first state championship. Immediately a standard of basketball excellence was established. Under the direction of Pennsylvania Hall of Fame coach Henry Stofko, the program grew to be recognized as one of the most respected in the state. Coach Stofko oversaw the Colonials for 32 seasons, leading his teams to a total of 559 wins, 8 league titles, 8 district semifinals, 6 district finals, 4 district titles, and 2 trips to the state final (1963 & 1964). The incredible success of these early days sparked a passionate fan base of students and community members that exists to this day.
With each successful season players from various teams became household names. To engage in a conversation with a lifelong fan today inevitably brings up names like Shantz (’61), Pergine (’64, NFL), Szczesny (’64), Morgan (’74), McCarthy (’74), Minick (’84), and Bell (’90), just to name a few from the Stofko era. When one of Coach Stofko’s most impressive performers as a player, Albert Angelos (’76, Textile), took over the coaching helm starting in 1990, it may have felt like a new era, but the results were just as impressive. Over a 7-year run Coach Angelos’s teams won 170 games against just 37 losses for an intimidating 82% winning percentage. The program collected 4 more league titles, 3 more trips to the district semifinals, its 5th district title in 1998, and its 2nd state title in 1997. Players like Mike Melcher (’94, Penn) and Abdul Collier (’96, Philadelphia) pave the way for the Angelos era teams to reach national prominence. As high school basketball grew in popularity, so too did the media attention, and with that not just local but state, regional, and national rankings. With players like current NBA veteran John Salmons (’98, Miami) and Vanderbilt graduate and current Coatesville coach Chuck Moore (’97), the 1997 and 1998 teams earned top 20 rankings in USA Today.
By the time current head coach Jim Donofrio took over in 1998, Plymouth Whitemarsh had earned the well-deserved reputation as one of the premier high school basketball programs in the state. Now entering his 17th season, Coach D’s teams have continued the tradition of excellence, having accumulated 327 wins that include 10 league titles, 6 trips to the district semifinals, 2 district final appearances, 3 state semifinals, and the 2010 state title. As with the Stofko and Angelos teams prior, individual performers such as Courcy Magnus (’04, NJIT), Ronald Moore (’06, Siena, Italy), Thomas Young (’05, IUP), Lance Wilson (’07, Hamilton), Da’Rel Scott (’06, Maryland, NFL), Anthony Minor (’07, Hartford), Whis Grant (’10, East Stroudsburg), CJ Aiken (’10, St. Joseph’s), Jaylen Bond (’11, Temple), and Anthony McKie (’13, Bloomsburg) have etched their names into PW basketball history. Both Aiken and Bond were named as the Pennsylvania Player of the Year at the end of their senior seasons. There are 16 total 1000 point scorers in PW boys’ basketball history; 7 of the top 10, and 9 of the 16, have played under Donofrio.
Overall the program enters the 2014-15 campaign with 1,111 wins against 437 losses for a career winning percentage of 72%. The league record stands at 666 wins against 184 losses for a 78% winning percentage. The team has made 44 district tournament appearances and reached the district semifinals 17 times, the finals 9 times, and won 5 district titles. There have been 21 trips to the state tournament, including 8 semifinal appearances, 4 championship game appearances, and 3 state titles. While winning games is certainly a primary goal, what may be most impressive is the fact that players coming through the program have earned over 2.5 million dollars in scholarship money in our history. Looking back to the earliest days it is easy to argue how things have changed – personal trainers, the growth of AAU basketball, individual player rankings, flashy sneakers, and much more media attention. Some argue today’s game emphasizes too much celebration of individual performance, and lacks the team concept and a stress on fundamentals. It can safely be pointed out, however, that the Plymouth Whitemarsh Boys Basketball program has not forgotten its roots, and continues to produce teams that stress a team first mentality, fundamentals, and playing with pride for one’s school and community. The goals set by Coach Stofko remain the same – play hard, play fair, and play together, while competing for league, district, and state titles. The tradition truly has continued.