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Ex-players returning for Gladys fete

| Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 1:07 a.m.
Former Monessen coach, Joe Gladys,and former Monessen Greyhound, Ben Jones.

The Monessen Public Library testimonial for legendary Monessen football coach Joe Gladys is shaping up to be a big affair.

Several of the former Greyhounds who went on to play in the NFL after honing their skills under Gladys' guidance are expected to attend, including Sam Havrilak, Doug Crusan and Bill Malinchak.

Also on the list of attendees are Gen. Joe Yakovac, State Rep. R. Ted Harhai, Andy Dzurinko and Paul Barton.

Havrilak is the chairman for the event while Crusan, Malinchak, Yakovac and Harhai are honorary co-chairmen.

“We are pretty excited about the response we have gotten so far,” said Marc Bellora, who is on the testimonial committee. “We have guests coming from as far away as the state of California and England.”

The event is serving as the library's biggest fund raiser of the year and will take place Oct. 20 at the Monessen Firemen's Social Hall in the Eastgate section of Monessen.

Gladys retired in 1982 after a 23-year career that included a coaching record of 153-64-9.

He coached Monessen to its last WPIAL football championship in 1961 and was elected to the Pennsylvania Scholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1994.

During his tenure, in which his teams won 11 Big 10 Conference titles, Gladys sent seven players to the NFL, including Malinchak, Crusan, Havrilak, Eric Crabtree, Tony Benjamin, JoJo Heath, Julius Dawkins and his son, Gene Gladys.

The event, which begins with a “meet and greet” with Gladys, former NFL and college players for sponsors of the event, starts at 5 p.m.

Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. with the program to start around 7 p.m.

The program includes several speakers, as well as a silent auction for a 25-by-31 inch framed lithograph of the 1972 Miami Dolphins team that recorded a perfect season in winning the Super Bowl. Crusan was a member of that team. The lithograph is signed by members of the team and is one of only 55 in existence.

Bellora said plans are under way to have a showing of the 1961 WPIAL Championship game, which has been newly digitalized.

“The idea is to just pay tribute to Mr. Gladys for all he did during his career as a coach and teacher and the impression he has left on a lot of people along the way,” said Bellora. “We are doing that while raising money for our public library.”

Previous fund-raisers for the library included one for philanthropist John Husher in 2010 and for athletic sisters Suzie Williams Broadhurst and Jamie Williams Zimmerman. Proceeds will be used to help promote and maintain the library.

There are still some tickets available for the event. Tickets cost $50 and can be purchased by stopping in at the library or by going online to the library Web site,, clicking on special events and going to the Joe Gladys dinner.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or