Allen’s 100-Year Basketball Celebration Brings Legends and Some Great Stories

As the banquet progressed, Saturday night’s 100th anniversary celebration of the Allentown High School/Allen High School Men’s Basketball Program at DeSales College ran longer.

But with over 100 seasons to cover and an equal number of legendary players, coaches and teams to salute, Doug Snyder, Bob Freed and other event organizers did it all overnight. rice field.

From retired federal judge Ed Kern to royal leaders such as NBA players Tyrese Martin, J. Barney Crumb, J. Milo Swars, John Donmoyer, Snyder and Darnell Braswell, the Lehigh Valley It was a night attended by one of the most famous programs in . bow.

With nearly 100 former players on hand, and dozens associated with the Canaries program, fans can visit Little Palestra, Muilenburg Memorial Hall, and where Allentown and Allen played basketball over the years. It filled the ballroom at the DeSales University Center like it was packed.

In setting the scene at the beginning of the presentation, Freed, who has been part of four generations of a family playing Canaries basketball, said Allen has only had five coaches in 98 years, dating back to Crum’s start in 1925. said.

“Among these five coaches, we have 1,721 wins, which ranks Pennsylvania’s all-time seventh-highest,” Freed said. “These five coaches of his, in District 11 he has won 20 titles and state championships he has won five times. It is a tradition that has been passed down.”

Freed said his Allen basketball experience began in 1960, when he was four years old, going to games with his mother, who always sat by his wife in Swars.

“We sat in the back corner of the legendary Little Palestra, where the cheering band and the roar of the crowd still ring in my ears,” Freed said. “My father’s uncle was captain of the 1918-1919 team. He played for J. Bernie Crumb in the early 1940s, and in his final years he enlisted in the military and fought in the South Pacific. I played with Coach Snyder in 1974 and gave him a lot of assists, but he never told anyone about it.Our staff includes Milo Swars as head coach and John as an assistant. There was Don Moyer, whose son Dan played under Coach Snyder from 2000 to 2002. Even my step-grandson is a water boy today.

According to Freed, his grandmother attended Allentown High School in the early 1900s, and he has a Canary and Blues book that told him about basketball at Allentown High School.

“So the program is definitely over 100 years old,” says Freed.

Cover of Allentown/William Allen Basketball Centennial Program at DeSales. The program cover was an artist rendering by Rob McFetridge. (Photo by Keith Growler).

A member of the Canaries’ last state title team in 1951, Khan said of playing for both Crum and Swars: A game for coachcrumbs or coachswords.

Kern said Crum was hired as a baseball, basketball and soccer coach at Allentown High School in 1925 and was the first quarterback for a Muilenburg University football team to defeat Lehi.

“I had dinner with Don Moyer’s daughter and she reminded me that Don Moyer is also a quarterback for the Muhlenberg football team and his main sport is football.” said Khan. “So Muhlenberg’s quarterback tends to come to Allentown’s basketball.”

Khan, who grew up in Allentown in the 1940s, said: Crum had won his four state championships, and also had a stretch of his 60-game winning streak in the 1940s, so we all wanted to play for Allentown. ”

Those who didn’t go to the game listened to the radio where legendary broadcaster Johnny Van Sant was answering the phone.

“Nothing was more important than basketball in Allentown,” Khan said.

Khan said that while Crum set an astonishing record of 490 wins and 109 losses from 1925 to 1950, it should be noted that two PIAA championships were revoked due to alleged violations.

“I’m suggesting in Crum’s defense that other teams were probably doing the same,” Khan said. , should be mentioned.”

Indeed, the good times far outweighed the bad, and Allentown’s basketball has rolled seamlessly from the Crum era to the Swars era, established by Don Moyer and Snyder and now taken over by Braswell.

Sean Ward talks about the back-to-back state finals of the 1978-79 and ’79-80 teams, and Allentown Central Catholic Assistant Steve Nacomb said that several leagues and districts were in the 1980s. title team for Don Moyer. He coached him for 17 seasons at Moravian’s academy after Don Moyer retired from Allen, and he still has 624 wins, making Lehi his Valley’s most winning men’s coach. I mentioned that it is Of which he spent his 23 seasons with 423 Allen.

Snyder said Crum has a stadium named after him, Swars has a gym named after him, and Don Moyer has a floor at Swars Gym named after him. .

“All I wanted was a plaque over the urinal in the men’s restroom,” he said.

However, Snyder named the street outside the gym after him, and the lobby led to Sewards Gym and Don Moyer Court. He could also pay tribute to his four District 11 titles, led by some of the greatest players in school and area history.

The 2002 D11 champions were led by Ray Barbosa, the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,202 points. The 2006 champions included Braswell, Terrence Roderick and Adrian “Ace” Brown. The ’11 team was fueled by current European pro Jalen Cannon and current assistant Daquan Holiday, while the ’19 team was fueled by current DeSales star Nate Ellis, the school’s second-leading scorer with 1,560 points. It has been paced.

Ellis also helped Braswell win the district title in the first season of 2020-21.

Martin, who joined forces with Tarek Williams to lead Allen to a 26-3 record and the 2017 EPC title, then played college basketball for both Rhode Island and UConn. Things weren’t easy and they weren’t just given to me growing up. But I had a lot of opportunities and had to take advantage of the people around me and the great coaches like Coach Snyder and Coach Randy Attie. Keeping the people I care about close to me helped me get to where I am today. ”

Braswell, who moved to Allentown from Newark, New Jersey in 1997, said he came to the city for a second chance in life. In today’s much more ephemeral society, the Canary Program continues to be an exciting place for children who know nothing about Crumb, Swars, and the legendary figures who laid the groundwork.

“I was looking for greener pastures, and the William Allen community allowed it,” he said. “My story began when I played for the Little Canaries in 2000-01 and was in the Emmaus-Allen District 11 title game at Parkland in 2002, going into double overtime. , Ray Barbosa scored 43 points.It was the first time I saw Allen basketball, and I’ve been there ever since, wanting to be a part of its history and strong tradition.”

Braswell said he will do his best to keep that tradition alive.

“All the hard work you’ve done in the past goes to everyone in the program to make sure they pay it forward now,” he said. The young are happy to be in this room to celebrate Allen’s basketball, and what I want to do is bring the young and the old together and continue this tradition. Maybe, but there is someone in me who is rooted in the culture and does his best to move it forward.” Allen’s 100-Year Basketball Celebration Brings Legends and Some Great Stories

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