This article is from the website of the Montgomery County Coaches Hall of Fame. It has been slightly edited.
When the term “legendary” is applied to someone in the world of sports, it often implies years of service, a record of excellence and many headlines. Many times, that legendary status fades as the years pass.
In the case of Charlie Heavey, only two of those four circumstances apply to him. The former St. Mattews High football coach had an excellent record (63-35-6) and his story inspired many headlines … but his years of service were cut short by a tragic accident.
In August of 1955, during a violent thunderstorm, Heavey stopped on the road to see if he could help passengers in a disabled car. Due to a downed powerline, he was electrocuted – cutting his coaching career short.
But his memory lived on with his former players and students. Rather than fading over time, he has been honored continually by the members of the Archbishop Kennedy High School Football Alumni. St. Matthews High School in Conshohocken eventually became Archbishop Kennedy High School and the alumni still remember Heavey’s legendary contributions to the school. Their passion for the man who coached football – and for short periods, any other sport where his service was needed – is still at an unmatched level.
For the inspiration he provided … and still provides … Heavey will receive, posthumously, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Montgomery County Coaches Hall of Fame. The award will be presented as part of the gala induction banquet on Tuesday, November 26 at Presidential Caterers in East Norriton.
A native of West Philadelphia and a graduate of West Catholic High and LaSalle College, Heavey came to St. Matthews High School as a teacher in 1944 and immediately re-started the athletic program. Representing St. Matthews High School, the football teams embarked on a series of spirited annual contests with Conshohocken High.
That spirit evolved into many championship seasons at Archbishop Kennedy High, until its merger with Bishop Kenrick High. The members of the Archbishop Kennedy High School Football Alumni keep that spirit alive at regular luncheons, and they campaigned fervently to see Heavey honored.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was created by the Montgomery County Coaches Hall of Fame to honor those who have distinguished themselves in the world of sports – but may not fit the criteria for induction into the Hall of Fame.
Two individuals who received the award also are members of the Hall of Fame. Tommy Lasorda and Geno Auriemma each received the award after leading their U.S. team to an Olympic gold medal.
The award is not presented every year … only when there is a very deserving recipient. This year’s recipient, Charlie Heavey, certainly fits the bill.
This year’s Hall of Fame induction class includes former Germantown Academy High girls’ basketball and Ursinus College women’s basketball coach Jim Buckley, Upper Merion High girls’ volleyball coach Tony Funsten, Montgomery County Community College baseball coach Lou Lombardo, former University of Pennsylvania field hockey and lacrosse coach Anne Sage and former Abington High basketball coach Jim Wilkinson.
The five members of the new induction class, along with the yet-to-be-announced members of the Montgomery County Coaches Hall of Fame Honor Roll (for volunteer coaches) will be inducted at the November 26 banquet.
Tickets for the banquet are available for purchase by contacting any member of the Hall of Fame Advisory Board. Additional information can be obtained by going to the website – www.mcchof.com or by calling the banquet management office at 484-868-8000.
Photo: Black and white image from the Montgomery County Coaches Hall of Fame