SCHENECTADY — All these years later, the memories of their undefeated football season are still vivid for the members of Mont Pleasant High School’s 1967 team.
Those confidence-building efforts early in the season.
Beating rival Linton to cap the season.
- Mechelle Smith went from shy girl to fierce taekwondo champion
- A challenge made John Maurycy a pro
- Hall of Fame selection humbles Della Villa
The guidance received from coaches such as Larry Mulvaney and the late Tony Parisi.
“Everything about that year is so memorable,” said Al Aldi, a senior co-captain, and all-county selection for Mont Pleasant’s 1967 group as an end. “I hate to sound so corny, but we had such a wonderful experience that everything about it was memorable. Whenever I talk to the guys or [Mulvaney], some amazing detail or memory pops up and it brings back a flood of wonderful feelings.”
That remarkable 8-0 season will receive its latest bit of recognition during Monday’s Schenectady City School District Athletic Hall of Fame & Reunion Dinner at Proctors. The 1967 Mont Pleasant squad, which ended its season with a win against Linton, will be honored with this year’s Legacy Tribute at the event.
“They deserve that,” said Mulvaney, now 93 years old.
Mulvaney — the team’s head coach — remembers that year’s group as one filled with versatile, talented athletes.
“Those kids all played many sports. We had such great athletes. They were talented and had great attitudes,” Mulvaney said. “They were great to work with. You wish you had that caliber of kids every year to coach.”
During that season, a number of teams Mont Pleasant defeated did not lose another game — and that started with the team’s opener against Aquinas. Mont Pleasant won that game 14-13, an identical score to the game it later won against an Amsterdam team that finished with a single loss.
“Coach didn’t shy away from playing a tough schedule,” said Gale Knull, a senior All-American lineman in 1967. “That first win set the tone for the season.”
“And then we didn’t lose,” said Ron Page, the team’s star junior running back who scored a team-best nine touchdowns.
In between beating Aquinas and Amsterdam, Mont Pleasant scored wins against Gloversville (33-12), Philip Schuyler (53-18), Albany (7-0) and Troy (12-0). After topping Amsterdam, Mont Pleasant concluded its season with a 27-13 win against Linton.
“Back then, everything was about doing the best you could and beating Linton,” Knull said. “That was our rivalry. . . . It was sacrilegious to lose to Linton.”
“Our whole season [hinged] on beating them,” said Page, whose team finished the year ranked No. 1 in the state poll. “That was something special.”
Page credited the team’s coaches — in particular, Mulvaney — for making sure Mont Pleasant never slipped up.
“He never let us get complacent. He kept us focused within each game,” said Page, who shared that year’s Thom McAn Player of the Year honor with Knull. “Just because we were winning didn’t mean we were always playing to our maximum potential. He kept us honest.”
Away from the field, Mulvaney and the team’s coaches did more than that.
“For a lot of us,” Knull said of Mulvaney, “he was a father figure. He was our mentor.”
The coaching team of Mulvaney and Parisi, Aldi said, was unmatched.
“They were game-changers for our lives, not just our football careers,” Aldi said. “We were so fortunate to have those folks in our lives. They were legends before we ever got there.”
Mont Pleasant’s 1967 team did its part to add to its coaches’ resumes. Mulvaney said he “hates” to compare his teams, but said the 1967 edition of Mont Pleasant football likely produced the best season of any team he ever coached.
“They,” Mulvaney said, “were once in a lifetime.”