Reunion to gather Penn Hills football players from ’70s
By: Andrew John
Friday, August 9, 2019 | 12:01 AM
Mike Fralic, who resides in Colorado, traveled to the Pittsburgh area in April to attend the Penn Hills Sports Hall of Fame ceremony at the Green Oaks Country Club.
As he took in the ceremony, Fralic came up with an idea to have a reunion for Penn Hills’ 1970s football teams.
Fralic shared his idea to have a reunion during an early-season game with Athletic Director Stephanie Strauss and coach Jon LeDonne.
After further discussion, a two-day reunion was arranged for Sept. 6-7 to celebrate a time when Penn Hills was WPIAL champion from 1976-79, though its last title was vacated for using an ineligible player.
The Indians are coming off an undefeated season when they captured their first WPIAL and PIAA football titles since 1995.
“I saw a bunch of guys from the high school days (at the Sports Hall of Fame). I thought it would be nice to go to a game and have all the guys have an opportunity to do it on a real big scale. I don’t get back to Pittsburgh much since I live out in Colorado,” Fralic said.
The event is open to all those who played on the Penn Hills football team in the 1970s.
The alumni will get an opportunity to catch up with their former teammates when they eat a meal in the Bill Fralic Athletic Center before the 7 p.m. home game Sept. 6 against Fox Chapel. Also, they will attend the pregame speech before kickoff.
During halftime, Tom Flynn will have his No. 5 jersey retired. Flynn played safety at Pitt before being drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1984.
On Sept. 7, Penn Hills alums from the 1970s can continue to reconnect with a get-together at 6 p.m. at Rick’s Sports Bar in Murrysville.
“I’ve lived all over the country, and a lot of the places I live, I see the local high schools get their alumni groups involved with the program. I think Penn Hills could’ve done a better job of that over the years,” Fralic said.
“A lot of people have moved away, and you need to be intentional about keeping people involved with the program. I think it’s healthy for support and interest. When you get a little bit older, life is short so you need to take advantage of relationships and opportunities to see people.”
The Fralic last name is well known in the Pittsburgh area. The Penn Hills community continues to mourn Mike’s younger brother, Bill, who died in December after the Indians won the state title. The Penn Hills, Pitt and NFL standout died of cancer at 56.
Though his high school days are in the rear-view mirror, Mike Fralic cherishes those relationships and memories created at Penn Hills.
“Penn Hills was a great place to grow up in the 1960s and 1970s. We had a lot of fun, and we had some success on the field. I met some really good friends and had an opportunity to play football in college, but my closest friends and best memories are from high school,” Fralic said.
Attending the reunion costs $50, which covers the meal, game ticket, hat and T-shirt. Those interested can register at https://forms.gle/ aaUUJcA2JtNs96ko7 by Aug. 28. Immediate family members are welcome to join.
Tags: Penn Hills