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Ryan’s best athletes prove to be good coaches

Archbishop Ryan has a great track record of producing players who never forget where they started.

One of the best: Frank Wycheck went from playing at Archbishop Ryan to making miracles in the Music City. PHOTO: TENNESSEE TITANS

If you’re new to Northeast Philadelphia, you know Archbishop Ryan is a basketball school.

It’s true the Raiders have been very successful on the hardwood, but in the past 30 years, Ryan has been good at many sports.

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In fact, under coach George Todt, the Raiders weren’t only one of the best soccer teams in the city, but one of the most successful teams in any sport.

In football, the Raiders made a habit of collecting Catholic League championships.

A lot of those titles were team efforts, but the teams did have great players to lead the way.

Another thing about Ryan is many of its top players never forgot where they came from and often returned. Three of the guys on this list are back coaching at the school, and they’re just as successful calling the shots as they were on the field.

A quick rundown of the rules before we get into the list.

The list includes male athletes only. A list of female athletes will be our next project. Also, players are picked from the class of 1987 to the class of 2017, and players are judged based on their accomplishments in high school, college and the professional ranks.

If you’re a recent graduate and you didn’t make the squad, don’t fret. Obviously, Izaiah Brockington, the school’s all-time leading scorer in basketball, would make a great choice, but since he graduated in June, he didn’t have a resume that included his college career, so he didn’t make the list.

Once again, these lists wouldn’t be possible without the great research listed on www.tedsilary.com, the high school sports site.

These lists are done for fun, so if a great player was left off, it’s not a slight. It’s just a case of a numbers game. If you have different thoughts, join the discussion on Facebook, email or on the comments section.

Here are the best of the best from Archbishop Ryan:

1. Frank Wycheck

The 1988 graduate was a standout running back who helped Ryan win a Catholic League championship during his senior season. His accomplishments at Ryan make him a strong candidate for the list, but he really flourished once he got to the NFL.

The University of Maryland graduate became one of the top tight ends in the NFL during the early part of this century. He was the top receiver for four years on the Tennessee Titans, and in 2000, he helped the team make it to the Super Bowl, where they fell one yard shy of winning a championship.

On the way to the Super Bowl, Wycheck was involved in one of the top plays in NFL history when, with his team trailing by one point with 16 seconds remaining, he chucked a lateral across the field to Kevin Dyson on a kickoff return that was returned 75 yards for a touchdown. The score gave the Titans a win in the first-round playoff game over the Buffalo Bills. The played has since been dubbed “The Music City Miracle.”

Wycheck is still involved in sports. He hosts a sports talk morning show in Tennessee.

2. Joe Zeglinski

This 2006 graduate has become one of the top basketball coaches in the area, leading the Raiders to the Catholic League semifinals in his two seasons as head coach. But before he was drawing up plays, he was one of the top offensive players in the area, and not just in basketball.

He was a four-year starter at Ryan at running back, and racked up yards by the thousands. He accounted for nearly 4,000 yards during his career, which ended early in his senior year thanks to a torn ACL.

The knee injury spoiled most of his senior basketball season, but he still had a strong career on the hardwood. He was the all-time leading scorer in Ryan history until Brockington surpassed him this year.

Zeglinski went on to play college basketball at the University of Hartford, where he scored more than 2,000 career points and sank 393 three-point shots, which ranks 16th all time in NCAA Division I basketball.

Before returning to Ryan, Zeglinski spent a year playing in the Danish Basketball League.

3. Matt Knowles

This 1989 graduate was a member of the Raiders during their glory days. During his senior year, where the defender was named the Most Valuable Player of the Northern DIvision, Knowles led Ryan to its fifth consecutive Catholic League soccer crown. All five of those victories came against St. Joe’s Prep. During his senior campaign, he earned All-State honors and was also a kicker on the Ryan football team.

He decided to turn pro in soccer after high school and went on to play 17 seasons, starring for the Metro Stars, the Miami Fusion, Milwaukee Wave, Detroit Rockers and finally the Philadelphia Kixx, where he was one of the best players in franchise history.

He also played for the Illinois Thunder in the National Professional Soccer League, where he was named Defender of the Year in 1992. During his career, he was named his league’s top defender three times.

4. Andrew Rogers

The All-Catholic defender in soccer helped Ryan win championships during his final two seasons at the school, but he made his mark as a member of the Raiders’ basketball team.

While running the offense under the tutelage of his older brother Bernie, the 2008 graduate was a four-year starter at point guard who got more comfortable as he gained experience.

During his senior year, he was among the top players in the city. He helped the Raiders make the Catholic League championship, and for his efforts, he was named the Most Valuable Player of the Northern Division. In that year, he led the Raiders in scoring, but the reason he won MVP honors was because of his ability to make the players around him better.

He took those gifts to the University of Maine, where he continued his basketball career.

He played all four years, and during his senior year, he was a starter, leading the team in assists.

5. Chris Mooney

This 1990 graduate has been a staple on the University of Richmond’s bench for the past 13 years, and since he was hired, he’s guided the Spiders’ basketball team to a lot of good times. To do so, he uses the vast knowledge he learned while playing point guard at Ryan.

As a senior, the guard averaged more than 16 points per game, and earned a scholarship to play at Princeton.

He had even more success as a Tiger. Mooney guided Princeton to two Ivy League championships and a pair of trips to the NCAA Tournament.

A four-year letterwinner, he scored 1,071 points, drained 142 career treys and started every game during his career. He’s the 20th-leading scorer in school history and one of just five Tigers to have scored 1,000 points, grabbed 350 rebounds and handed out 200 assists.

As a coach, he’s amassed 243 victories.

6. Jim Emanuel

When the Raiders were in the midst of their dynasty, Jim Emanuel was lurking in opponents’ backfields. This 1995 graduate was one of the top linebackers in the city, and he helped the Raiders win championships during his sophomore and junior seasons. During both seasons, Ryan’s success was predicated upon having one of the best defensive units in the area.

Emanuel was a two-time All-Catholic selection, and during his senior year, he was on the All-City squad.

Upon leaving Ryan, Emanuel had a productive career at Hofstra, which got him noticed by professional teams.

He signed with the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent, but didn’t make the final roster. He then went on to play for the Barcelona Dragons in NFL Europe and for the Memphis Maniax of the XFL. He also had a tryout with the Chicago Bears, but was released before playing a game.

7. Ryan Haney

This 1997 graduate spent his grade school days working out on the soccer field behind the school. Once he got there, he knew the lay of the land and he quickly became one of the best players in the city.

The two-time All-Catholic selection helped the Raiders win Catholic League championships in his junior and senior seasons. During his senior campaign, Haney poured in 23 goals and received three player of the year honors, including the Northeast Times player of the year.

Haney earned a scholarship to Temple, where he was named Philadelphia Soccer Seven Rookie of the Year and still holds Temple records for single-season goals and single-season points. He then transferred to Rider, where he led the school in scoring and assists.

He played one season for the Reading Rage, a professional team.

After his playing days, Haney became an assistant to Todt, and in 2006, he became the girls soccer coach. Before leaving to take over the boys program prior to the 2016 season, Haney won four straight Catholic League championships with the Ragdolls.

8. John Price

This 2000 graduate was one of the better defensive backs in the city. During his junior year, he was an All-Catholic selection in helping the Raiders go 7–0 in Catholic League Northern Division play, and guided them to the championship game, where they fell to La Salle.

He was good at football. He was great at baseball.

The pitcher was twice named the Most Valuable Player in the Northern Division, and during his sophomore year, he hurled a victory in the Catholic League championship game.

His pitching earned him a scholarship to Temple.

9. Frank McArdle

Now known as the fiery coach of the Ryan football team, McArdle did a little bit of everything before he graduated in 1999.

A two-way starter in football, McArdle was a standout tight end and was named Ryan’s offensive most valuable player in his final year, when Ryan finished 7–0. He also made his share of bone-jarring hits at linebacker, a position he played when he went to James Madison, where he was also a standout special teams performer.

HIs №2 sport was basketball, where he was a three-year letter winner. During his senior season, he was a starter who averaged about six points per game.

He also earned two letters in baseball, but he didn’t play his senior year to focus on preparation for college football.

10. Gene McAleer

A 1993 graduate, he was the heart and soul of the most successful run in Ryan football history. The linebacker helped guide the Raiders to three straight Catholic League titles. During that three-year run, Ryan finished 28–0–2 in Catholic League play under coach Glen Galeone.

During his senior year, the Raiders went 12–0–1 and surrendered just 35 points during the entire season.

McAleer played college football at Hofstra. At linebacker, he was named to the All-American team in 1996.

Last year, McAleer was named to the City All-Star Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

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