Philadelphia High School Basketball
A Look at Eddie Burke's 30-Year Coaching Career at St. Joseph's
Prep (1969-71), St. Thomas More (1972-75), Bishop McDevitt
(1976), West Catholic (1977), Drexel University (1978-91) and
SJ Prep Again (1993-99)
This page includes stories, special lists, record breakdown, recaps of wins in championship games and (at the bottom) the
names of all players during Coach Burke's 30 seasons . . . . To provide additions/corrections:firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Coach Burke's All-Stars
* - Played in NBA
Eddie Burke coached basketball for 30 seasons, 16 at Catholic League schools (three at alma mater St. Joseph's Prep, four at St. Thomas More, one apiece at Bishop McDevitt and West, seven again at SJ Prep) and 14 at Drexel University. In 1972 he pulled off quite the feat, winning CL titles in consecutive years at different schools and giving the CL a City Title triumph to boot. That story is here . . .
SEASON BY SEASON
This story was written after Eddie
coached the Prep to the 1971 Catholic League
championship . . .
This story was written in 1986 after Eddie led Drexel to the East Coast Conference
championship and a spot in the NCAA Tournament . . .
By Kevin Mulligan
TOWSON, Md. -- This time, Drexel wasn't hampered by illness or injury, as in 1983 and 1984 East Coast Conference
This time, a last-second whistle didn't end Drexel's season, as it did in 1985.
This time, Drexel coach Eddie Burke's script was not rewritten by the uncontrollable.
The Towson Center horn had sounded.
Hofstra could score no more points.
And there was Eddie Burke dancing what must've been the Havertown version of the Irish jig. His Dragons were the East
Coast Conference Tournament champions, 80-76 winners over a persistent Hofstra team.
Drexel's eighth consecutive victory and 14th in its last 15 games also bagged the school's first NCAA Tournament berth,
which is awarded automatically to the ECC champion.
''I told you there wasn't going to be any horror stories this year," said Drexel forward Casper Cooper, who remembered
last year's first-round loss to Lehigh, in which Walt Fuller was whistled for a decisive foul with three seconds left. "I don't
want this night to end. It's the greatest feeling in the world. Got to be."
The celebration raged long past 2 a.m. at the team's headquarters in nearby Hunt Valley, Md.
"I don't know what to say," said senior co-captain Fuller, blinking back tears in a near-empty Drexel locker room. "This
means everything to me. It was a long, hard time coming, but the guys told me they wouldn't let me down, and they never
did. They never did all season. And now we're the champs. It's like a dream come true. It's hard to put into words."
Not for Burke, whose Dragons (19-11) converted six of eight free throws in the final 1:32 and held Hofstra to one field
goal after the Flying Dutchmen (17-13) charged from a 69-60 deficit at 6:35 to tie it at 74 with 1:45 showing.
"Fast Eddie" had no trouble reducing the meaning of Drexel's 19th victory - which ties a school Division I record set in
1982, when the Dragons lost to St. Joe's in their only other appearance in an ECC championship game - to the simplest
"Forget all that other stuff. We're in the bar pools, OK? " Burke said. ''Now, maybe every housewife in Delaware County
won't be talking Villanova. Now we have a team that they can pick and say, 'Damn, I got Drexel.' They'll probably throw
it back in and say they didn't take it out.
"But hey, they're going to be talking about the Dragons, brother."
Last night, the vocal 800-plus at Towson State University's Towson Center were trying to recover from watching the
Drexel, behind 14 points from point guard extraordinaire Michael Anderson (21 points total), had everything go its way in
the first half but the whistles - Cooper and Chris O'Brien committing three fouls each - as the Dragons cruised to a 45-36
A Troy Stribling jumper and a John Rankin banker off a nifty bounce pass from Stribling, who was in for O'Brien,
boosted Drexel's pad to 55-44 with 15:06 remaining, at which point Hofstra seemingly realized the game was not getting
The Dutchmen used a pair of offensive rebounds - two of 18 Hofstra had for the evening, compared to Drexel's five - by
reserve center Steve Rebholz to fuel an 8-0 burst that trimmed the spread to 55-52 with 11:55 remaining. What followed
was a memorable finish, in which Drexel spread the lead back out to nine and then lost it before recovering to win.
Included were the following highlights:
* O'Brien, the Dragons' steadying influence, fouled out with 4:36 remaining on a controversial call by referee Frank
Scagliotta that ignited more controversy when he sent Hofstra's Luke Murphy to the line to shoot a one- and-one with
Drexel up, 71-64. As a large section of Drexel supporters erupted in protest, Murphy made one free throw, before
Scagliotta and Stan Rote, hearing the commotion and seeing Drexel's coaches pointing at the scoreboard, realized they
had awarded the free throws on Hofstra's fifth team foul, one under the limit. The point was taken off the scoreboard
and Hofstra retained possession.
* With Drexel leading, 72-64, at the 4:17 mark, Hofstra - aided by two ill- advised Stribling bombs and a Stribling
turnover - put together a 10-2 run to tie it at 74 heading into the final 1:45.
* Pat Rafferty came up with the biggest rebound of his career after an Anderson miss on the Dragons' next possession.
Rafferty was fouled and made one of two to give Drexel the lead for keeps, 75-74, with 1:32 left.
Rankin rebounded Murphy's 16-foot miss Hofstra's next time down, and the Dragons iced it at the foul line. Anderson
hit two, but Hofstra's Leroy Allen got those back. Then Stribling knocked down one of two at :26 for a 78-76 lead, and
following a Hofstra miss, Anderson kicked off the partying with two free throws with nine seconds remaining.
On the free throws with 26 seconds left, Hofstra coach Dick Berg tried to ice Stribling by making an illegal substitution
and by ordering his players to keep criss-crossing from one side of the lane to the other until the referee handed Stribling
"They tried to freeze me, but I just took my time and knocked it (the first free throw) out," he said. "When I made
that, I knew we had it, up two. "
"I thought that was really unfair to the kid," said Burke. "But I have great confidence in Troy. That's why I put him in
there. He made a couple bad plays, but that's the kind of guys we have. They make mistakes, they don't dwell on them
to complicate matters. Troy cottoned the first one and the second rolled on him a little."
O'Brien watched the final 4:36, pacing the floor with a towel in his mouth, behind the Drexel bench.
"I was going nuts inside, watching," he said. "But I said as long as we got the ball in Anderson's hands, we were in.
I've never been through anything so nerve-wracking in my life. I once thought I'd like to coach, but now, sitting out like
that, I don't think I could take it. To tell you the truth, I was going to hide under the bleachers, so I wouldn't have to
"We missed his senior leadership out there," said Anderson, who scored 21 points, took 8 rebounds, handed out 3
assists and made 5 steals to clinch unanimous MVP honors. "But there's something about this team. Somebody goes
down or out, we pick him up. We just knew we were going to do it."
"It's tremendous, absolutely tremendous," said Burke. "When you attain goals in your life, it's just a real edifying
experience. Our goal was to win the league, and then we had to do it over again in the playoffs. And it's not an easy
thing. A turnover, a block/charge call, you're out. One and done. To do what this team did (rebounding from a 5-10
start) is a great, great accomplishment."
Burke had trouble holding in the pride that comes with knowing his often-overlooked program finally was sharing
similar turf with the Big 5 - the NCAA Tournament.
"That taste I had in '82 (making it to the conference title game) has always stayed with me," Burke said. "These guys
weren't here then, but they wanted to create their own thing, that's all. I don't itch about the Big 5 anymore. Each of
them (the Big 5 schools) have their own identity and we're trying to make our identity larger, and I think that's what
we've done. We'll be all across the country, in every newspaper in the United States. That's pretty good publicity for
being a pretty good basketball team."
"Actions speak louder than words, and I think our actions spoke tonight," Fuller said. "We've shown what we can
do. We've shown we've got a good team, just like the other good teams in the city. I think they respect us, and I think,
because of people like Eddie, they were pulling for us."
"I think it's going to be a blast," said O'Brien. "We'll enjoy it, but we'll also be out to show people some things. I'm
sure we'll have teams sticking us man-to-man for 96 feet.
"One of my friends was asking what I'll do against a Duke or Syracuse or someone like that. I said, 'I'm just going
to give the ball to Michael (Anderson), and I don't care if it's Mark Price or Pearl Washington, he's going to shake
'em. They're going to be standing there after Michael blows by 'em saying, 'Where the hell did that guy come from?' "
And maybe after the game O'Brien will tell them: Philadelphia.
NOTES: Walt Fuller turned in another exceptional game at both ends, scoring 17 points. He averaged 16 points in
the three wins, kept Drexel alive with scads of key baskets and steals, yet was not named to the five-man all- tourney
team. Drexel's freshman center John Rankin, who scored 16 points with seven rebounds last night, joined MVP
Michael Anderson, Hofstra's Leroy Allen and Luke Murphy, and Bucknell junior guard Mack Allsteadt. Chris O'Brien
on Anderson and Rankin: "Some Big 5 schools might be in different situations right now if they had them. They really
missed the boats."
Recaps of victories in high
school championship games . . .
At the Palestra
SJ Prep 64, O'Hara 58
Maurice "Mo" Howard shot 12-for-18 and 5-for-8 for 29 points — a CL postseason record — and Bill Truskey mixed 13 points with 12 rebounds as The Prep prevailed. Two baskets by Howard and another by Truskey allowed the Hawklets to take a 49-46 lead and maintain control from there. Mike Arizin (22) and Ed Manning (17) led O'Hara.
At the Palestra
ST More 54, North 42
Carl Kenty collected 13 points, 19 rebounds and eight blocks as Tommy More made Eddie Burke the first coach in CL history to win back-to-back championships at different schools. Emery Sammons scored 16 points and Larry Sanders grabbed 13 rebounds. Barry Brodzinski (11) and Mike Kernan (10) paced North, whose fans pelted the court with four stink bombs during the game and with empty beer cans as the Golden Bears celebrated.
Below are the
high school players who were coached by
Eddie Burke over
16 seasons at St. Joseph's Prep, St. Thomas More, Bishop McDevitt, West
Catholic and SJ Prep again. The year indicates the player's final season. Most
were seniors. Some transferred and some were underclassmen who did not
play in the following season.
Below are the players who
were coached by
Eddie Burke over 14 seasons at
Drexel University. The year indicates the player's final season. Most were
seniors. Some transferred and some were underclassmen who did not play
in the following season.