Philadelphia High School Basketball
A Look at Mark Heimerdinger's 36-Year Coaching Career
At Cardinal Dougherty (1983-2009) and Samuel Fels (2010-18)
Note: Mark is still active. He also coached in the
'81 and '82 seasons at Neshaminy Maple Point.
This page includes stories, special lists, record breakdown and (at the bottom) the
names of all varsity
players during Coach Heimerdinger's 36 seasons. . . .
To provide additions/corrections: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Return to TedSilary.com Home Page
*-Played in NBA
Mark Heimerdinger has coached city basketball teams for 36 seasons through 2018 -- 27 at Cardinal Dougherty (1983-09) and nine at Samuel Fels (2010-18). He has won 522 games while coaching two long-time NBA players and the record-holder for most points scored by a Catholic League player. The story on that accomplishment -- in Dec. 1990 by Shawn Newman -- is here . . .
League / Overall
1983: 5-11 / 7-17
1984: 7-9 / 11-17
1985: 9-7 / 11-17
1986: 13-3 / 17-13
1987: 12-4 / 18-8
1988: 5-11 / 13-12
1989: 12-4 / 19-8
1990: 4-12 / 6-19
1991: 8-8 / 14-13
1992: 13-3 / 25-6
1993: 4-12 / 10-14
1994: 6-8 / 9-12
1995: 12-2 / 21-5
1996: 13-1 / 19-7
1997: 7-7 / 12-11
1998: 4-10 / 6-19
1999: 8-6 / 13-13
2000: 13-1 / 21-6
2001: 8-6 / 13-13
2002: 13-1 / 22-5
2003: 14-0 / 24-4
2004: 14-0 / 26-6
2005: 11-3 / 17-10
2006: 12-2 / 21-6
2007: 14-0 / 25-3
2008: 9-5 / 14-11
2009: 6-10 / 7-15
At Samuel Fels
2010: 6-8 / 10-9
2011: 6-7 / 11-10
2012: 9-4 / 18-9
2013: 4-8 / 8-11
2014: 2-11 / 4-16
2015: 4-8 / 8-11
2016: 9-4 / 14-7
2017: 11-2 / 14-7
2018: 9-4 / 14-6
This story about future NBAer Cuttino "Cat" Mobley was written in 1992 . . .
By Ted Silary
The heel is all that's left of the back-alley rim that helped to launch Cuttino "Cat" Mobley's budding basketball career.
The hoop lasted for three years and untold numbers of successful jump shots. Then . . .
"I started dunking as a sophomore," Mobley said. "One day it broke. My stepfather (Ben Thomas) was saying, 'I'm
not buying another one. ' I probably could have talked him into it. But I let it go. I had some other places to play."
Assuming he meets the requirements of Proposition 48, Mobley next season will do his playing on the Division I level.
For now, the 6-4 Cardinal Dougherty swingman is torching assorted Catholic League defenses.
Yesterday, Mobley shot 9-for-12 (two three-pointers) and 4-for-5 for 24 points and added 11 rebounds, 3 assists and
9 steals as the Cardinals slapped host Archbishop Wood, 72-55, in a game where the spread soared as high as 27 points.
And to think. Basketball perhaps would have missed out on all this talent were it not for a conversation Mobley had
with his father, Donald Easley, as an eighth-grader.
"I was a football player for Incarnation-St. Ambrose," said Mobley, who lives near Third Street and Roosevelt
Boulevard. "Played wide receiver and outside linebacker. I didn't play any basketball. Can't even say why.
"But then one day I was talking with my pop. He said my mom (Jackie Mobley) had played basketball at William
Penn. When I came home, I talked to her about it. I asked my stepfather to buy a basket. I wanted to try it.
"We were always out back. There was a guy named Emilio Colon and some guy we called 'Heady. ' My mom even
came out to play. She tried to help me with my defense, which was pretty shabby."
Mobley, a lefthander, is renowned for being a dead-eye, stand-still shooter with zone-busting ability. But he also
makes quick moves to create his own shots and he has a knack for defensive rebounding. His man-to-man defense
needs work, but his long arms and anticipatory skills make him a master at deflecting passes in zones and trapping
St. Joseph's, St. Francis (Pa.), Iona, Duquesne and St. Peter's are keeping tabs on Mobley as a wing guard prospect,
and the interest will probably increase beginning today, when college coaches are again allowed to observe games
Mobley has not yet surpassed 700 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test. But he did score 730 last year on the Preliminary
"I'm consistent in scoring and rebounding right now, but my defense and dribbling have to get better," Mobley said.
"When my confidence level is high, I can pass pretty well. Confidence in your ability to score is so important. It leads
to all the other parts of your game."
Mobley scored nine points as Dougherty roared to an 18-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. Every Cardinal
performed well through the first 24 minutes. Junior guard Elson DeVan (15) and senior substitute forwards Jerry
Ricca (10) and Jay Pierce (nine) helped Mobley with the scoring, while the 6-5 Kearney twins, Ed and Dan,
combined for eight rebounds. DeVan (six assists) and Dave Black (three) distributed the ball.
When Mobley is not playing basketball, he can be found shooting pool or bowling.
"Yeah, bowling. I like it," he said. "I go with Jay Pierce and Jerry Ricca. I can score about 130 . . . Well, that's on
my lucky days."
His other primary interest is one that he shares with most high-school boys.
"We go on some little missions," he said, with a laugh, "where we search for girls."
This story about future NBAer Kyle Lowry, then a junior, was written in 2003 . . .
By Ted Silary
It was shaping up as maybe the most distressing walk in his life.
And then, with no warning and all kinds of surprise, it became the start of his biggest challenge.
Say hello to Kyle Lowry, a 5-9 junior guard for Cardinal Dougherty High's basketball team and the coaches' MVP
of the Catholic League Northern Division.
Last night at La Salle University, with 1 minute, 29 seconds remaining in the third quarter of a sweetheart of a
Catholic League semifinal, Lowry incurred his fourth foul.
Without hesitation, just knowing he'd have to sit for at least a while, the ultra-aggressive Lowry trudged to the bench.
When Lowry arrived, coach Mark Heimerdinger was there to greet him.
To say a few words. To turn him around. To push him back toward the action.
The final score? Dougherty 70, St. John Neumann 60.
Lowry? He never did foul out.
In the title game tomorrow, 6:10 p.m., at the same site (and on CN8), the Cardinals will tackle St. Joseph's Prep.
Dougherty last won in 1970; The Prep in '71.
"Kyle thought he was coming out," Heimerdinger said. "But there was absolutely no way we could take him off the
floor. Not against that opponent. Not in that situation. To win, we needed him out there. He's a smart kid. We thought
he could do it."
Lowry, whose heart-of-a-lion play last year helped lead Northeast to the Public League final, finished with 17 points,
nine rebounds and four assists.
It was his steal and three-quarter-court drive for a layup with 4:18 left that pulled the Cardinals - who'd entered the
quarter facing a seven-point deficit (and had trailed by 15 just before halftime) - into a 55-55 tie. It was his
three-point play that ended the scoring at 0:22.
As time melted away, and Dougherty's fans roared with jet-engine volume, Lowry most showed unbridled excitement.
Five minutes later, as he spoke with the media, he was still thoroughly hyped.
"I was expecting to come out," he said, gushing. "My coach had an opportunity to show he believed in me. When he
did, I couldn't let him down. After having that kind of faith? No way. When he stopped me and pushed me back, he
said, 'You're still in. You've got four fouls. Play your hardest without getting your fifth.'
"I wasn't worried about doing it. I knew I could. I've done it before."
The latter stages of the third quarter were not without further trauma for Dougherty.
Junior center DeSean White (17 points, nine rebounds) picked up his third foul with 10.5 seconds left, then
immediately tacked on a tech for his fourth. He did sit down and never returned.
So, this was the scene: In the fourth quarter, Dougherty's best player was inches away from fouling out and its
second-best player never got on the floor. As the session started, memories of semifinal losses in 2000, '01 and '02 -
pretty much of ugly proportions - were undoubtedly bouncing around in the players' heads.
Yet, the Cardinals stormed to a 25-8 advantage and bumped off the two-time defending champ.
Like one of those fast-talkers at the end of car commercials, Lowry ticked off the names of pretty much every person
"We all did this!" he roared. "All the players! All the coaches! All the fans! " A little kid, pointing to himself in
don't-forget-me fashion, was standing nearby, holding a squirt bottle. "Even the waterboy!"
He added: "I watched that semifinal last year. I wasn't going to let these coaches go through that again."
Said assistant Dave Distel: "We expelled some demons tonight."
Aiding Lowry in the fourth quarter were Shane Clark (eight of his 12 points), Isaac Greer (seven of his 17), Bilal
Benn and Shawn Bolling. In that session, Greer, Benn and Bolling pooled their efforts to hold scoreless Neumann's
outstanding guards, Richard "Tabby" Cunningham and Antwain Wynn.
If anyone knows Lowry, and is never surprised by what he sees, it's Clark. Clark lives much of the time with
Lowry's family near 20th and Lehigh, in North Philly.
"I knew Kyle would be OK, and would still be aggressive," said Clark, who added 10 rebounds and five blocks.
"That's him. That's how he is."
Of his own success, Clark said: "One of our plans at halftime was to get me more shots. I hit my first one, but the
offense was going other ways [through the third quarter]. Once DeSean went out, I had to help my team more."
Neumann's final points, moving it within 63-60, came with 1:59 left on Todd Johnson's dunk. Dougherty's
clinching basket, making it 67-60, came at 0:33 as Greer got a steal, zoomed downcourt and flipped in a layup after
taking a behind-the-back pass from Bolling.
This column was
written in 1993 about one of the weirdest decisions in Catholic
League history . . .
By Ted Silary
Cardinal Dougherty's basketball team achieved its greatest victory of the season yesterday.
So I'm told.
According to the head coaches and a player from each team, the Cardinals topped visiting Father Judge, 44-27, in
the Catholic League Northern Division.
Hopefully, those folks are better at reporting than are the Catholic League athletic directors at decision-making.
In the aftermath of an incident, admittedly ugly, that occurred between fans of both schools last March at the
Palestra after Dougherty dumped Judge, 46-43, in the North playoff final, the athletic directors voted last April to
bar outsiders of all description from yesterday's contest.
There were no parents, no students, no college recruiters, no media.
At about 2:50 p.m., 70 minutes prior to game time, Daily News photographer Michael Mercanti and I tried to get
to the gym.
We walked through the cafeteria and made a left. Near the locker rooms, an iron gate was stretched across the
hallway. A maintenance man said he couldn't unlock it. Not for us, anyway. At least he was pleasant.
In the gym, so I'm told, a party atmosphere did not prevail.
"When we came upstairs for warmups, it was like going into church, except you could hear balls bouncing," said
Kevin Cooney, a 1992 Judge grad who kept Judge's scorebook.
He added, "Judge might have been better off going to church. "
Bill Fox, Judge's coach, called the atmosphere "as drab as you could possibly picture."
Mark Heimerdinger, Dougherty's coach, agreed.
"It was boring," he said. "Judge came out in a zone. We ran about a minute and 40 seconds off the clock before
anybody woke up."
Said Elson DeVan, Dougherty's point guard and the only member of his team who participated in the playoff
game against Judge: "We didn't let the 'dead' feeling get to us. We kept our heads in it."
Said Chuck Hiller, a center/forward for Judge: "It was quiet. It was like practicing just against a group of guys."
Cooney, who attends Temple University and wants to be a journalist, paid attention to the little things.
Several times, when Heimerdinger yelled to his team, "Patience . . . Patience," Cooney heard Ronnie Zawacki,
10, the son of Judge assistant Ron Zawacki and a mascot/ballboy, blurt out, "It's a virtue . . . It's a virtue."
Late in the second quarter, Cooney said, as Judge was preparing to inbound the ball, a voice could be heard on
the school's main sound system. (There was no public address announcer.)
"Sister Mary Something-or-Other was waiting for her ride in the cafeteria," Cooney said.
Dougherty entered the game at 2-5 in the North. Judge was 5-1. The Cardinals controlled the tempo throughout,
however, and held Judge without a field goal for almost a 16-minute period spanning the first through third quarters.
"It looked like Judge was going through the motions in the situation they were placed in," Heimerdinger said.
Said Fox: "I want to give credit to Dougherty's players and coaches. But as good as they were, that's how bad
The last week has been trying for all concerned. Me included.
Three times last week I phoned St. James High and asked to speak with the Rev. Craig Brugger, the principal.
Brugger is the chairman of the Catholic League principals and is supposed to act as that group's spokesman.
I wanted to protest the fact that reporters were being barred. I also wanted to ask Brugger for his personal opinion
on the matter - off the record, if necessary - and see if he cared to hear the thoughts of a longtime league observer.
Now, I'd like to ask Brugger why he never returned my calls.
Last Friday, the Rev. Paul Kennedy, Dougherty's first-year principal, said he could not understand why the
matter had not been brought to the attention of the principals.
Kennedy called the punishment "one-sided" - Dougherty's fans taunted Judge's from the Palestra floor, then
were pelted by debris, including full soda cans - and said Judge "might be better off having a closed gym, too,"
when the teams meet again on Feb. 26. (I agree.)
I felt compassion for every parent who was unable to attend. I felt the worst for Maureen Bundschuh, whose
twin sons, Brian and Shawn Simkins, play for Dougherty.
Bundschuh, a waitress on the middle shift at a diner, asked to have off this weekend, in part so she could
watch yesterday's game. It would have been nice if someone had told her before last week about a decision that
was made last April. Anyway, at about 2:40, Bundschuh dropped off her sons outside the cafeteria and called
after them, "If they change their mind, call me."
Here's hoping she didn't hold her breath.
On the trip back to the office, I kept wondering, How did this situation get so bungled?
A closed gym. Ten months later. After many of the troublemakers, it can reasonably be assumed, have graduated.
If the ADs felt that Dougherty's fans behaved poorly at the Palestra that night, why didn't they take immediate
action? Two nights later, Dougherty played Roman Catholic for the league championship. It would have taken
loads of work (and guts) to immediately punish Dougherty's students, but it could have been done.
Twenty-five seasons ago, on the morning of a playoff game, every member of North Catholic's varsity cut
classes. That night at the Palestra, the junior varsity took its place (and defeated Bishop McDevitt). That swiftly,
a message was sent.
This message, whatever it was, was sent on a turtle's back.
"The point? . . . No, I don't see what the point was," Elson DeVan said.
He had company.
This story was written in 2010 when
Dougherty played its final home game, ever,
and Mark, in his first season as the coach at Fels, was honored . . .
By Ted Silary
"Gov. Rendell" spoke from the heart to those in attendance at Cardinal Dougherty High's last-ever home
And from his belly.
"The school may be closing at the end of the year," he said, via the PA system, "but I hope the snack bar stays
Actually, Rendell was not in da house. His voice was channeled through announcer Joe Conklin, a 1980 Dougherty
graduate who has gained wide acclaim as a comedian and radio personality. Ditto for Charles Barkley, Charlie
Manuel, Mayor Nutter and Cole Hamels.
Looking ahead to today, "Nutter" told the spectators, "The Friends School is closed. Due to an argument."
Dougherty is open and everyone who cares about hoops is experiencing the warm and fuzzies. After falling into a
9-1 hole in the first 2 minutes, 31 seconds, the Cardinals roared to 19 of the next 21 points and wound up claiming
a stirring 61-52 Catholic Blue win over Conwell-Egan.
First, the trivia: Senior Christen Gibbs scored Dougherty's final basket with 0:11 left on a fastbreak layup. The
assist went to fellow guard/classmate Brandyn Wims, who'd grabbed a rebound and pushed the ball upcourt. (C-E's
Mike Payne added an unchallenged dunk at 0:05). Dougherty's JV won, 61-51, as Chris Owens posted his team's
final field goal and free throw.
A wonderful afternoon was experienced by all. Aside from the levity provided by Conklin, there was the
introduction of all senior players and cheerleaders, with their parents/guardians. And the presentation of a special
award to a teary-eyed Mark Heimerdinger, who coached the Cards for 27 seasons through 2009.
(When the excitable Heimerdinger, now coaching Samuel Fels, did not immediately walk through the door when
introduced, assistant Mike Patterson, then manning the microphone, quipped, "He's yelling at a ref." Much later,
Heimerdinger's wife, Fran, won the 50-50 drawing. Shenanigans are not suspected.)
And recognition for the large family of the deceased previous coach, Bob Harrington, for whom the gym is named,
camped out in the northeast corner. And announcements every so often to laud those former players who'd turned
out. And, shortly after the final buzzer sounded, one last belt-out of the alma mater.
There was also the non-stop energy, and entertainment, provided by the 15-or-so students who stood in the front
row of the Looney Bin, the oversized jury box, constructed in the mid-1970s, that looms above floor level just
beyond the east baseline.
Beforehand, leader Mike Dowling was told a strong final showing was expected from the Bin Boys (with a couple
girls mixed in).
"Our numbers have dropped dramatically," he said, "but we'll do our best."
He was true to his word.
"They're our sixth man," senior forward Art Comas said. "They give us a big homecourt edge."
As always, the crew mixed in a few off-color remarks, and its members were smart enough to keep those at low
volume so as not to draw detentions. Mostly they just screamed general cube-busting remarks ("Try steroids!" was
directed at one thin Eagle) and loudly slapped the padding - in syncopated rhythm, of course - that fronts the Bin.
The Cardinals' 53rd CL season (titles in '64 and '70) isn't over. Tonight they travel to Ss. Neumann-Goretti for a
makeup game and Wednesday will bring a road first-round playoff (likely at Conwell-Egan). Their hope is to create
even better memories, but if this one has to suffice, it's a goodie.
"This means so much," said senior forward Ryan Colbert. "It was exciting to have the whole school join together
one last time in this gym. I"m happy we got the W.
"That [early deep hole] happened at their place, too. When coach [Bill] Day called the timeout, it was a reality
check. Last game. Get it together. We had to do the same things we've been doing since coach Mark was here."
Comas gave some credit to assistant Shawn Smith.
"He woke me up," Comas said. "He told me, 'Stop being a [wimp]!' "
Comas, accustomed to starting, finished with seven points. Colbert, who often sees little action, excitedly found
himself in the first five and scored his four points in the swooshing comeback from the early deficit. He also
snatched four total rebounds.
Colbert was preceded at Dougherty by brothers Ronald ('06) and Deuce ('09, football player). The place holds
a special place in his heart. As does the team.
"They're my family. My brothers," he said. "We've been through blood, sweat and tears.
"Coming out I was very nervous. Looking around at coach Mark, my family members, the alumni . . . I was
eeling it. Historical moment."
Comas' father, Art, played for Father Judge ('80) and is one of Heimerdinger's good buddies. Comas' brother,
Dan, starred for Archbishop Wood, and Art Jr. went there for a year before transferring to Dougherty.
"I used to come here all the time when I was little," he said. "I always loved it. I always wanted to play for
Dougherty. But we live so far away . . . Wood wasn't working out, though, so after that first year I came down
here. I love this place. The seniors keep saying, 'The last class is the best class.' "
Brandon Brown led Dougherty in points with 14. He also claimed 10 rebounds. Wims (14, five assists), soph
Jamal Nwaniemeka (11, 15 boards) and Gibbs (10, four steals) also scored in double figures. For C-E, Ike
Robinson and Payne halved 30 points while Devon Thomas managed 13. Payne and Robinson added 14 and
10 rebounds, respectively.
Conklin used "Hamels' " voice near the end of the game.
"I have a special place in my heart for all of you," he said, with sugar.
With the Bin Boys chanting during a timeout, "Manuel's" earlier comment had been impossible to hear. So he made a return.
"Um, er, um, er, uh . . . " he said this time around. Or something like that.
Everyone cracked up.
Later, downstairs, in a hallway near Dougherty's locker room, Art Comas had no trouble expressing himself.
"We had to win this for everybody else," he said. "It wasn't for us."
Lasts by Cardinal Dougherty players in the school's final home basketball game:
Field Goal: Christen Gibbs, layup (assist by Brandyn Wims).
Rebound: Wims (rush upcourt and assist to Gibbs followed).
Made Free Throw: Jamal Nwaniemeka.
Made Three-Point Shot: Brandon Brown (first quarter).
Missed Free Throw: Wims.
Missed Three-Point Shot: Art Comas.
Missed Two-Point Shot: Gibbs.
Blocked Shot: Nwaniemeka.
Below are the players who have helped
Mark Heimerdinger claim 522 wins
in 36 seasons
as the coach at Cardinal Dougherty (1983-2009) and Samuel Fels (2010-18). 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.