Source: Lehighton Times-News, May 14, 1997


The late John "Teeler" Jabbo, the late Joseph "Chappy" Sharpe and Frank "Perky" Priggins have been selected as Coaldale's inductees for the 7th Annual Carbon County Area Sports Hall of Fame banquet on May 25 at Dean Anthony's in Jim Thorpe.

John "Teeler" Jabbo

Nicknames are synonymous with great athletes in the "hard coal" regions and one of the most mentioned is "Teeler." The name conjures up thoughts of speed and shiftiness, which characterized this gifted Coaldale High School graduate. Jabbo, the son of the late Michael and Tillie Jabbo, attended Coaldale High School and graduated with the class of 1941. While in high school, he played varsity football for three seasons under Coach Tom "Doc" Raymer. His forte was open-field running and he was regarded as one of the best in the region. He was speed personified, and it was evident on the area's track scene. He was unbeatable in the 100-yard dash, holding the District 11 record for over 25 years with a 10.1 time that had a few overtones. The feat was accomplished one afternoon in Pottsville. "Teeler" broke at the starting line, was penalized five yards and despite running 105 yards still bested the field to set the record. After graduating from Coaldale High, he entered the U.S. Coast Guard, serving from 1942 to 1946. John was married to the former Anna Luta and resided in Shenandoah before passing away earlier this year. Two sisters, Rose, wife of Peter Stricek, and Mildred, wife of Thomas Barrett, both live in Coaldale. An older brother Joseph was killed during World War II.


Joe "Chappy" Sharpe.

To his family and friends he was affectionately called "Chappy," the nickname was as recognizable as his ever-present cigar. To the people of Coaldale, he was known as "The Mayor" or the Father of the Coaldale C.H.O.S.E. organization. The late Joe "Chappy" Sharpe probably did more for the young people of Coaldale during his lifetime than anyone. And for that, almost 10 years after his death, a children's park in the west end of the community he loved bears his name, along with that of Coaldale coaching legend Tom "Doc" Raymer. "Chappy," a son of the late William V. and Anna (Fisher) Sharpe, grew up in Coaldale loving and living sports. He graduated from St. Mary's High School and Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, MD. He first worked as a substitute teacher at St. Mary's and in the Coaldale School District, and coached St. Mary's Basketball team five years and its baseball team two years. He was responsible for helping organize the Tri-County Catholic Basketball league in 1933. He later directed the formation of children's softball leagues in town, and was active in the Coaldale Church League for its five year existence in the late 1940s. In 1947, "Chappy" called the first meeting in Coaldale to form the Tri County Junior Legion Baseball League. But perhaps he's best remembered for forming the Coaldale C.H.O.S.E. (Church, Home, Organizations, School, and Environment) Group for the youth of the town. The group, which still prospers today, was established in the late 1950s and supported 12 youth baseball teams (Four Little League, four Minor, and four Midget), and in 1959 also organized a Nurses Aides Program for young women at the former Coaldale Hospital. From 1962 to 1970, "Chappy" served as Mayor of Coaldale while he was working for the former Bundy Tubing Co. in Hometown. He was also a member of the St. Mary's Holy Name Society, where he was a church lector, the Irish American Association, the Coaldale Rod & Gun Club, the Russian Club, and American Legion. He served in World War II in the U.S. Navy. The Panther Valley American Association honored him with its Shamrock Award in 1975. "Chappy" is survived by his wife Mary, and a son, Bob, living in Crofton, MD.


Frank "Perky" Priggins.

All-around athletes, those few who can do it all. Boy aren't they a pleasure to watch. Such was the likes of Frank "Perky" Priggins, or "Fritzie" as many knew him. This gifted lad was a standout in all sports while performing for Coaldale High from 1937 to 1941. He was the quarterback and passer out of the short punt formation employed by Tom Raymer in one of the most famous Coaldale backfields which also featured "Teeler" Jabbo, Charlie Melley, and Dolph Tokarczyk. He was a three-year performer on the gridiron and hardwoods, while also picking up four letters in track. During his senior year he was selected for the Honorable Mention list of Herb Good of the Philadelphia Inquirer, earning him a scholarship to Temple University. At one time, he held the district 11 high jump record and won the medal in the pole vault at the 1941 PIAA meet held at Penn State. He also held CHS' pole vault record at one time. After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and following discharge joined the Panther Valley Big Greens. He also went on to perform with the Nesquehoning Hurricanes. Frank and his wife Irene reside in Lansford and are the parents of two daughters, Christine and Judith.