SPRINGFIELD — Michael Mullan is enjoying his retirement after 40 years coaching tennis at Swarthmore College.
And, yes, at 73, the two-time Springfield PIAA singles champion (1965, 1966) and former US Open qualifier (1978) still plays the game he loves.
“I’m a member of Idle Hour (Tennis Club in Drexel Hill),” Mullan said Sunday. “I try to play ITF (International Tennis Federation) senior tournaments, 70+.”
Mullan was one of nine inductees into the Pennsylvania Delaware County Chapter Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday at the Springfield Country Club.
Michael “Duke” Callahan (NBA referee), Jill Davis (lacrosse), Michele Doyle (lacrosse), Harry Jones (multiple sports), brothers Charles “Buff” and Wilbur Kirkland (basketball), Maureen Logan (basketball) and Brett Moyer (butt).
Interboro’s Stephen “Ziggy” Andrews received the Eddie Coyle Aware for Athletes with a Physical Impairment. Garnet Valley’s Max Busenkell and Kaitlyn Stankavage were named Kelly and Bo Ryan Scholars Athletes of the Year.
Matthew Atansiu and Kelsie Robinson of Interboro were recipients of the Andy Talley Humanitarian Award for their volunteer work. Marple Newtown graduate Weronika Slupianek received the Special Olympics Award and Charles “Chas” DeFeo won the Agnes Stegmueller Award for his contributions to community youth.
Mullan compiled a 421-354 record in 40 years as Garnet’s head coach (1979-2018). His teams have won three Division III national championships (1981, 1985, 1990), finished second in 1989 and third four times (1984, 1986, 1988, 1991). He has coached 52 All-Americans and was named ITA Division III Coach of the Year in 1986. He also has a doctorate in history and sociology and is a member of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Swarthmore.
In 2000, the Michael Mullan Tennis Center in Swarthmore, which has three courts and a fitness center, was named in his honor.
“One of Swarthmore’s generous benefactors, Swarthmore graduate Jerry Kohlberg, set it up,” Mullan said. “Like almost all of his gifts, he put someone else’s name on them. He contributed funds for many different sporting pursuits at Swarthmore, but his heart was in tennis.
“He got to know me personally. We always wanted to have something inside for the men’s and women’s tennis teams and all the students, teachers and staff who wanted to play tennis.
“He gave scholarships. He named the scholarships not after the Kohlberg family, but after his roommate at Swarthmore, the Evans Scholarships. He donated a building for the social sciences and humanities. His family finally said, “Jerry, come on.” This is Kohlberg Hall, one of our most popular buildings. That’s the kind of guy he was.
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Callahan spent 29 years as an NBA referee. All the while, he was simply known by his nickname, which dates back a long time.
“I think it was fourth grade with my brother Richie,” Callahan said. “There was a concierge at Notre-Dame de Fatima (in Secane). He said, “I think you’re going to be like Duke,” and it stuck.
The Cardinal O’Hara grad refereed 1,626 regular season games, 225 playoff games and 21 NBA Finals games before retiring after the 2018-19 season. Yet he is still involved in the development of G League officials.
“The G-League is our refs going to the WNBA or the NBA or both,” Callahan said. “…I’m just very lucky after 29 on the pitch to have the opportunity to come back and help.”
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When he started playing basketball in Cheyney, nobody called Charles Kirkland by his nickname. That would eventually change.
“It was by accident,” Buff Kirkland said. “Harry McLaughlin came to see Cheyney once and we were playing and he yelled, ‘ey Buff.’ No one else knew except him and a few guys from Chester. Jimmy Wilson heard it, and that’s all it took.
“Since then, it’s been Buff. Jimmy Wilson wouldn’t call me anything else.
Neither Buff nor his brother, Wilbur, played at Chester, but that didn’t stop them from succeeding in college or professionally. Buff was a first-team College Division (now Division II) UPI All-American as a senior and was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks in the eighth round of the 1972 draft (No. 129 overall). He played in the Eastern Basketball League and eight seasons in Holland, where he made the All-Defensive team seven times.
Wilbur earned All-America honors at Cheyney and was drafted by the ABA’s Pittsburgh Pipers in 1969. After serving in the United States Army, Kirkland played eight seasons in Greece, Italy and Switzerland.
“It means a lot,” Wilbur Kirkland said of his induction with his brother. “It’s a great honor for both of us, especially since neither of us played for high school.”
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Jones stood out in three sports at Nether Providence, earning seven letters in football, basketball and baseball, with All-Delco honors in basketball. He went to western Kentucky where he was the first black player on the Hilltoppers baseball team.
He led the team in batting as a sophomore (.333) and received a scholarship. He hit .317 as a junior and .368 as a senior. Jones has won All-Ohio Valley Conference honors three times.
He credits his father, Harry L. Jones, with instilling the will to succeed.
“When I was going to high school,” Jones said, “he said to me, ‘This is what you’re going to have to do. I don’t wish you luck because it’s 50-50. You have to take matters into your own hands and leave no doubt. You must be one of five (starters) in basketball, one of nine in baseball, and one of 11 in football.
“When he gave me that, it gave me a gift. That was my mindset from there. I had to be one of those five, one of those nine, one of those 11. So my dad was a central part of my life.
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NOTES >> Davis was a two-time All-Delco lacrosse player at Ridley and the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year at La Salle. She is a special education teacher at Ridley. … Doyle retired in 2014 after 32 years at Penncrest, where she coached field hockey, basketball and lacrosse and served as the school’s athletic director. She was a member of West Chester’s 1979 NCAA Championship lacrosse team and played for the USA team in the 1982 World Cup. Doyle was inducted into the USA Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2016. … Logan earned All-Delco honors in basketball before a standout college career at St. Francis, Pennsylvania. She still ranks first in career steals (354), second in assists (522) and 20th in points (1,122) … Moyer has won All-Delco, All-State and All-American honors and has guided Ridley to a pair of state lacrosse titles. He earned All-America honors at Hofstra and went on to play professionally with the Philadelphia Barrage and Philadelphia Wings.