Al Bass

AL BASS played basketball for Camden High School and managed the Purple and Gold baseball from 1939 to 1943. His managerial record at Camden High School was 85-15, and during his tenure the team won  three city championships and three conference titles. He was also the basketball coach during his last two years at Camden High.

Al Bass left Camden High after 1943, leaving his basketball team in the very capable hands of his assistant coach, Tony Alfano

The next stop for Al Bass was Woodrow Wilson High School, where he succeeded Grover Wearshing. Al Bass coached the basketball team from 1944 through 1949. Woodrow Wilson was a basketball powerhouse under Al Bass. His record as basketball coach at Wilson was 122-39. His teams were the South Jersey Group 3 champions five times, and won the Group 3 state championship in 1949. His  baseball teams were equally successful, with a  105-21 record, five South Jersey titles, four conference championships, and five city-series crowns from 1944 to 1949 in the same six-year span. He remained at Woodrow Wilson until his 1977 retirement as Athletic Director and Dean of Students.


The 12th Ward Club will hold an important meeting tonight at the home of Robert Loeble, 2707 Westfield avenue, at 8.30 p. m. 

The following players are urgently requested to attend: Orv Dannenhower, George Kissinger, Pete Weygand, Elmer Loeble, Bob Loeble, Tom Tracey, El Bearint, Art Watson, Harry Watson, Howard Davidson, Charley Cooper, "Rick" Reeves, Joe De Luca, Joe Snyder, Dick Call, Harold Roth, Bill Cunningham, Bill Brook, Al Bass, Lefty Reynolds and Bill Werking. 

Camden Courier-Post

June 20, 1933


Camden High School Purple & Gold Yearbook 1942

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Camden High Purple & Gold Yearbook - 1943
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1ST ROW: Honey, Czyzewicz, Mussa, Templeton, Wenof, Carter.

2ND ROW: Bass, coach, Budesa, Kauffman Olesiewicz, Nay, Wing, Orzechowski, manager.

Junior Varsity

1ST ROW: Wirshack, manager, Jabalawski, Kauffman, Budesa, Poore, Brooks.

2ND ROW: Morrison, manager, Barbato, Migliaccio, Katsoff, Davis, Hayes, Slingluff, manager.


The story of the 1942-1943 basketball season at Camden High is the story of a development­ a development from the promising, but inexperienced, group of boys reporting for practice last November to the city champs of March.

Of the bays practicing at the start of the season, none had ever been a varsity starter, and Pete Mussa was the only lad who had ever played any varsity games at all. Starting off slowly, always feeling for a starting combination that would click, our team played some very good and some very poor basketball.

Then, about mid-season, things began to happen. The J. V.'s graduated Carter, Olesiewicz, Budessa and Kauffman to the varsity; Les Honey came back; and Camden went an to finish the season in great style. Two of our most outstanding victories were scored over the 1943 State finalists, Trenton and Asbury Park. Trenton went down by the score of 40-39, when Pete Mussa chalked up 19 points. Asbury Park fell by the convincing score of 35-29. Asbury has won the State Championship for the past three years.

Playing heads-up ball, the Camden courtmen staved off the strongest bid Catholic has ever made for the city crown. After dropping a game to Catholic, Camden toppled the confident Irish five in the second game of the city series. The resulting tie had to be broken in a playoff game. Both clubs were at a fever pitch for this game, and the last quarter found the score very close, Camden having relinquished an early lead. With three minutes left in the contest, the Catholic sharpshooter, Adams, swished a sensational basket that put the green and white out in front by one big point. At this point they started to freeze the ball. This strategy proved alarmingly successful. The minutes ticked away with the Irish cherishing their one-point lead. Suddenly, Syd Wenof batted the ball from the hands of Catholic's astonished Captain Scott and, leaving the green team far behind, he dribbled the length of the court and ladled in the winning double-decker. It was the closest game ever played in the city series and left rooters, both Catholic and Camden, limp but happy.

The victorious Purple and Gold basketeers went on to win from Collingswood and Wilson, only to lose to Trenton in the State Tournament. Coach Bass's dribblers had previously been eliminated from the County Tournament by the revengeful Collingswood team.

"Chick" Czyzewicz has been the big point-maker; Captain Mussa has played brilliant ball, as was shown by his 19-point splurge at Trenton; Bert Templeton's last-period arrival has meant the difference between 'victory and defeat; Syd Wenof's star defensive work has been topped off with points in the clutch; Honey's backboard play has been outstanding; high-jumping Sylvester Wing and smooth-passing Paul Nay added much to the team's victories; and the very good ball played by Carter and "Ossie" this year give promise of a great team next year.

As usual, our J. V.'s enjoyed an extremely successful season, under Coach Alfano. All credit goes to city champs "Winks" Kauffman, Charley Brooks, Sam Budessa, Walt Poore, Danny Davis, Charley Butler, Tony Migliaccio, Harold Katsoff, Joe Barbato, Grey Hayes.

Camden High Purple & Gold Yearbook - 1943
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Camden Courier-Post - 1964

Thomas C. Gramigna - Albert Bass - John Dill
Sharon Barden - Wanda Mitchell - Toni Owens
Haddon Avenue - Newton Avenue

Camden Courier-Post - October 21, 2006

Former Camden High School basketball stars Ron "Itchy" Smith, Sonny Sunkett and Billy Thompson will be inducted into the Camden County Sports Hall of Fame tonight at the Woodbine Inn in Pennsauken. Other members of the second class include John Taylor, Phillip Brooks, Edward Myer, Al Carino, Deidre Kane, Jeanne O'Brian Kline, Bernadette McGlade, Kathy McGahey Heinzler, Albert Bass, Bob Kenney, Don Casey and David Praiss.

All proceeds benefit Special Olympics. Contact Kim Vesper for tickets.

Camden Courier-Post * February 25, 2008

S.J. coach and three-time Hall of Famer Al Bass dies


Al Bass, a South Jersey Hall of Famer who built impressive records as coach of the Camden High School and Woodrow Wilson High School basketball and baseball teams in the 1940s, died on Saturday.

He left behind legacies as a businessman, academic adviser and leader in the local sports community.

"He had a great reputation," Camden High School's former athletic director Wally Macpherson said Sunday. "He was a great baseball player, too. He was always the gentleman and an all-around great person. What Bill Palese was to Camden High, Al Bass was to Woodrow Wilson. They were both big names in the '50s and '60s."

Mr. Bass played basketball and baseball for Camden High School and later was captain for the Dickinson College baseball team. He returned to Camden High as a teacher and coach, transferring later to Woodrow Wilson, where he was teacher, coach, athletic director and dean of students until retiring in 1977, after 25 years.

Mr. Bass was inducted into the South Jersey Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982, the South Jersey Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985 and the South Jersey Coaches Hall of Fame in 1987.

Macpherson, who lives in Barrington, was just coming on board as athletic director for Camden High School as Mr. Bass was nearing the end of his tenure as athletic director for Woodrow Wilson.

After retiring from coaching, Mr. Bass officiated football and basketball games.

He is survived by a son, Myles, a daughter, Judith, and two grandchildren.

Relatives and friends are invited Thursday beginning 11:15 a.m. to Platt Memorial Chapels Inc., 2001 Berlin Road, Cherry Hill, where services will begin at noon.

Interment will follow at Crescent Memorial Park, Pennsauken. Shiva will be observed until 9 p.m. at the home of Myles and Marianne Bass.

Philadelphia Inquirer * February 27, 2008

Al Bass dies; renowned South Jersey coach


Al Bass, 95, an outgoing man and renowned coach at Camden and Woodrow Wilson High Schools, died Saturday.

Mr. Bass died of natural causes, according to his son, Myles.

"He was a big fixture in South Jersey sports for a lot of years," said Tom Curley, the former Haddon Township football coach who for 15 years was Mr. Bass' golf partner.

Mr. Bass, who was born in Philadelphia, was the Camden High baseball coach from 1939 to 1943, compiling an 85-15 record and winning three city championships and three conference titles. He was Camden's boys' basketball coach in 1942 and 1943.

Mr. Bass is probably best remembered for his work as the basketball coach at Woodrow Wilson, which he directed to a 122-39 record from 1944 to 1949. In that span, Wilson won five NJSIAA South Jersey titles, along with the NJSIAA state Group 3 crown in 1949.

In the 1949 state final, Wilson edged favored Hillside.

"I was a young kid, but I remember that game like it was yesterday," Myles Bass said. "Hillside was four inches taller per man, and our center was 6-foot. At that time, no one knew what a press was. He pressed periodically that season, but in that game, he used a press from the start of the game to the end - and Hillside didn't know how to handle it."

Myles Bass said Wilson basketball and baseball players would always be at his house, "hanging out" or staying for dinner and "discussing strategies. . . . They loved him."

Mr. Bass' baseball teams at Wilson were highly successful, putting together a 105-21 record and winning five South Jersey titles, four conference championships, and five city-series crowns from 1944 to 1949.

Mr. Bass was the head of the South Jersey Golf Association and a high school basketball and football referee.

Myles Bass remembers Thanksgivings that revolved around sports.

"Thanksgiving in our house was going to the Camden-Wilson football game in the morning, and then he would officiate the Vineland-Millville game in the afternoon, and then it was over to Kenney's Restaurant for dinner," Myles Bass said. "Tom Kenney used to coach Camden Catholic and he owned the restaurant."

Mr. Bass, who was director of the Camden city Recreation Department from 1950 to 1960, was Wilson's athletic director from 1945 to 1970, and Wilson's dean of students from 1959 until his retirement in 1977. After he retired, he worked for his son in his academic tutoring and consulting business.

"He was by my side every single day of his life for the last 35 years," said Myles Bass, a former teacher at Penn's Wharton School of Business. "I didn't want him sitting around after he retired, and he helped me do a number of things."

Mr. Bass was named to the South Jersey baseball, basketball and coaches' halls of fame. In 1994, the NJSIAA presented him with an award for outstanding contributions to New Jersey high school golf.

Until about four years ago, Mr. Bass was a longtime golf partner of Curley's. Mr. Bass was the former club champion at Iron Rock, now known as the Pennsauken Country Club.

"Al was a pure gentleman of golf," said Curley, the former Haddon Township football coach. "He was a fun-loving, outgoing guy who loved to talk, loved to laugh, loved to kid with people."

Mr. Bass is survived by his son, Myles; a daughter, Judith; and two grandchildren.

Relatives and friends are invited to 11:30 a.m. services tomorrow at Platt Memorial Chapels, 2001 Berlin Rd., Cherry Hill. Services will begin at noon.

Interment will follow at Crescent Memorial Park in Pennsauken. Shiva will be observed until 9 p.m. at the Moorestown home of Myles and Marianne Bass.

Camden Courier-Post * February 29, 2008

Bass remembered as S.J. legend


Art DiPatri used to play baseball at the park on Third and Viola streets in South Camden. As an 11-year-old in the early 1950s, DiPatri heard his name announced by Al Bass for the North-South championship game.

"When Mr. Bass came to the game, it was a big thing," said DiPatri -- a former basketball coach at Gloucester Catholic, Woodrow Wilson and Paul VI -- about Bass, who served as the city recreation director.

Many South Jersey sporting greats -- like DiPatri -- came Thursday morning to say goodbye to Bass, no doubt one of the greatest of all the greats wearing suits and ties at the Platt Memorial Chapels.

Six decades ago, Jerry Gold was honored, too, when Bass would bring his microphone kit to East Camden and call his name at Dudley Grange.

Those days didn't seem that long ago when you heard DiPatri and Gold talk so vividly and admirably about Bass.

"He will be a legend forever," Gold said.

Bass died Saturday at 96 years old.

However, Bass' immense impact on the South Jersey sportscape will live forever. He was inducted into the South Jersey basketball, baseball and coaches halls of fame. He also officiated football and basketball games for 25 years.

And, he was the director of the South Jersey Golf League for another quarter-century. Bass also was the South Jersey Senior Champion five times.

"Anyone who had an experience with Al had to learn something," Gold said, "and they became a better person."

His tactics, innovations and motivations as a basketball and baseball coach at both Camden High School and Woodrow Wilson have been passed down to countless former players who became coaches and who have since passed Bass' ways onto current coaches.

His care, concern and compassion as a teacher at both Camden and Wilson, as the Camden recreation director and as the athletic director at Woodrow Wilson also have been passed along to so many.

"He was a very big influence in my life," said Gold, who played baseball for Bass at Wilson and later succeeded him as the Tigers' baseball coach and later as athletic director. "All he taught me was what I used in coaching and as a player."

Bass, a 5-foot-9 basketball and baseball player for Camden, later was captain for the Dickinson College baseball team.

"He went away to college to be a doctor, but he changed his mind," Gold said.

Bass -- survived by a son, Myles, a daughter, Judith, and two grandchildren -- might have helped more people and touched more lives as a coach, athletic director and teacher than as a doctor.

"He helped me in so many ways," Gold said. "He is a major part of what I turned out to be."

Harry Melleby recalled his first day at Woodrow Wilson in 1967, when he was in home room and received a note to go see Bass, who was the dean of students at the time.

"He told me I'd be working in his office," Melleby said.

Melleby went on to sell tickets to athletic events and work the games under Bass' caring eye.

Melleby now serves as the superintendent of Eastern Regional School District.

"I directly attribute my success to him," Melleby said about Bass.

Bruce Plevinsky was the team manager for the basketball team at Wilson from 1968 to 1972 when Bass was the Tigers' AD.

"He was a legend," said Plevinsky, now an accountant. "He was a teacher, not only in the classroom but in many different aspects on the field and on the court and he taught a lot of lessons in life."

Those lessons were passed on to coaches like Gold and DiPatri. There were so many other legendary former South Jersey coaches here to honor Bass -- guys like Tom Curley and Jim Delaney.

"There are a lot of wins here," said Bob DePersia, who is on the board of directors of the Al Carino Basketball Club, as he looked around the foyer.

James Shelton traveled from Long Pond, Pa., about three hours away, to pay his final tribute to Bass.

"He was one of the great influences in my life," said Shelton, who played baseball and basketball in the early 1950s for Bass at Wilson. "He was a man of integrity, he was a man for all seasons, anyone who came in contact with him had to love him."

And Bass' voice that was first heard -- and remembered -- around the sandlots of Camden six decades ago still resonates in the minds and memories of so many.

As the line wrapped around to say goodbye to Bass, Gold was getting ready to give the eulogy at the noon service when he heard Bass' voice and message one more time.

"He is telling me how proud he is of the amount of people to come out and recognize him for what he did in the past," Gold said.

And, how he did it..