Chaney graduate was star on field and off

Frank McPhee, 80

By Tom Williams


East High graduate Joe Malmisur wasn’t surprised in 1949 when Chaney’s Frank McPhee received a scholarship to attend Princeton.

“He was the best,” said Malmisur, who was Youngstown State University’s athletic director for many years. “He was an outstanding athlete, great at basketball too.”

On March 31, McPhee, 80, died. After playing for Princeton and serving in the Marines, McPhee capped his football career with one NFL season with the Chicago Cardinals.

He then enjoyed a long career with Prudential Insurance in Houston. McPhee moved back to Youngstown when he retired.

McPhee was born in Youngstown on March 19, 1931 and graduated from Chaney in 1949 where he played football, basketball and golf.

Former major-league player George “Shotgun” Shuba graduated a few years ahead of McPhee at Chaney, but is well aware of the impact he had on the community.

“It was a very special time for us back in the late 1930s and 1940s,” said Shuba, a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1948-55 and the first National League player to connect for a pinch-hit homer in a World Series.

“Our alma mater produced some excellent athletes and Frank McPhee was one of those who went on to greater fame; both on the college level and then professionally,” Shuba said.

After playing defensive back and defensive end for Princeton for three seasons where he was an All-American, McPhee was drafted by the Cardinals in the 13th round of the 1953 NFL Draft.

McPhee was 6-foot-3 and weighed 195 pounds when he played seven games for the Cardinals in 1955.

His high school football honors included All-City, All-Mahoning County and All-Ohio awards. He also earned All-Ohio honors in basketball.

“Everybody knew he’d go on to do well in college,” Malmisur said. “He probably was one of the most recruited athletes in our area.”

Malmisur said McPhee was a role model on and off the field.

“He was a gentleman and a scholar — you don’t get to go to Princeton without those qualities,” Malmisur said.

After graduating from Princeton, McPhee served as a lieutenant in the Marines.

“I followed his career with great interest and can tell you that he represented our area with class,” Shuba said. “I was proud of his accomplishments on the field and can tell you that he was a very caring person away from the sport as well.”

A member of the Lockwood Methodist Church, McPhee was inducted into the Curbstone Coaches Hall of Fame, an honor his father, Chester, also received after coaching at Chaney.

His wife, Jean, died in 2004. Among his survivors are daughters Sherry Cooper of Houston and Pam McPhee of Littleton, Colo.

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