Fred "Freddie" Mazurek
Redstone Township High School, 1960

Frederick "Fred" H. Mazurek (1957 - 1960)

Without a doubt, Fred is one of the best all around athletes to play any sport at Redstone Township High School and arguably one of the best from all of Fayette county.   After graduating from Redstone in 1961, Fred attended the University of Pittsburgh. The Mid Mom Valley All Sports Hall of Fame site capture's Fred's accomplishments well:

Fred was born on March 21, 1943, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, of Polish ancestry, the son of Joseph A. and Alberta Mazurek.  A coal mining father, Joe did a bit of catching for Johnstown in the old Middle Atlantic League and with Washington of the Penn State League.  If you saw him play, you remembered his "hustle."  He played hard.  Between 1930 and 1950, Joe played for 22 coal-mine teams.  Joe is a member of the Fayette County Baseball Hall of Fame.   Later, as a school board member, Joe made it possible for other Redstone athletes to play sports by scraping up money to revamp the athletic program.  From child prodigy to cultured adult, Fred did things in the tradition of his father's excellence.   A gifted athlete and prodigious academic student, Fred Mazurek has become a legendary figure in the Mon Valley.   In Fayette County, Fred is rated by many sports enthusiasts as the county's greatest all-around athlete.   He knew what he wanted out of life early and knew what it would take to get there.   Besides athletics, Fred found the energy to become a talented piano player.   He could have been a concert pianist if he had specialized in this.   As senior class president and straight A student, Mazurek was a natural leader.   He graduated from Redstone High School in 1961.

A star football player, Fred from Redstone High School in Republic near Brownsville, Pennsylvania, was compared to a fellow quarterback in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, one Joe Namath.   A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer said of Fred, "The Redstone fire brand does many things on the football field and does them better than well.   He is an excellent ball handler, the equal of Namath, and he runs as good as any halfback, kicks off, is a great passer and does his team's punting."Mazurek's high school coach, Joe Bosnic, called Fred, "the best athlete I've ever coached and I've coached some good ones!"   Coach Bob Sturm of Pittsburgh North Catholic said of Mazurek after defeating Redstone, "Fred can beat you more ways than any kid I've seen in quite sometime.   He can run, he can pass, he can kickoff, he can punt, and he can kill you with field goals.  And then, on top of that, he's a great defensive player."

During the last football game of his sophomore year against German Township, Fred was carried off the field.   He was near death on an operating table.    He was semi-conscious for 12 days.   Fred underwent a five hour operation to remove a blood clot from the brain.   His indomitable spirit helped pull him through.   In fact, Fred was playing basketball, while wearing a modified baseball batting helmet, 30 days after the operation.

At 5'10" and 180 pounds Fred was not an intimidating physical presence.   Mazurek started as quarterback his freshman year.   Fred did a lot of passing and rolling out at Redstone, where the offense was built around him, and credits Coach Joe Bosnic for his development as a football player.

In 1960 Fred was selected Associated Press All-State in scholastic football in a poll of sportswriters and sportscasters with only a one point difference in balloting between Mazurek, 182, and Joe Namath, 181.   Fred also was a Sporting News National High School All-American football selection.   He also was named Most Valuable Player in the WPIAL.   Fred was the receiver of the Tom McAn Shoe Company trophy.   He was selected to the Pennsylvania Big 33 All-Star team but was unable to play due to a baseball commitment in the American Legion All-Star event.   Fred was one of 12 national players named to Teen Magazine's All-American team.   He was accorded similar honors from Scholastic Magazine.

Fred's memories of his high school days are still etched in his thoughts: "Coach Bosnic was quite an innovator.   We had offensive plays that were far ahead of the times.   We were always in shape physically and extremely well-prepared for our opponents.  With less than 20 players we were extremely successful against teams with three times the number of players.   "Bosnic returned Fred's admiration by calling Mazurek, "the greatest athlete I've ever seen in high school."

A basketball guard, Fred was named All-Section for three consecutive years.   In his junior year, the hardwood performer averaged 19.1 points per game.   As a senior, he averaged 26 points per game.   As a basketball player, Fred could out rebound opponents a half-foot taller.

In baseball Mazurek was a dandy four-year regular who played many positions on the field before devoting his talents to the outfield.   He also did track but had to choose one spring sport which was baseball.   Fred played for the Pals Club in the Fayette County League.   He was a member of the All-West Junior American Legion team for two years.

In 1959 Mazurek pitched Uniontown Post 47 to a 10-4 win to cinch the state VFW baseball title.   The losing pitcher of the tilt was Lew Krausse, who signed a Kansas City Athletics baseball contract and became a successful major league pitcher.

Mazurek had played baseball every summer since his days in Little League, Pony League, Legion ball, and high school ball.   Fred recalled a Legion ball game against Jeannette.   "I had a long home run and a double off the fence and the Philadelphia Phillies wanted to sign me right then and there."   In high school ball Fred hit .400.   Five major league clubs offered Mazurek a bonus to sign but he turned them down for a Pitt football scholarship.

The University of Pittsburgh out-recruited 80 other schools for the football services of Fred Mazurek.   Coach John Michelosen was attracted to Fred for his "quickness.   He's got a lot of quickness that would make him a really good ball-carrier.   He changes direction extremely fast."Mazurek learned to maneuver in childhood games when he played touch football with his dad as the designated quarterback.  At Pitt Mazurek's trademarks became speed and adaptability.    At the end of the 1963 football season, there was not a better quarterback in the United States than Fred Mazurek.   Fred's quarterback coach at Pitt was "Bimbo" Cecconi, a member of the Mid-Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame.

As a college sophomore he returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown against Notre Dame.   As a junior in 1963 with a game against Syracuse, Pitt was down 21-8 in the third period.   A swirling snow storm played hide-and-seek with the sun at Pitt Stadium.  Snow fell, lightning flashed.   There were sharp thunderclaps.   Then, a bolt struck Syracuse - 190 pound, 5 foot 10 bolt Freddie Mazurek.   He streaked 41 yards for a touchdown.   Fred began hitting targets with short passes and Pitt scored again.   Mazurek shot a pass to end Al Grigaliunas; touchdown number 3 in the quarter, and Pitt led 28-21.   Syracuse added another touchdown in the fourth period.   Mazurek went down under a pile of tacklers and left the game with a leg injury.   Just before the end, he hobbled back onto the field and drove his team to a clinching score.   Pitt was the winner 35-27 on the strength of Mazurek's brilliant individual performance.   The slippery, hard-running quarterback, rolled up a total of 225 yards, running and passing.   He ran 22 times for 119 yards.    He completed 13 of 21 passes for 136 more.   He ran for two touchdowns, passed a third and passed for a 2-point conversions.   For his efforts Fred was named National Back of the Week.   Joining Mazurek in the Panthers' backfield were All-American halfback Paul Martha, fullback Rick Leeson, and halfback Bill Bodle with All-American Ernie Borghetti one of the offensive tackles.

Mazurek broke the Pitt record for yards gained in one season by passing 949 yards and running for 646 for a total of 1595.   He broke a record set by Warren Heller in 1931 when he totaled 1338 yards in nine games.   Mazurek sparked Pitt to a 9-1 record that fall of 1963 and that was the finest year the Panthers would have until Johnny Majors arrived in 1973.   Pitt's lone defeat was to Navy, quarterbacked by eventual Heisman Trophy winner Roger Stauback.   Fred led Pittsburgh in both passing and rushing to help the Panthers to a No. 3 national ranking in 1963.   Mazurek was a compact bundle of raw strength and power, a rollout quarterback who could throw but was more likely to burn the opponent by running around, over or through them.   Fred also won the 1963 James H. Coogan Memorial Award for the outstanding player in the Penn State-Pittsburgh game that year.

Fred teamed with Navy's Roger Stauback in the East-West game in 1965, Fred scored the only touchdown for the East team that lost 11-7 in a pouring rain storm. Mazurek had the distinction of being the second Pitt player to gain over 3,000 yards in three seasons.   In Mazurek's senior season, the Panthers took a pratfall, and finished with a 3-5-2 record.   For Mazurek it was one injury after another.   He spent the entire season recuperating.

         Fred also played baseball in college.   He passed up spring football practice to play for the Pitt varsity hitting over '.400'.   He was a line-drive hitter.   He played summer ball with North Pittsburgh while attending classes at Pitt.   Mazurek hit '.465' his senior year to finish second in the NCAA batting race losing by '.001'.   Under the watchful eye of Coach Bobby Lewis, Mazurek made All-American as a center fielder.   "Mazurek could run like the wind and he hit a ton" said Lewis.   "He'd go four-for-five and come back to the bench and ask what he was doing wrong."

Upon his graduation from Pitt, Mazurek's many faceted athletic talent left some confusion to the professional sports world.   The football teams passed him over in the 1965 draft because it was presumed he'd choose baseball.   The Minnesota Twins picked him as their 19th draft choice.   Mazurek declined assuming the baseball season too long for him to pursue a post graduate studies.   Hal Keller, director of the Senator's baseball farm system, said scout reports on Mazurek indicated that he "had a few tools," but that most teams shied away from him, knowing that he wanted to continue his education.   After the Washington Redskins signed Fred as a free agent in 1965, the Pirates came calling in January 1966 after the Redskins used him sparingly as a defensive back.   The Redskins denied the Pirate overture.   Mazurek was in the graduate school of education at Catholic University in Washington D.C. during his time with the Redskins.

Mazurek received his Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1965.   In 1968 Fred earned a Master of Arts degree in general education, guidance, and counseling from Catholic University of America.    In 1973 he received his Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, from Michigan State University formerly Detroit College of Law.   In 1976 Fred received his master's degree in law and taxation from Wayne State University.   Fred is a member of the American Bar Association and the Tax Executives Institute.    Since 1989 Fred has served as Tax Director for Beckman Coulter, Inc.    Fred is a licensed attorney with the State Bar of California.

Fred is married to Suzanne Michelosen, daughter of his Pitt football coach, and they have two sons, John David and Marty.   Fred, Suzanne, and Marty reside in LaQuinta, California, while John David and his wife Vicki live in Upland, California.   In 1991 Fred was honored to be named the University of Pittsburgh Awardee of Distinction by fellow lettermen.   "We had a quality program in the early 1960s and we were student-athletes who went on to become successful in the professional world," said Mazurek.   "Look how many became doctors and dentists and lawyers and engineers and teachers and businessmen we turned out.   When you see what people have accomplished, it gives you a sense of pride, and is indicative of the character and the quality of the coaches at Pitt during this time."

Fred Mazurek has lived a life of accomplishment.   This Mon Valley native has lived by the following principles: perform to the best of your abilities both in the classroom and on the athletic fields, be a leader, have a sense of pride and community spirit, and make a contribution to society.

Football Coach John Michelosen called Fred Mazurek, "the best quarterback in America. "   As a player, dancer, Fred Astaire would have had trouble keeping in step with all of Fred's moves.   He was always in prime physical condition.    Rugged, sturdy, capable, thickset, coordinated, elusive and agile were just some of the adjectives used to describe this remarkable athlete.   As a person, he was observed as soft-spoken, pleasant, polite, and considerate.   His counterparts, Joe Namath and Roger Staubach, may have received more fame than Fred but in the Monongahela Valley he is held as a local hero.

Fred was drafted by the Washington Redskins as a receiver.   |As a Redskin, he was reunited with one of his old Black Hawk teammates, Don Croftcheck.   Fred wore the number 20.   As a receiver, he caught two passes for a total of 28 yards and returned two punts for a total of nine yards.   Additionally, he returned kick offs, 21 for a total of 505 yards.

Fred's baseball stats while at Pittsburgh University.

Fred's stats from his Redskin career

 

 

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