Although Monaca High School no longer exists,
if one were to wake up the echoes of some of the greatest
athletes in its illustrious history, the exploits of
three-sport standout Jim "Buddha" Lavrusky would undoubtedly
come to the forefront.
A center and linebacker on the football
team for the Indians, Jim was a stalwart on some of the
great Monaca teams of the early-1960s. Jim, the team
captain, spearheaded one of the greatest victories in Monaca
history when the Indians knocked off unbeaten Beaver in
1963, stopping the Bobcatsí 25-game winning streak, which at
the time was the longest in Beaver County history. That
victory gave Monaca the Midwestern Athletic Conference
championship. Jim was named All-Conference, All-WPIAL and
was selected to the Coach and Athlete Magazine All-American
team. But Jimís athletic exploits werenít limited to the
football field, as he earned a total of 10 varsity letters,
also excelling in basketball and baseball. He was named
All-Section in basketball as a senior and earned four
letters in baseball. In fact, it is believed that Jim is the
first athlete in Monaca history to ever receive a varsity
letter as a freshman.
But football was Jimís ticket to college,
as he was awarded a scholarship to attend the University of
Maryland, where he started at linebacker for three seasons.
He was named Best Defensive Lineman and Unsung Athlete of
the Year in 1966, and Washington D.C.ís Outstanding College
Athlete of the Year in 1967. That year he was also the
winner of the Anthony Nardo Memorial Trophy as Lineman of
the Year at Maryland. In his most memorable game, Jim was
named Defensive Player of the Game after making an
incredible 27 tackles (18 solo, nine assists) in a
nationally televised game against Larry Csonka and Syracuse.
He graduated with records for most tackles in a season (70)
and most interceptions by a linebacker in a season (3).
Following graduation, he spent the 1968 season as a graduate
assistant with the Terrapins.
Deemed too small to play professional
football, Jim nonetheless played semi-pro ball for three
seasons with the Las Vegas Cowboys and the Orlando Panthers
before a knee injury curtailed his career. Jim then turned
to scholastic coaching and became the offensive line coach
and linebackers coach for St. Johnís College High School in
Maryland from 1971-1979. During his tenure, Jim was
responsible for installing the Delaware-T offense, resulting
in a remarkable nine-year run by the team. St. Johnís won
four Catholic League Championships, including three in a row
from 1974-1976. Jim also had coaching stints as an assistant
at Walter Johnson High School and DuVal High School.
Still living in Maryland, Jim has three
children, Jennifer, Melissa and Jeff.