As a former secretary of the U.S. Army, Dr. Francis Harvey knows what it means to have — in his words — “a set of enduring values.”
And that’s what he hopes to impress on students at Greater Latrobe when he speaks to them early next month leading up to the Wildcat Football Alumni Association’s kickoff dinner that will honor Latrobe’s back-to-back 1959 and 1960 Foothills Conference championship teams and raise awareness for the Chuck Findley Endowment Fund.
Harvey, a 1961 graduate of then Latrobe High School and a former standout player for the late Findley, who coached the Wildcats from 1956-68 — including the school’s only WPIAL championship team — will be among the former players from ‘59 and ‘60 to be recognized prior to GL’s Oct. 5 homecoming game at Latrobe Memorial Stadium and will then serve as keynote speaker for the dinner and banquet the next day. The endowment will annually award a scholarship, in memory of Findley, to a senior member of the Greater Latrobe football team who embodies the principles of character, hard work, academic excellence and citizenship.
“I’m going to try and meet with a couple of the classes at the high school and see what their plans are for college,” Harvey explained. “One of the big takeaways from football is that it teaches a lot of values, like teamwork.
“As I reflect back on my football years, I realize that high school and college football, like many other sports, are more than just a game. It is essential that both individuals and organizations have a set of enduring values.”
To that end, Harvey, who now resides in the state of California, cites a 1991 report on intercollegiate athletics from the Knights Commission. In part, it read, “Games and sports are educational in the best sense of that word because they teach the participant and the observer new truths about testing oneself and others, about the enduring values of challenge and response, teamwork discipline and perseverance.”
“The Knights Commission looked at football and was worried that it was taking over and taking away from too many things, like academics, at the college level,” Harvey continued. “But they concluded that college sports is more than that.
“It teaches you lessons and values for life. Based on that, one of the takeaways for me was the importance of having personal and organizational values.
“What I use as an example of the organization that has an enduring set of values, and one that I have a lot of experience with, is the Army. What’s important, once you graduate from high school and get into college and get a little older, is to establish a set of values and then be part of an organization that has that, like the Army.”
Following his playing days at Latrobe — more on that later — earning a bachelor of science degree in metallurgical engineering and material science from the University of Notre Dame, a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania and then spending the majority of his business career with Westinghouse Electric Corp., which he joined in 1969 as a senior engineer and retired from in 1977 as the chief operating officer of the Industries and Technology Group, Harvey served as the 19th secretary of the U.S. Army from November 2004 to March 2007. He was appointed by former President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate.
As secretary, Harvey was responsible for the Department of the Army’s annual budget and supplemental, which in fiscal 2007 was more than $200 billion. He also led a workforce of more than one million in active duty.
“The Army values spell out a short version of leadership — L-D-R-S-H-I-P. It’s loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage,” Harvey indicated.
“Part of what I’m going to talk about ends with that ... organizational values and personal values,” Harvey added. “That goes for both the students and at the dinner.
“I’ll also talk a little bit about my football career at Latrobe,” noted Harvey, who grew up in Third Ward. “I’ll start out by reminiscing about those days, then talk about the ‘59 and ‘60 teams, and segue into football and the values that it teaches you, and my experience with that and the Army.”
Actually, it all began with those two seasons. The Wildcats went 8-1 both years and not only won the Foothills Conference, but the Westmoreland County Class AA title under Findley.
“It was a lot of hard work,” Harvey recalled. “Two-a-days were just unbelievable.
“He was a demanding coach,” Harvey said of Findley. “But he was fair. He was also very much a disciplinarian, and very inspirational and motivational.
“He and his staff spent endless hours analyzing film of the opposing teams. You really felt prepared going into a game. You looked for certain keys and formations. You knew what was coming, and take advantage of it.”
Harvey certainly made the most of his time at Latrobe, where he played offensive tackle and defensive end on both conference championship teams. In fact, he was named Most Valuable Offensive Lineman in the Foothills and All-State Honorable Mention as a senior (1960) while playing with an injury to his shoulder that he first dislocated his junior season when he missed the final three games, in addition to receiving the Westmoreland County Scholar-Athlete award.
“My senior year, I stretched by shoulder making a tackle and hit it on a blocking sled in the first practice and dislocated it again,” Harvey indicated. “It was out for about three hours, and I went to the hospital emergency room and had it put back in.
“Then I worked out, lifted weights and things like that to get it build it up to where I could still play. And I wore three sets of pads to protect it.
“I would probably dislocate my shoulder two or three times a game, but not real badly. I just kept putting it back in and played on.
“It was painful, but tolerable, and it’s still bothersome today. I was still able to block and tackle, but that was the end of my football career.”
Harvey also gives a lot of credit for his success to George Fabry. He was the Wildcats’ line coach.
“I worked closely with him,” Harvey stated. “He taught me a lot of techniques.”
So, what stands out the most about those two seasons?
“My junior year, we lost to Connellsville. After that game was when I dislocated by left shoulder and was out for the rest of the season,” Harvey remarked.
“And I remember losing to Penn Hills my senior year. We were winning by 13 points at halftime and lost by eight.
“The high points were beating Greensburg both years. They were our archrival.
“Football in western Pennsylvania in the ‘50s and ‘60s was the game. It was very popular.”
Now, Harvey can’t wait to relive it.
“I also have a couple of funny stories that I’m going to tell, but I don’t want to say anything about them now. I want to leave them for then ... not about football, though,” Harvey offered.
“There were so many industries and businesses in town back then. You had a sense of security growing up in Latrobe.
“And it was really fun to put my speech together and look back on those days. I had a very nostalgic time doing it. I’m looking forward to it.”
The 76-year-old Harvey is a resident of Los Gatos, California, which is in the state’s Silicon Valley and about 10 miles from San Jose. He is married to the former Mary Louise Dziak, whom he’s known since kindergarten, and has two sons (Francis III, Jonathan) and five grandchildren.
His father, Francis, was a member of the Latrobe School Board for 24 years and once received the “Mr. Latrobe” award for outstanding citizenship. While still working for a division of Woolrich, the elder Harvey would also do the accounts payable and receivable for the Bulletin.
“I had a really great family, and he was a very community-involved person. Those are some great memories,” Harvey expressed.
Harvey will speak with senior high students from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Oct. 4 in Greater Latrobe’s Center for Student Creativity and also will be introduced at a pep assembly that begins at 1:45 p.m. in the gymnasium. The kickoff dinner is set for Oct. 5 at Giannilli’s II Restaurant along Route 30 West in Unity Township.
Doors open at 6 p.m., with a buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $50 per person, half of which is tax deductible as a charitable contribution, with all proceeds benefiting the Findley Scholarship Fund.
For more information, call 724-539-4220.
Two former players — Larry Newton (Class of 1966), an attorney from Huntingdon, and Pat Rafferty — organized a committee that teamed up with the Greater Latrobe Partners in Education to establish the endowment in memory of Findley, who gave up coaching after the 1968 WPIAL championship season to become an administrator in the district, retiring in 1986. Findley passed away in December 2013 at the age of 85.