New Castle News

Sports

April 19, 2013

2013 Hall of Fame Inductees: Remembering Anthony Aven

NEW CASTLE — If he was going to play, the cast needed to come off.

The year was 1967. The New Castle High football team was winding down its season and needed a big win against Ellwood City.

Anthony Aven, the team's wide receiver/cornerback, needed to play in this game. Never mind the ligament damage and the cast doctors had put on. He had to. His teammates were counting on him and he didn’t want to let them down.

“He hurt his ankle,” his younger brother and teammate Ken Aven recalls, “They didn’t want him to play. He took his cast off himself. He played against Ellwood City because he wanted to play.

“That ankle hurt him the rest of his life. He always limped, but he didn’t care. He wanted to play. He took his cast off and he was playing.”

The Red Hurricane went on to win the WPIAL championship later that season in a 20-14 victory over Mount Lebanon. Aven received All-Midwestern Athletic Conference honors for his contributions.

That's just one story.

One more tale to add to the legendary toughness and legacy of Anthony Aven.

Those who played with and against Aven knew there was no better word to describe him — he simply was a competitor.

“My father would say Anthony was the toughest pound-for-pound competitor,” long-time friend and former teammate Richard Humphrey said. “He wanted to win. He wouldn’t play or wouldn’t prepare to play for a game if he wasn’t going out there to give his all.”

Whether it was on the football field or the baseball diamond, Aven led by example, and made sure others were playing the game right.

“He was the toughest kid I knew,” Allan Joseph, another lifetime friend and teammate said. “He was a team player. If you dogged it on Anthony, you better believe he was going to eyeball you and glare at you.”

Aven's fearless nature and competitive drive led to a successful playing career at New Castle. Now, his legend grows.

The man who many consider the toughest in New Castle sports history will be inducted posthumously into the Lawrence County Historical Society Sports Hall of Fame on April 28 at the New Englander.

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