July 18, 2007
CAL schools offer tributes to special people
By TOM WILLIAMS
The gymnasium at the three-year old Ocean City High School will be dedicated to
the memory of Dixie Howell sometime this year. The Board of Education voted
unanimously for the tribute recently.
Though details have not been determined, it would be nice if the official
dedication takes place on Dec. 14 when the Ocean City boys open their season at
home against Oakcrest. The outside sign could be unveiled in the afternoon and a
ceremony involving OCHS grads who played for Dixie could be part of the evening
Also, on Dec. 16 the gymnasium in the brand new field house at St. Augustine Prep
will be dedicated as the Paul Rodio Gymnasium prior to the Hermits' season opener
against St. Joseph. There is certainly no individual more worthy of that tribute
at The Prep than Rodio, much like Dixie deserves the recognition at OCHS.
That means The Dixie Howell Memorial Gymnasium will be adjacent to Carey Stadium,
offering long-term recognition of the two Ocean City Sportspersons of the Century.
Though no decision has been made yet, a similar idea is being pursued at Holy
Spirit. It would be perfect for Ed Byrnes Stadium to be joined by The Bill
Deibert Memorial Gymnasium, just on the other side of the parking lot on the
Naming the gym at Holy Spirit in Deibert's memory should really be an easy
decision. He is a member of the South Jersey Basketball Hall of Fame and took the
Spartans to their only state final appearance in basketball. But his influence
went so much further. He was a Holy Spirit person through and through. He was an
inspiring teacher and a dedicated proponent of the school and its system.
Even after he retired as a high school coach and teacher, Deibert continued to
coach and teach the grammar school kids, many of whom later wore the blue and
gold. Bill never sought out glory or individual recognition and would probably
feel rather awkward about these efforts on his behalf. But he deserves the
recognition. Future generations should see his name on that gym. They should know
what the man meant to the students and faculty at that high school.
There is another very good reason to dedicate that gym to Bill Deibert. It could
be used as a fund-raising effort to install newer and safer bleachers and improve
the entire facility. The bleachers on which fans sit at Holy Spirit in 2007 are
the exact same bleachers they sat on in 1967 to watch Chris Ford play.
A gym in his name wouldn't get Bill Deibert excited. But, if it meant a new and
better facility for the Holy Spirit student-athletes, he'd get very excited.
Former Ocean City High School soccer star Adam Williamson, who now plays for the
Wilmington Hammerheads in the United Soccer Leagues' Second Division, was drafted
by the Philadelphia Kixx in the 14th round of the Major Indoor Soccer League's
supplemental draft last week.
Williamson was named first team NCAA All-Region and first team in the Patriot
League in 2004 and 2005. He was also named the Patriot League Offensive Player of
the Year in 2005 and was drafted in the third round of the 2006 Supplemental
draft by the New England Revolution.
Williamson has a goal and an assist for the Hammerheads this summer. He scored 32
goals and had 35 assists during his OCHS career, earning All-American honors as a
The Philadelphia Kixx are the defending champion of the MISL.
Many of the athletes who came through Ocean City High School in the 1980s and
1990s were cleared to play by Vorrie Macom, who was one of the physicians the
athletic department used for athletic physicals. He practiced medicine for over
41 years after graduating from Haddon Heights High School, where he played on a
championship Colonial Conference basketball team.
Since his retirement in 2002, you actually would see Dr. Macom, who died last
week, at a lot more basketball games. He had grown especially fond of the
assortment of games he could see at the Ocean City PBA Tipoff Weekend in Ocean
City and the AtlantiCare Ventnor City Girls Shootout.
Dr. Macom always seemed to have a smile on his face. He enjoyed the purity of
high school sports and recognized the value of participation.
We will miss seeing him at the games. And we'll save a seat in his memory.
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Tom Williams' columns