Hilltoppers Retire Three Numbers in Pre-Game Ceremony



SUMMIT, NJ – Under the lights at Investors Bank Field at Tatlock Park, the Summit Hilltoppers retired three numbers in a ceremony that honored the athletes who wore them.

The ceremony, emceed by Mike Vernotico, a member of the Summit Common Council and a 1964 Hilltopper, honored Tommy O’Dell, Willie Wilson and Johnny Mallory. O’Dell and Wilson wore #21, and Mallory wore #22. 

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O’Dell and Mallory were in attendance at the ceremony. Wilson now lives in Toronto and was unable to attend.

“Willie led his 71, 72 and 73 squads to a 25-1-1 record and three state titles,” Vernotico said. “Willie was all everything in football, basketball and baseball.”

Wilson went on to play for the Kansas City Royals where he lead the league in stolen bases in 1979, won a Golden Glove in 1980, a batting title in 1982 and was an All-Star in 1982 and 1983 during which time he lead the league in singles for four consecutive years.

O’Dell led his 68, 69 and 70 squads to three state titles. In 1970, he was named First Team All State and was named to Scouting Systems First Team All American. He also was the New Jersey Group 3 Long Jump Champion in 1971.

O’Dell went on to Penn State where he lead the Nittany Lions in interceptions and fumble recoveries in 1975, when he was named First Team All East and Second Team All American. He signed a contract with the New England Patriots and was recently named to Penn State’s 1970 All Decade Team.


Mallory was the youngest of three brothers to star for Summit High School. He played in the 1961, 1962 and 1963 seasons and led his teams to numerous state titles. In 1963, he was All State in football, basketball and track. He led his 1962 and 1963 football squads to back-to-back conference and state titles.

“Our 1963 team was Summit High’s first undefeated-untied team,” Vernotico said.

Mallory went on to West Virginia, where he still holds numerous records. West Virginia retired his #22 and named him to the West Virginia Hall of Fame.

“I had the privilege of being Johnny’s teammate on our remarkable ’63 team,” Vernotico added.

After the ceremony, the Hilltoppers went on to win over Governor Livingston, 63-21, retaining their undefeated record and the Investors Cup.

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