Word of the passing of Lou Mele came as a shock to this writer. I first came to know of Lou Mele many years ago as a student at Carbon College. One afternoon, a friend and I decided to walk to town. On the way, we took a shortcut through the area now occupied by the Price fire station and parking lot for the museum. There were two elementary schools located on the area at the time.
As we walked across, the students were on recess and a group of boys were playing softball, what we knew as a workup. A batter could continue as a batter until retired by the fielders. We watched one boy swat a long drive over the heads of the outfielders. I asked who the kid was and one replied. “That’s Louis Mele. We can never get him out; he hits a home run every time he bats.”
One could surmise that we witnessed a preview of a great athletic career for Lou Mele.
A few years later, I took in a junior high football game between two good teams, Helper Junior High and Price Junior High. The local junior highs included the tenth grade at the time. At the end, the Price team, propelled by Lou Mele, prevailed over the Helper team that was spearheaded by a speedy halfback by the name of Tom Tasker. As I left there, my thoughts were, “Carbon will have a good football team when those two groups get together at the high school.”
How true! The Dinos, bolstered by some talented players from East Carbon, swept through the 1951 football season undefeated on their way to the state championship. Mele was a unanimous choice for all-state honors as he ran, passed, kicked and played defensively for the Dinos. He was involved on the basketball team that won the consolation title at the state tournament and Mele was the shortstop on the Carbon High State Championship baseball team the spring of 1952. A banner year for the Dinos.
Following high school graduation, Mele followed his coach, Pres Summerhays, to the University of Utah. There, he won all-conference honors after a brilliant career on the gridiron and played on the Ute baseball team. He was selected to play on nationally prestigious post season all-star football teams following his senior year. His Utah coach remarked, “That little fire plug loved to play football.”
One of the greats in Carbon High sports history has passed on but he will not soon be forgotten.
Walt Borla, now residing at the Sunrise Senior Center in Sandy.
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