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Hall of Fame material -- new WPIAL class announced; why some others aren't in

Written by Mike White on .

By Mike White | Tuesday, April 27, 2010, 3:30 p.m.

The WPIAL held a news conference this morning to announce its Hall of Fame class for 2010. Before we get to the newest inductees, a word of explanatioin first on those who are not in the WPIAL Hall of Fame.
This is the fourth year of the WPIAL Hall of Fame. Yet, guys like Dan Marino and Tony Dorsett have not been elected. Marino and Dorsett, and a few others, would seemingly be no-brainers for induction, you would think. But there is an explanation. The WPIAL has a banquet in June for the inductees. It is open to the public and usually gets around 500 people. The WPIAL wants inductees to attend the banquet. If they can not attend, the WPIAL will hold off on their selection for anothe year.
That's the reason you don't see guys like Marino or Dorsett in the Hall of Fame. They haven't been able to attend the banquet. Makes sense, don't you think? What kind of banquet would it be and what kind of ceremony would it be if most of the inductees weren't present? Many other Hall of Fames have the same stipulations.
Alright, onto this year's class, which has eight athletes, three coaches, two teams, two officials, one "contributor" and the winner of the WPIAL's annual "courage award." All inductees will be honored at a banquet June 25 in Moon. Call 412-921-7181 for banquet tickets.

I will have more photos and comments from the press conference later today. There were some interesting comments and a moment or two that made for good pictures, like when legendary former Braddock football coach Chuck Klausing gathered together nine of his players from the 1959 team for a meeting after the press conference. It looked like a locker room chat all over again, with all of the players around Klausing, with their eyes focused on him. But here is a group shot of the inductees who were in attendance.

 Above, in center, is former Braddock coach Chuck Klausing, whose 1959 Braddock team is one of the inductees to the WPIAL Hall of Fame. From left, former Mt. Lebanon-Shady Side football coach Art Walker; Dave DeVenzio, brother of former Ambridge basketball star Dick DeVenzio (Dick is inductee); Terry Smith, the current Gateway coach who was quarterback on the 1986 Gateway team that is being inducted; Former Valley basketball great B.B. Flenory; Legendary former Gateway coach Pete Antimarino, coach of the 1986 Gators' team; Paul Hindes, who won 16 WPIAL girls' championships in three different sports at Baldwin; NFL official Tom Stabile, who started out working WPIAL games; Manny Pihakis, a tremendous wrestler at Canonsburg High School in the 1950s and former athletic director at Canon-McMillan; Mike Manzo, who is being inducted as a "contributor" after almost three decades as the WPIAL legal counsel; Marie and Guy Montecalvo, whose deceased son, Jimmy, is being inducted as the winner of the WPIAL's "Courage Award."

Here is a few sentences on all of the inductees, including those who weren't in attendance at the news conference.

ATHLETES

STEVE BREASTON, WOODLAND HILLS HIGH SCHOOL, CLASS OF 2002 - One of the most exciting players in WPIAL football history. As a senior quarterback at Woodland Hills, he rushed for 1,718 yards, averaged 11.4 yards a carry and threw for 600. A master of big players, he was involved in 33 touchdowns as a senior, either running, passing or on punt returns. The average length of those TDs was 41.9 yards. He won a WPIAL track championship in the 300-meter hurdles as a junior and won the 400 as a senior. Oh yeah, he also finished fifth in the high jump as a senior. He went on to a successful career as a receiver at the University of Michigan and is now playing receiver with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.

DICK DEVENZIO, AMBRIDGE HIGH SCHOOL, CLASS OF 1967 - When the subject is top basketball guards in WPIAL history, DeVenzio’s name always comes up. He averaged 20 points a game on Ambridge’s 1967 team, possibly the greatest in WPIAL history. Coached by his father, DeVenzio was a tremendous ball-handler and shooter, averaging more than 30 points a game as a junior at Springdale – without the 3-point line. He also was a Parade All-American as a senior and went on to become the starting point guard for the Duke Blue Devils.

B.B. FLENORY, VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL, CLASS OF 1976 - B.B. once made Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd for scoring 81 points in a junior-high game. He went on to become a prolific scorer at Valley, scoring 52 points in one game, and more than 40 four other times. He finished his career with 1,800 points and is one of only 13 basketball players in WPIAL-City League history to be selected to the Parade magazine All-American team. He went on to play at Duquesne University and scored 48 and 41 points in back-to-back games. He is still among the top 15 scorers in Duquesne history.

CHRIS DUGAN, SOUTHMORELAND HIGH SCHOOL, CLASS OF 1996 - Considered one of the greatest distance runners in WPIAL history. In cross country and track, Dugan won six WPIAL titles and five state championships. He became the first boy to win a state cross-country championship three years in a row. During his career, he also won WPIAL and state titles in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs. As a senior, he set WPIAL records in both the 1,600 and 3,200. He went on to become a two-time All-American at North Carolina State. In 2002, he was selected to the ACC’s 50th anniversary cross-country team.

TY MOORE, NORTH ALLEGHENY CLASS OF 1990 - At North Allegheny, Moore was the first wrestler in state history to win his first 100 matches. His career record was 146-1 and is among an elite club of four-time state champions. He was the Post-Gazette Athlete of the Year in 1990 along with teammate Ray Brinzer. Moore was a member of the 1988 North Allegheny team that finished ranked No. 1 in the country. Moore wrestled in college for the North Carolina Tar Heels and qualified for the NCAA tournament three times.

MANNY PIHAKIS, CANONSBURG HIGH SCHOOL, CLASS OF 1952 - A four-time WPIAL wrestling champ and a three-time state champion. You only need one finger to count his losses at Canonsburg. Pihakis had a career record of 99-1. He went on to receive a scholarship from the Indiana, and his career record with the Hoosiers was 57-8. Immediately after college in 1957, he became Canon-McMillan’s athletic director, a position he held for 36 years before retiring in 1993. He also served as mayor of Canonsburg at one time.

GRETCHEN RUSH MAGERS, MT. LEBANON HIGH SCHOOL, CLASS OF 1982 - Rush Magers was a three-time WPIAL tennis champion – and the only year she didn’t win it in her high school career, she didn’t play high school tennis. She also was a state champion and went on to Trinity College in Texas, where she was the national college womens player of the year in 1984 and 1985. She was a two-time NCAA singles runner-up and won an NCAA doubles title in 1984. On the professional level, she made the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, the French Open and U.S. Open.

BRANDON SHORT, MCKEESPORT HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 1995 - Short was long on talent on the football field. He was a dominant linebacker on McKeesport’s 1994 team that won WPIAL and state Quad-A championships. Also an offensive linemen on that team, Short was a Parade All-American, a USA Today All-American. But he also was the starting center on McKeesport’s WPIAL championship basketball team in 1995. He went on to become an All-American linebacker at Penn State and played seven years in the NFL.

COACHES

PAUL HINDES, BALDWIN GIRLS’ VOLLEYBALL, BASKETBALL, SOFTBALL - When it comes to winning WPIAL championships, Hindes hit the trifecta at Baldwin, winning titles in three different sports. No other coach in WPIAL history has been as successful in three different sports. Hindes won five WPIAL titles in volleyball, three in basketball and eight in softball. He also won three state titles in volleyball. All told in three sports, he won 27 sections and 16 WPIALs.

HARRIETT MORRISON FARRELL GIRLS’ VOLLEYBALL - You’d need four hands to count all the WPIAL titles Morrison won as Farrell’s girls’ volleyball coach. She won 20 WPIAL championships and eight state championships. She retired a few years ago with a record of 554-59 and is one of the few women in the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

ART WALKER, MT. LEBANON-SHADY SIDE ACADEMY FOOTBALL - To the left, that's a photo worth 462 wins. It's Walker and legendary former Gateway coach Pete Antimarino sitting together at the news conference today. Two legends, side by side. In WPIAL football coaching annals, there is an "Art" to winning. He is one of only four coaches in WPIAL history to win six football championships. He won five during his 21 years at Mt. Lebanon (1967-87) and one more in his five years (1994-98) at Shady Side Academy. His all-time record was 207-73-6.

TEAMS

BRADDOCK FOOTBALL, 1959 - This was the last of Braddock’s teams that won six WPIAL titles in a row under legendary Coach Chuck Klausing in the late 1950s. Those teams also had a 56-game unbeaten streak, which is still a WPIAL record. The 1959 team might have been the best as it finished 9-0 and outscored opponents, 278-75. The ’59 team produced a future NFL player in Ken Reaves, plus a handful of Division I college players, including Curtis Vick (Purdue), John Jacobs (Arizona State) and Roland Mudd (Minnesota). This team was also featured in a four-page Sports Illustrated article that recognized Braddock’s program and its long unbeaten streak.

GATEWAY FOOTBALL, 1986 - Legendary Gateway coach Pete Antimarino had many great teams, but this one ended the season 13-0 and ranked No. 3 in the country by USA Today. Only two teams scored more than a touchdown on the Gators and they outscored opponents, 357-79. Gateway won the WPIAL Quad-A title in 1986 in an epic championship game, 7-6, over North Hills. The game drew more than 20,000 fans at Three Rivers Stadium. A handful of players on this Gateway team went on to play at big-time colleges, including Curtis Bray (Pitt) and Terry Smith (Penn State).

CONTEST OFFICIALS

TOM STABILE - Stabile has been involved in interscholastic athletics in the WPIAL in many roles including Student-athlete, coach, teacher, administrator, and a contest official in three sports. An official for more than 40 years, he has officiated WPIAL championship contests in football, basketball, and baseball. Currently an NFL official, a position he has held since 1995.

BILL CHRISTY - During his career as an official, Christy worked 87 consecutive seasons in basketball, softball, and volleyball. He also worked at the NCAA Division I level. In addition to serving as an active official, He was highly respected as an assigner, observer, evaluator, supervisor, and educator of contest officials. In each of his roles, he was a consummate professional, who always had the respect of his peers, coaches, athletic administrators, and student-athletes who had contact with him.

CONTRIBUTOR

MICHAEL MANZO - For nearly three decades Manzo has served as the WPIAL legal counsel since 1981. During his tenure, he has advised all three WPIAL full-time executive directors on all aspects of operating the league while always emphasizing the educational values of interscholastic athletics and the ideals of good sportsmanship. Athletics has always been an important part of his life. He participated in three sports in High School in Scranton, PA and played football and lacrosse at Princeton University. He has served as the counsel for the former Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Lacrosse Association and also represents the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 COURAGE AWARD

JIMMY MONTECALVO - This award was started last year in order to honor former Freedom High School athlete John Challis, whose inspirational battle with cancer became a national story in 2008. In his short life, Jimmy Montecalvo battled cancer that let to a multitude of challenges. A positive outlook and determination led Jimmy to success in life and sports. At Washington High School, he enjoyed success as a wide-receiver and kicker in football, and as a stellar performer on the golf and track teams. An honor student, he was named an All Star Achiever by the Post Gazette. As a senior, he graduated magna cum laude from Bethany College and pursued his life’s work as a sports journalist. Regardless of the task, Jimmy was always smiling as he toiled until there was no more to give. Jimmy passed away in June, 2008 at the age young age of 26.

 

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