The Blair County Sports Hall of Fame will usher in its class of 2012 with the addition of five new inductees next April.
Set for enshrinement include Candace Futrell, Altoona's first WNBA player, former basketball standouts Don Appleman of Williamsburg and Allen Griffith of Hollidaysburg, former Maryland football player Todd Benson and ex-minor league baseball player Harold "Bucky" Bush.
Joining the individual inductees will be the 1999 Tyrone Area High School football team, which captured the PIAA Class AA championship and remains the only District 6 program to win a state football title.
The enshrinement ceremony, set for Saturday, April 28 at the Blair County Convention Center, will bring the Hall of Fame's roster to 80 individual inductees and five teams and will mark the organization's 25th year of existence since its formation in 1987.
The Hall of Fame started as an annual event from 1987 through 1990 and has staged its induction every other year since.
"We're very proud to have sustained the kind of enthusiasm that the community has shown for the Hall of Fame over 25 years," Hall of Fame president David Andrews said. "This will be our 15th class of inductees, and their achievements show that we are still honoring a very high caliber of athletic success. We look forward to another great night."
When: April 28, 2012
Where: Blair County Convention Center
Inductees: Don Appleman, Todd Benson, Harold Bush, Candace Futrell, Allen Griffith, 1999 Tyrone football team
Futrell was the 2004 Atlantic 10 co-player of the year during a standout career at Duquesne University. She was drafted in the third round of the Connecticut Sun and spent one season in the WNBA and five playing professionally in Europe.
Appleman was a two-year letterman under Skip Hughes at St. Francis (1964-65) after setting the Blair County high school scoring record with 2,100 points - a mark that stood for 30 years. He has also won more than 450 games in 26 seasons as a high school basketball coach.
Benson, a product of Altoona Area High School, was a two-year starter as a defensive end at Maryland (1979-80). He will join brothers Brad and Troy in the Hall of Fame, marking the first family to have three siblings enshrined.
Bush played minor league baseball (1938-41) in the St. Louis Cardinals' organization alongside the great Stan Musial. He was a home-run hitter who progressed up to Class B until a beaning cut his career short. Bush, who will turn 97 next week, will be the oldest person ever inducted into the local Hall of Fame.
Griffith, Hollidaysburg's first Division I basketball player, was a three-year letterman and two-year starter at Villanova. He captained and led the team in scoring in 1956-57. He was inducted into the Villanova Hall of Fame in 1993.
"Each of these inductees was a standout in their sport and made a significant impact on the community," Andrews said.
Stan Savran of ROOT Sports will return as the Hall of Fame emcee.
The evening's guest speaker and ticket information will be announced in the coming weeks. For ticket information, including corporate tables, call Kathy Millward at 296-2302.
Bios of the inductees follow:
DON APPLEMAN: Two-year basketball letterman at St. Francis (1964-65), averaging double figures both years. Top scoring game was 32 points against St. Vincent. Also scored 16 at Louisville ... Originally enrolled at Penn State before transferring to St. Francis ... One of Blair County's most decorated high school players ... Held county high school scoring record of 2,100 points for 33 seasons before it was broken by Central's Ben Bithell in 1996 ... Three-time all-state player at Williamsburg, including first team as a senior in 1962, when he was named the state's player for Class B and C teams ... Averaged 21.0 points per game for his high school career, which pre-dated the 3-point shot ... Currently the head coach of the Williamsburg High School girls program; he has coached 26 seasons in high school basketball and has a career record of 451-209. He was 198-75 in 10 seasons with the Williamsburg boys, 180-73 in 11 with the Williamsburg girls and 73-61 in five seasons with the Central boys ... Williamsburg's second inductee in the Hall of Fame, joining Galen Hall.
TODD BENSON: Lettered three football seasons as a defensive end at Maryland (1978-80), playing in all 11 games each year, and starting as a junior and a senior ... Best year may have been as a junior when he was sixth on the team in tackles with 85, including five sacks and two fumbles forced ... He made 62 stops as a senior and had eight career sacks ... Accounted for double-figure tackles four times with a high of 14 against North Carolina State ... In his three years, Terps went 9-3, 7-4 and 8-4 and played in two bowl games ... Signed free-agent contract and was in training camp with the New York Jets ... 1977 Altoona Area High School graduate and product of Altoona's most accomplished football family as four Benson brothers earned Division I scholarships and two played in the NFL ... Third family member to be inducted in Hall of Fame, joining brothers Brad and Troy ... Earned all-state honors at Altoona High School, where he was also was a regional wrestling champion and PIAA runner-up ... Has become an outstanding golfer.
HAROLD "BUCKY" BUSH: Played four seasons of minor league baseball in the St. Louis organization from 1938-41 and was progressing through the Cardinals' system before injuries, including a beaning in the days well before batting helmets, cut his career short ... A cleanup hitter and a big man at 6-foot-1 for his time, he played in 336 games, hit 60 home runs and batted .303 ... Was discovered at a tryout in Oil City ... Started with the Cards' affiliate in Greensburg of the Penn State League and led the circuit in home runs and several offensive categories ... Was a minor league teammate in 1940 in Springfield, Mo., with Hall of Famer Stan Musial, who was moved to the outfield because Bush was entrenched at first base ... Was considered a potential replacement to first baseman Johnny Mize; prior to Bush's injury, St. Louis general manager Branch Rickey projected him to be in the big leagues by August of 1940 ... After his pro career, played and coached in the Greater City League for more than 10 years ... Became an outstanding bowler and golfer, with six hole-in-ones, and he still plays regularly at the Park Hills Country Club ... Attended Altoona High School ... Will be 97 years old on Aug. 17.
CANDACE FUTRELL: Altoona's first professional women's basketball player ... Drafted by the Connecticut Sun in the third round and spent the 2004 season with the team ... Appeared in 20 games and averaged 2.1 points per game while leading the team in 3-point shooting before injuries cut her tenure with the Sun short ... Played five seasons in Europe for teams in Israel, Turkey, France and Iceland ... Was an outstanding player at Duquesne from 2001 through 2004, when she was named the Atlantic 10's co-player of the year as a senior ... Averaged 4.1 points per game as a freshman, 17.9 as a sophomore, 19.5 as a junior and 21.4 as a senior, when she led the A-10 in scoring and ranked sixth among Division I programs ... Participated in the 2003 USA Basketball Team Trials ... Three-time Atlantic 10 all-star and voted league's most improved player in 2002 ... Ranks second among Duquesne's all-time scorers with 1,668 points (she's first among 3-point shooters with 183), and was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2009 ... Altoona High product was Mirror player of the year in 2000.
ALLEN GRIFFITH: Played in 78 basketball games during his sophomore, junior and senior seasons at Villanova (1954-57) and was a three-year starter ... The Wildcats went 18-10 in his sophomore year and reached the NCAA Tournament ... They went 14-12 and 10-15 in his next two seasons, and he captained the team as a senior when he led the team in scoring with a 13.2 points per game average ... He was named to the Quaker City all-star team as a senior, which is comprised of the top players from Villanova, Temple, LaSalle, Penn and St. Joseph's ... He scored 735 points and grabbed 502 rebounds for his career, despite being just 6-feet tall ... Inducted into Villanova Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 1993 ... Native of Hollidaysburg, where he was the school's first Division I basketball player ... Tigers went 34-6 in his junior and senior seasons, and in 1952, they won their first Mountain League title since 1931.
1999 TYRONE AREA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAM: Defeated Mount Carmel to win the PIAA Class AA football championship in 1999 and, through 2011, became the only District 6 representative to win a state championship since the state playoffs began in 1985 ... The Golden Eagles finished the season 15-0 and outscored their opponents 542-113 ... Their coach, John Franco, was inducted into the Pennsylvania Coaches Hall of Fame in 2009 ... Top players were running back Jesse Jones, whose 6,911 rushing yards rank 11th in Pennsylvania history (and were sixth at the time he graduated), and Doug Roseberry, who walked onto the Pitt football team and eventually became a Panthers' special teams captain ... Captured the hearts of Tyrone, which developed one of the state's biggest fan followings ... Will become the fifth team enshrined in the Hall of Fame, joining the Cobras softball team, the Altoona Area High School girls basketball team of 1988, Altoona's 1957 NABF championship team and the 1984 Bishop Guilfoyle High School girls basketball team.