In its quarter-century of existence, the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame has traditionally spread the wealth around when it comes to honoring area athletes from a variety of different sports.
The 2014 Hall induction class, set for enshrinement on Saturday, April 26, 2014 at the Blair County Convention Center, will continue that trend.
Five new inductees who achieved prominence in five different sports will be recognized at the Hall's 16th induction banquet.
Included among the 2014 inductees are: former Altoona Area High School and Lehigh University wrestling standout Jason Kutz; 16-time national tennis champion Karen Gallagher from Hollidaysburg; Pennsylvania six-time Golden Gloves champion and professional boxer Tom Wilt of Hollidaysburg Area High School; seven-time marathon champion and Altoona Area High School grad Dave Patterson; and the late Len Zandy, a Bishop Guilfoyle High School grad who starred in basketball and baseball at Fordham University and pitched two years in the Kansas City-Oakland Athletics organization.
Zandy's wife, Patty, will accept her husband's posthumous induction.
The Hall will also induct another team - the 1966-67 Bishop Guilfoyle boys basketball squad, which won the Pennsylvania Catholic Interscholastic Athletic Association title.
Blair Sports Hall inductees
Following is the all-time roster of the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame, listed in the order of years they were inducted. The Hall of Fame's 16th banquet will be held on April 26, 2014 at the Blair County Convention Center.
FOOTBALL (31): Ed Flanagan, *Galen Hall, Mike Reid, John Ebersole, Steve Lach, Blaine Earon, Maurice "Babe" Patt, Harry "Spook" Temple, Brad Benson, Otto Kneidinger, Troy Benson, Tom Corbo, Steve Hatfield, Bill Iannicelli, Tony Georgiana, Brian Franco, Negley Norton, Ray Prosperi, Mark Raugh, Frank Smith, Jim Curry, Mike Irwin, Jack Hopper, Merle Stonebraker, Pat Fellinger, Jim Merritts, Ralph Conrad, Tom Kerns, Steve Taneyhill, Bill Huber, Todd Benson (*Galen Hall's candidacy was enhanced by his coaching tenure at the University of Florida).
BASKETBALL (15): Jeff Neuman, Johnny Moore, Lisa (Fubio) Shover, Pam (Webber) Mitchell, Randy Allen, Dick Johnston, Bill Saller, Doug West, Mike Iuzzolino, Nick Leasure, Jill Brumbaugh, Don Appleman, Candace Futrell, Allen Griffith, **Len Zandy. (**Len Zandy's candidacy was enhanced by two years in minor league baseball.)
COACHING (10): William "Skip" Hughes, Earl Strohm, Harry Clarke, Harold Price, Edward "Snaps" Emanuel, Art Taneyhill, John Swogger, Dick Buckley, Tom Irwin Jr., Wayne "Buddy" Geis
BASEBALL (8): Pat Malone, Tom Irwin, Bob Ramazzotti, Tom Healy, Danny Napoleon, Joe Martin, Ron Blazier, Harold "Bucky" Bush
TRACK & FIELD (8): Donn Kinzle, Jim Gehrdes, Dick Bartholomew, Ward McLanahan, James "Rabbit" Ward, Denver "Junie" Smith, Angie Gioiosa, Dave Patterson
TENNIS (3): Bill Parsons, Martin Goldberg, Karen Gallagher
WRESTLING (3): Wade Schalles, Johnny Orr, Jason Kutz
BOXING (3): Dick Conlon, Dave Stoop, Tom Wilt
RACQUETBALL (1): Fredina Ingold
SWIMMING (1): Renee (Riccio) McCutcheon
GYMNASTICS (1): Nadine (DeLeo) Buchanan
ARCHERY (1): Rick Stonebraker
New Hall of Fame President Neil Rudel feels the 2014 class will do the Blair Hall proud.
"This class is a tribute to our county's rich athletic history,'' said Rudel, who succeeded Dave Andrews as Hall president earlier this year. "We're now 16 banquets and 85 inductees into the Hall of Fame, and yet the pool of candidates still has people who achieved national recognition, which is our first criteria.''
Gallagher, a 1969 Hollidaysburg High graduate who now lives in Colorado, won 16 national championships in the United States Tennis Association - four in singles, four in mixed doubles, and eight in doubles. The former Karen Brumbaugh, Gallagher won national titles on every surface (hard courts, clay, indoors and grass) and is a member of the Sportswomen of Colorado Hall of Fame.
Patterson, a 1969 Altoona High grad who lives in Conshohocken, placed 19th in the 1981 Boston Marathon with a time of 2:14.18 and also qualified for the United States Olympic Trials in both 1980 and 1984.
Kutz, a 1992 Altoona graduate, won the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association championship at 126 pounds at Lehigh University in 1996 and went on to place fifth, third and second at the U.S. World Team Trials and sixth at the Olympic Team Trials.
Kutz, 39, is currently head freestyle wrestling coach with the United States Army World Class Athlete Program, resides in Colorado Springs, Colo. He nailed a trophy bull elk while bowhunting there a couple weeks ago before returning to his house to hear the news of his induction.
"When I got the call, I was extremely honored, and it capped a great weekend for me,'' said Kutz, who joins Wade Schalles and Johnny Orr as the Blair Hall's other wrestling inductees. "Finding out that I'm only the third wrestler ever [inducted], following the likes of Wade Schalles and Johnny Orr, makes it even more special.''
Wilt, a 1987 Hollidaysburg graduate who currently lives in Duncansville, set a Pennsylvania record by winning six Golden Gloves boxing championships between 1994 and 2001 and was inducted into the state Golden Gloves Hall of Fame in 2010.
Zandy, who died in 2007 at the age of 63, led Fordham's basketball team in scoring as a senior during an era (1963-66) when Fordham made two National Invitational Tournament appearances. A 1962 BG grad, Zandy pitched in the Kansas City and Oakland organizations in 1966 and 1968.
The 1966-67 Bishop Guilfoyle basketball team, coached by Bill Gaffey, won the first basketball championship ever secured by a team from Altoona.
Four players on that BG team - Pat Shute (St. Francis, basketball), Joe Landolfi (Massachusetts, basketball), Tim Sigrist (Notre Dame, football) and Tom Turchetta (Miami, football) - went on to play sports collegiately on the Division I level.
"That was not only a great team, but also, a great bunch of guys who participated on that team,'' Gaffey, 76, who currently lives near Harrisburg, said.
Pittsburgh's Stan Savran will return as banquet emcee, and outgoing Hall president Andrews will be honored at the dinner. The featured speaker, community service award winner and scholarship recipients will be announced in the coming weeks.
Tickets cost $75 or $750 for a table of 10 if paid before Jan. 1 and $85 ($850 for table of 10) after that. Checks can be made payable to the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 162, Altoona, Pa. 16603. Inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more ticket information, call 515-3527.
Following is a more in-depth look at the 2014 inductees:
SUBHD: Karen Gallagher
Won 16 national championships in the United States Tennis Association - four in singles, four in mixed doubles and eight in doubles - while competing in Colorado. Has won national titles on every surface: hard courts, clay, indoors and grass. Named the U.S. Professional Tennis Association's Intermountain (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada) 45-and-over female player of the year in 2003-04 and was Colorado's female tennis player of the year in 2000. Was a member of Team USA and won gold in 2000 and silver in 2001 at the ITF Team World Championships and a silver in doubles in 2001. She also won gold medals at the World Senior Games in 2005-06. Was inducted into The Sportswomen of Colorado Hall of Fame in 2004. The former Karen Brumbaugh, she graduated Hollidaysburg Area High School in 1969 and attended Trinity University in San Antonio, where the tennis team, then playing in Division I, won the national championship in 1973. After college, she became a teaching professional, and has been a ski instructor for the past 25 years. Third tennis player, joining Bill Parsons and Martin Goldberg, and first women's tennis player to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Currently resides in Vail, Colo.
SUBHD: Jason Kutz
Co-captain of Lehigh University wrestling team as a senior, when he amassed a record of 33-1 in dual meets and won the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association championship at 126 pounds in 1996. Also won a university national freestyle title as a junior, when Lehigh won the EIWA and was ranked 17th nationally. Posted a record of 46-8 during his last two seasons. After graduation, joined the Army and wrestled for the U.S. Army team and finished fifth, third and second at the U.S. World Team Trials from 2001-03 and sixth at the 2004 Olympic Team Trials. Won a silver medal at the World Military Championships in 2001 and followed with a gold medal in 2003. Also won a gold medal at the 2002 Dave Schultz International. Represented Team USA on the National Team at 60kg (132 lbs.) from 2001-2004. Assistant coach at Lehigh (2004-06), head coach at East Stroudsburg (2006-07), head coach Lehigh Valley Athletic Club (2007-11) and currently head freestyle coach of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program. Graduated from Altoona Area High School in 1992. Two-time PIAA medalist. Third wrestler to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, joining Wade Schalles and Johnny Orr. Currently resides in Colorado Springs, Colo.
SUBHD: Dave Patterson
Ran 10 marathons under 2:20 with fastest being the 2:14.18 he ran at Boston in 1981, placing him 19th - one of his three top-25 finishes at the world's most prestigious marathon. His 1981 finish at Boston was the 44th fastest marathon recorded, at the time, by a U.S. marathoner. During 14-year career, won a total of seven marathons, including every one held in Philadelphia. Qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1980 and '84 with a best finish of 13th in 1980. Also won first place at the Penn Relays, Catalunya in Barcelona and the Carolina Marathon in 1985. Recognized as the Runner of the Decade in the 1990s by the Middle Atlantic Roadrunner Club of America. During his career in the Masters Division, he broke the national master's indoor record in the 3,000-meter run (8:38.7) and the national master's indoor record in the 5,000-meter run (15:08). Widely considered by Altoona's running community as the most accomplished distance runner in Blair County history. Graduated from Altoona Area High School in 1969 before going to West Chester State College ... Currently resides in Conshohocken.
SUBHD: Tom Wilt
Set a Pennsylvania record by winning six Golden Gloves championships between 1994 and 2001, the first two in the 147-pound division (1994-95) and the last four (1997-98, 2000-01) at 156. He shared the previous record of five with Philadelphia boxer Myron Taylor. Ranked as high as fifth nationally at 154 by the Amateur Boxing Federation in 1995. Advanced to the semifinals of the National Golden Gloves championships at 156 in 2000. Remained an amateur until he was 32 years old. After an amateur record of 132-47, he turned professional in 2001 and had 31 pro fights in the middleweight division, including twice on ESPN. He won his first 10 bouts and recorded a record of 21-10 with four knockouts/TKOs. Inducted into the Pennsylvania Golden Gloves Hall of Fame in 2010. Fought several times in the U.S. National and Police Athletic League Championships and was attempting to make the 1996 Olympic team when he was beaten in three rounds by David Reid, the USA gold medalist. A product of the Altoona Boxing Club, trained by John Robertson, who was also inducted into the state Golden Gloves Hall of Fame. A 1987 graduate of Hollidaysburg Area High School. Just the third boxer to be enshrined, joining Dick Conlon and Dave Stoop. Currently resides in Duncansville.
SUBHD: Len Zandy
Basketball and baseball standout at the University of Fordham from 1963-66. Two-year starter led the Rams in scoring (17.3 points per game) as a senior during an era when Fordham made two NIT appearances and played the best teams in the East, some at Madison Square Garden. Scored 951 points in three seasons (freshmen were ineligible then). During his Fordham tenure, Rams beat the likes of Temple, Army (coached by Bob Knight), St. John's, Pitt, Memphis State, Holy Cross, Seton Hall and UConn. Lost at North Carolina by six during his senior year. Played for John Bach, who went on to coach Penn State. An imposing pitcher, he was twice drafted - in the 27th round in 1965 and, after staying in school, in the second round - and pitched in the Kansas City (and then Oakland) Athletics organization for two years (1966 and '68). Grew up in Coupon but attended Bishop Guilfoyle, where he graduated in 1962. Was a centerpiece athlete during BG's richest era, the 1960s, when the school produced more than a dozen Division I athletes. Was the freshman coach on the BG basketball team that won the 1967 PCIAA title that will be enshrined as the Hall of Fame's 2014 team recipient. Spent his post-athletic life in Dillsburg. Died at 63 years old in 2007 and will be inducted posthumously.
SUBHD: 1966-67 Bishop Guilfoyle boys basketball team
Won the 1966-67 Pennsylvania Catholic Interscholastic Athletic Association championship, the first basketball championship won by a team from Altoona. Played in the Class A classification - the biggest of three classes then (Classes A, B and C). Coached by Bill Gaffey, the team featured four players who later earned Division I scholarships. They included Pat Shute (St. Francis), Joe Landolfi (Massachusetts) and football players Tim Sigrist (Notre Dame) and Tom Turchetta (Miami). Signature moment was a victory over Bishop Canevin of Pittsburgh - at the Pitt Field House - in which BG trailed by four points with 16 seconds left to play but tied the game on shots by Shute and Sigrist and won the game in overtime, 67-66, on Shute's shot in the waning seconds. The two shots - Sigrist's to tie the game and Shute's to win it in overtime - were later judged the third-biggest shots in Blair County history by the Mirror's Big Shot series. The Marauders defeated Shamokin Lourdes in the PCIAA final, 61-57. BG's title was its first of two as the 1970 team also won the PCIAA. The team's final record of 20-6 included losses to Altoona and Carlisle (both district champions), PIAA champion Mercer (coached by John Swogger), Rice Academy of New York City (featuring future Marquette and New York Knick star Dean Meminger) and the St. Francis freshmen team. The team captured the BG community and the city as 20 busloads of fans ventured the Pitt Field House and Johnstown War Memorial. Gaffey later coached Susquehanna Township to a PIAA title.