WESTERN CHAPTER PENNSYLVANIA SPORTS HALL OF FAME 1998 INDUCTEES

 

 

SAM BAIR – Running
In 1969, Sam ran the second fastest mile in the world with a clocking of 3:56.7, which was the 11th fastest mile ever run by an American citizen. Sam is a native of Scottdale and graduate of Kent State University where he was a three time All-American in Indoor and Outdoor Track and one-time All-American in Cross-Country. After graduation, he continued to participate in major running events all across America, individually and on national teams, winning numerous prestigious events.


 

TOM BENDER – Sports Broadcasting
A sportscaster in Pittsburgh from 1955 until 1974, Tom did football play-by ­play for the Pittsburgh Steelers, University of Pittsburgh, and Penn State and Duquesne University basketball during most of this time. He also did pre and post-game shows for the Pirates and with Joe L. Brown, was an innovator in sports-talk radio. He spent 15 years at KDKA and 4 years at WTAE.


 

JIM CUNNINGHAM – Football
A member of the fabled 3 C’s backfield at the University of Pittsburgh from 1958-1960, Jim lettered in Football, Basketball and Track at Pitt. He concluded his collegiate career with First Team All-East and All-American honors in 1960. He was the MVP in the 1962 Shrine Game. Drafted in the third round by the Washington Redskins (NFL) and the second round by the New York Titans (AFL), he concluded his playing career gaining Player of the Year honors with the semi Pro Wheeling lronmen. Jim was an outstanding high school athlete at Connellsville High School earning 10 varsity letters in football, basketball, track, and swimming. A resident of Uniontown, he coached at Connellsville, Uniontown and Laurel Highlands.


 

ALBERT “ABE” EVERHART – Basketball
“Born to coach” was the label given this outstanding basketball coach early in his career. The son of a coach born in the basketball-made state of Indiana, Abe and his father moved to Uniontown, PA where both won state championships. His record of 545 wins and 149 losses over 29 years included 16 Section Championships, 4 WPIAL Championships and 2 state Championships.


 

BOB FORD – Golf
As the Head Golf Professional at prestigious Oakmont Country Club, Bob has won most of the major tournaments in the Pittsburgh area and some nationally. These include: the Pittsburgh Open (1985, 1988, and 1990), the Pennsylvania Open (1977, 1981, and 1993), the Tri-State Open (1975,1979, 1981, 1984, 1988, and 1997), the Tri-State PGA Section championship (1980,1982,1984, and 1994) and Tri-State Match Play(1997). On the National level, Bob has participated in the US Open, PGA championships, PGA Cup team, and in the PGA National Stroke Play.


 

CHUCK FUSINA – Football
A First team all-American (AP, UPI, Walter Camp, and Kodak), the Maxwell Award, and runner-up for the Heisman trophy capped this star quarterback’s college career at Penn State University. With 27 wins and only 4 losses as a starting Quarterback, his athletic skills and leadership gained him the team captaincy his senior season. A 1975 Sto-Rox graduate, Chuck went on to play professional football for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1979-1982) and the Green Bay Packers (1986-1987). He regained his championship form in the USFL leading the Philadelphia Stars to three championship games in three years. His team won titles in 1984 and 1985, earning him Most Valuable Player honors in the 1984 title game and the Sporting News USFL Player of the Game.


 

CHIP GANASSI – Racing 
Indy car driving debut in 1982; fastest rookie qualifier at ’82 Indianapolis 500; ’83 CART Most Improved Driver after finishing 9th in PPG Cup standings; placed 3rd at Las Vegas and laguna Seca and 8th at Indianapolis in ’83; also competed at Indy 500 in ’85 and ’86. retired from driving in ’86 with nine top-10 finishes in just 28 Indy car appearances. Moved into ownership with Patrick Racing and captured two wins in 1988; won PPG Cup Championship in ’89 after winning Indy 500 and four other races. Formed Chip Ganassi racing in 1990 with sponsorship from Target Stores; Target/Chip Ganassi Racing won back-to ­back PPG Cup titles in ’96 and ’97. Member of CART board of directors; promoter and co-manager of Chicago Motor Speedway at Sportsman’s Park that will open in ’99.


 

RON LANCASTER – Football
Played high school football at Clairton High school. A 1960 graduate of Wittenberg College, Ron went on to stardom in the Canadian Football League and was recently named the Head Coach and Director of Football Operations for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He spent 3 years with the Ottawa Roughriders and led the Saskatchewan Eskimos to the playoffs in 14 of his 16 seasons. He still holds several league records including Career Passing Yards (50,535) and career Passing Touchdowns (333). An All-Canadian player four times, Ron was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1982 and the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.


 

GRETCHEN RUSH MAGERS – Tennis
While at Mt. Lebanon High School Gretchen was WPIAL and State singles champion in 1979 and 1982. At Trinity University: 4 years singles and doubles All-American; NCAA Champion, 1983 doubles and 1986 and 1987 singles and doubles. Professional career included 8 times Wimbledon and 10 times U. S. Open Highest pro rankings included #22 in world in singles, #11 in doubles. Four singles titles, and 5 doubles titles. College Player of the Year in 1985, NCAA Tennis Team of Decade ’80’s, 1st in Junior rankings in the World in 1982 and #1 College player in 1985 and 1986.


 

JOE MULLEN – Hockey
Being the first American-born hockey player to score 1,000 points and 500 goals in the National Hockey League, capped an outstanding hockey career which included two Lady Byng trophy Awards. A native of New York City, Joe was a two-time All-American at Boston College and also a U.S. Junior league All-American. He played on the Stanley Cup Championship team at Calgary and on two Stanley Cup Champions with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He is still employed by the Pens and makes Pittsburgh his home.


 

JOE NATOLI – Sports Personality
For 30 years, 1950 -1979. Joe was the head coach of the Morningside Bulldogs, “The Winningest Youth Football Program ever”. He also founded and coached the Morningside Vi kings sandlot team from 1943 until 1950 and was President of the Morningside Baseball Association from 1945 until 1998. His ongoing efforts for youth sports programs in the city of Pittsburgh have gained him recognition from many civic and fraternal organizations, and the coveted Dapper Dan Award. The City of Pittsburgh renamed the Morningside Field to the “Joe Natoli Field” in 1980.


 

JEFF PETRUCCI – Football
This four-sports star in high school went on to be an All-American quarterback in college and a very successful high school and small college coach. Jeff is the only man to play on (1968) and coach (1984) a team that was the football champion of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. As an NAIA performer, he led the nation in total offense in 1967 (277.3 yards per game) and again in 1968 (327.1 yards per game). In 1968, he was named a small college All-American and was the Tri-State small college player of the year. A lifelong resident of the Mon-Valley, Jeff coached California University of Pennsylvania to the PSAC title in 1984 and garnered district Division II Coach of the Year honors.


 

BOB ROBERTSON – Baseball
After signing as a free agent in 1964, Bob spent 11 years in major league baseball. He had a lifetime batting average of .242, 115 home runs, 368 RBI’s, and committed only 38 errors as a first baseman. Other highlights of his career included: Triple Crown winner in the Southern League in 1966, the fourth player to hit an upper-deck home run at Three Rivers Stadium, and a game winning three run homer in the 1971 World Series. In the 1971 Championship Series, Bob set five records including: most runs in one game (4), most home runs in a series (4), and most home runs in a game (3). A native of Frostburg MD, he now resides in LaVale, MD.


 

HUBERT “HUBIE” RUPERT – Basketball
A small school coach with a big school program characterized this coach’s highly successful career at Ford City High School. Over a 21 year span, Hubie had an overall record of 333 wins and 150 losses, and 183 wins and 59 loses in WPIAL Section 1, which Ford City dominated for years. A lifelong resident of Ford City, his 1948 Cagers lost to Norristown 30-23 in the PIAA State Championship Game.

Please Note: The information on this page is, as it was posted in the program for the 1998 Annual Dinner.
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