For the past 58 years, the Robert “Tick” Cloherty – Western Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame has honored and inducted over 735 incredible men and women who have made a lasting impact in Pennsylvania through extraordinary athletic achievement and contributions. Whether these activities have been achieved on or off the field, we honor them here.

Teddy Yarosz

Year Inducted:1971

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Yarosz was born the second of eight children on the North side of Pittsburgh, He became a professional boxer in 1929. He would eventually be trained by the legendary Ray Arcel and managed by Ray Fouts.

On August 21, 1933, Yarosz won the Pennsylvania version of the world middleweight title from Vince Dundee in ten rounds before 15,000 at Pittsburgh's Forbes Field. Yarosz annoyed Dundee with frequent left jabs to the face and scored repeatedly with rights to the jaw. In the second, Yarosz had Dundee against the ropes for over a half minute, and scored with lefts and rights to both the head and face with little return. In the ninth, Dundee took a strong offensive stand, but was too exhausted to do much damage to Yarosz

Frank "Butch" Snyder

Year Inducted:1965

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Frank “Butch” Snyder was the oldest of eight children born to German parents in Erie, PA He began working in bowling alleys in the early 1900’s. In 1918, he bowled his first tourney at age 31 and went on to maintain a 192 average while competing in ABC competition for 42 years. He and Mike Flick captured the 1927 ABC doubles title. Butch was a member of three state Championship teams.
He was a popular lane manager and was proprietor of the Commodore Bowling Alley in Erie for many years. In November, 1965, at the age of 78, he was recognized as a PA State All-Star. Butch finished his ABC career with an average of 190.83 in 46 years of competition.

Dale Long

Year Inducted:1985

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Sally O'Leary

Year Inducted:1987

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Sheffield High School -Valedictorian. Joined Pittsburgh Pirates May 1964 as Secretary of Public Relations. 1979 named Assistant Director of Public Relations. Helped operation of Three Rivers Stadium Scoreboard 12 years for baseball games -assisted ABC and NBC in announcing booth over the years as statistician. Honored by Pittsburgh Chapter of Baseball Writers Association with plaque on 20th anniversary of the club. Helped in Organization of Gus Fan Club in 60’s with Frank Gustine.

Sharon Watson

Year Inducted:1991

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18 year coaching record: Wins -635,10 losses; 12 State Championships, 15 WPIAL Championships, 1 WPIAL Runner-up, 17 undefeated sectional seasons. Regarded as the most outstanding volleyball coach in Pennsylvania.

James "Jimmy" O'Brien

Year Inducted:1992

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Editor of Street & Smith Yearbook. Assistant Athletic Director for Public Relations/Sports Information for Pitt. Sporting News weekly column -9 years. Miami News sports reporter: covered Miami Dolphins. Radio: WEEP Sports Commentator. Pitt News Sports Editor. Various assignments Pgh. Press, Post Gazette, Phila. Evening Bulletin. U.S. Baseball Writers Association voting annually for Baseball Hall of Fame. Last 3 years one of 7 man nominating committee for Basketball Hall of Fame.

Buddy O'Connor

Year Inducted:1994

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Over 40 years in car racing. 1954 Pittsburgh Racing Association Champion. Remained one of the top drivers into the 60’s. Won many races at Valley Raceway, New Kensington Speedway, North Hills Raceway, Leamerville, and Heidelberg. Was Dapper Dan winner for Racing in 1954 and 1956. Raced until he was 66 years old. Retired 1975. Five years in the Merchant Marines.

Earle Bruce

Year Inducted:1994

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Coached Bell Township 8 years -Class B Westmoreland Champs; Brownsville High School 9 years -WPIAL AA Champs 1940, 1943; California State College Champs 1 Penn State freshman team -6 undefeated teams in 24 years. Bowl games: Gator -3 years, Orange 2 years, Cotton 1 year, Liberty 2 years. Five Brownsville players on 1948 Cotton Bowl team. Mon Valley Big 6 Coach 1943. Forty-one years coaching -never a losing season.

Dr. Ron O'Brien

Year Inducted:1996

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Diving coach 33 years. Oliver High School: 2nd in state high school diving championships 1955. Ohio State
University: NCAA 1 meter champion and U.S. National 3 meter champion. NCAA All American 3 times. Coaching: 7 times U.S. Olympic Team Diving Coach, 13 times Coach of the Year. Member of International Swimming Hall of Fame 1985 and Ohio State University Hall of Fame 1985. Divers have won 5 Olympic gold medals, 3 silver and 3 bronze. Also 8 World Championship gold medals and 130 U.S. National Championships.

Dr. George "Doc" Medich

Year Inducted:1996

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Hopewell High School, 1966: football, basketball, baseball. Pitt: football & baseball 1966-70. Minor League Baseball: New York Yankees 1970-72. Major League Baseball: 1972-82-Yankees, Pirates, A’s, Mariners, Mets, Rangers, and Brewers. Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame 1987. Orthopedic Surgeon, Chief of Surgery Aliquippa Hospital 1994-present.

William "Rabbit" Canterna

Year Inducted:1999

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In his formative years, this Duquesne University graduate from Freeport excelled in baseball, basketball and boxing. He played basketball at Duquesne, was an all-star third baseman and shortstop on several sandlot and semi-pro teams, and was a 155-pound Golden Glove Boxing Champion. In the 1990’s “Rabbit” has found new athletic stardom at the Pennsylvania Senior Olympic Games. From 1996 to 1998 he has averaged 10 gold medals per year in track & field competition. In the U.S. National Sports Classic, he has been a gold medalist and record holder in the Long Jump (1991) and the Javelin (1995 and 1997). Also in the Nationals, “Rabbit” has placed 4th in the 100 meters and 5th in the 200 meters.

Neil Gordon

Year Inducted:2011

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Neil was a football player at Central Catholic High School and Indiana University of Pennsylvania who went on to become one of the most respected high school football coaches in Pennsylvania. Beginning as a graduate assistant at IUP, he was an assistant at Penn Hills High School and contributed extensively to the great championship teams of the seventies and early eighties. These included nine Conference Championship, four consecutive WPIAL Championships, and a #1 State ranking.

As the head Coach, Neil’s teams reached the WPIAL Playoffs 19 times registering eight Conference Championships, one WPIAL Title, and one State AAAA Championship. In 1978, Neil led the Penn Hills Baseball Team to WPIAL and PIAA Championships – the first WPIAL Team to win a State Title. He has been the recipient of numerous “Coach-of- the- Year” Awards in Football and Baseball and many other honors. As Head Football Coach at Shaler Area School for the past three years, Neil has led the Titans to 22 wins and two WPIAL Quarterfinal appearances.

Banquet Acceptance Speech (Video)

https://youtu.be/PSfRERQ-g_o

Year Inducted:2020

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Due to the Covid pandemic, There were no Inductions or Inductees’ Ceremonial banquet .

Danny Smith

Year Inducted:2021

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Graduate of Central Catholic High School and Edinboro University, where he was a standout defensive back
Graduate assistant coach at Clemson and assistant coach at William and Mary, and the Citadel before an extended stay as an assistant coach at Georgia Tech
Began his NFL Special Teams coaching career with the Eagles in 1995-1998, moved to the Detroit Lions in 1999-2000, Buffalo Bills in 2001-2003 and the Washington Redskins from 2004-2012
Joined the Pittsburgh Steeler staff in 2013 and is currently their Special Teams Coordinator
During his tenure the Steelers kicking, punting and coverage units have all set Steeler records

Tom Beckett

Year Inducted:2021

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Served 25 years as Yale AD (1994-2018), overseeing 35 varsity sports and approximately 900 coaches and athletes annually
Yale’s sports programs won 30 national championships and 82 Ivy League titles during his tenure
His programs at Yale have also produced 43 Olympic athletes and 337 All-Americans during those years
His programs also averaged 10 nationally ranked Yale teams annually during those years
His fundraising initiatives during his administration have raised over $325 million, enabling Yale to erect 11 new athletic facilities while renovating an additional 11 campus sports venues
Led the 1963 & 1964 Taylor Allderdice football teams to back-to-back City League championships and was 1964 First Team All-City League High School quarterback
A 1968 Pitt grad, he earned three varsity letters in baseball and basketball and was the 1968 Pitt baseball captain
Played professional baseball for 5 years (1967-71) with the San Francisco Giants organization
Coached college baseball at Pitt and Butler CC, before serving as athletic administrator at San Jose State and then as Associate AD at Stanford University, where his teams won 32 NCAA championships and received seven “Champion of Champions” Awards
In 2017 the Yale University Athletic Director’s Chair was endowed and renamed the “Thomas A. Beckett Athletic Director’s Chair”
in 2018 he was named the National Football Foundation Athletic Director of the Year

Joe Zuger

Year Inducted:2001

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Joe is a graduate of Homestead High School and Arizona State University who went north of the border to Canada to become a legend. In his senior season at ASU, Joe led the nation in punting and pass interceptions and was named to the Blue-Grey All-star game. After graduation, Joe joined the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats and played quarterback, punter, and defensive back over a ten-year career. His play is still reflected in the league’s record book which shows Joe Zuger still holds the record for Most Touchdown Passes in a Regular Season game-8, Second Longest Pass Completion -1 08 yards, and has the second highest Punting Average All-time regular season -45.6 yards. He remained with the Tiger-Cats as an assistant coach, Director of Player Personnel, and General Manager. Joe was inducted into the ASU Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Tiger-Cats Wall of Fame in 2000.

William "Billy" Zopf

Year Inducted:1983

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Joe Zombek

Year Inducted:1987

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Scott Twp. High School 1950 -High School All-State 1949. University of Pittsburgh 1954 -Football end 1946-50, and punter. Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end 1954-55, also punted. Pitt -letterman 3 years. Jessop Steel Co. salesman and manager 1956-67. Owner Cherry Hills Inn and Resort, McDonald, PA 1964 to present.

Mike Zmijanac

Year Inducted:2018

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A graduate of Aliquippa High School and Edinboro State University
He returned to teach at Aliquippa for thirty-nine years with several stints as an assistant coach in football and basketball.
Most prominent assistant coaching successes came as defensive coordinator for Aliquippa teams which won four WPIAL Titles in seven championship appearances
Hired as the Aliquippa’s head boys basketball coach in 1996 and head football coach in 1997
His 7-year head basketball coaching career included a record of 166 – 43, three WPIAL championships, and one PIAA AA state title
His 21–year head football coaching record is 237–36, an incredible 86.8 winning percentage
Six WPIAL titles in 13 championship games, including 10 consecutive WPIAL tournament appearances and one PIAA championship in four title appearances
Other notable achievements: 11 undefeated regular seasons, a 62-game consecutive winning streak and numerous Coach of the Year recognition’s.
Elected to the Minor Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015
Elected to the Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 2016
Only coach in Pennsylvania history ever to win high school state titles in both football and basketball

Ferdinand Henry John "Fritzie" Zivic

Year Inducted:1968

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Ferdinand Henry John (Fritzie) Zivcich (Zivic) was an American boxer of Croatian descent who held the World Welterweight Championship from October 4, 1940 until July 29, 1941. As a young man, he followed the example of his four elder brothers who boxed and became known as the “Fighting Zivics”. He lost to Billy Conn, 1939 World Light-Heavyweight Champion, before 5,163 In a ten-round split decision at the Duquesne Gardens in Pittsburgh. In January 1939, Zivic defeated Jackie Burke, former Utah Intermountain and Pacific Southwest Welter-Weight title holder in 1939 and avenged a loss to former Junior Welterweight Champ Johnny Judick with a sixth round knockout. He defeated another Pittsburgh boxer, Sammy Angott in an elimination match to determine who would face Henry Armstrong for the World Welterweight Title noted above. Fritzie received a $3,200 Purse for his win, his biggest ever.