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.
Dr Micheal Zernich
Dr Hank Zeller
Played in the N.I.T. at W.& J. before going to the University of Pittsburgh where he was a Letterman of Distinction. An All-American, leading scorer and captain in 1946. Played professionally in the American Basketball League in 1946. Starting center in first East-West Game at Madison Square Gardens and scored winning field goal. Naval Surgical Unit in the Korean conflict.
Carol A. Zaleski
Volunteer, Administrator, Official. Currently serving second term as President, US Swimming, former Executive Vice President & Rules Committee Secretary. Has held every Allegheny Mountain Swimming elected office from Secretary to General Chairman. Member of the US Olympic Committee and Honorary Secretary of the International Swimming Rules Committee. Has Refereed at National, International and Olympic Events. Swimming Competition Dire
Joseph "Bull" Yimin
Baseball – Aspinwall Vets, Oakmont, Ned Mellons and U.S. Army. Football -Sto-Rox Cadets and Washington Social Club. Boxing -Heavyweight Champion Korea 1953. Sio-Pitch Softball -Club 30, Carlucci Tile, Hogans, Skip & Horgan A.C. and Skip’s. 1953 Korean Baseball Division Champs, won MVP. Played in 14 World Sio-Pitch Softball Tournaments. All Tournament teams 1964-67-70. 3 Golden Glove Awards. Played on 5 World Tournament Championship teams and many area and regional championship teams. Could play any position. Many people believe “Bull” was the best 1st Baseman of his time.
Basketball: 1973 coached Dapper Dan Roundball West teams; 1972 and 1978 Pittsburgh Press Coach of the Year; City Championship teams in 1972, 1978; PIAA State Title 1978; 1979 City Championship, 1985, 1986, and 1989 City Title and Western PA PIAA State finalist. 1978-81 golf coach Schenley High School. Seven years softball coach Carrick High School: City Championships 1986-87-90-92-93.
A two-year starter at Aliquippa High School, Don went on to be a three-year starter on a New Mexico State University team, which won Sun Bowls in 1959 and 1960. He returned to Aliquippa and was named head football coach in 1972. Taking over a losing program, Aliquippa had a record of 142-44-5 in his seventeen seasons, including a streak of 25 straight wins in 1987-1988. His teams won 7 AAA section titles, 4 WPIAL Championships, and 3 Runner-up finishes. In 1989 he took over another perennial loser at Baldwin High School, where his record now stands at 78-52-2. He has been named Section Coach of the Year seven times, WPIAL Coach of the Year three times, and Pennsylvania AAA Coach of the Year in 1985. Despite taking over losing programs twice his overall record stands at 220-96-;7. Don has been inducted into the Aliquippa, Beaver County, Las Cruces [\I.M., and the Pennsylvania Football Coaches Hall of Fame.
Jane Waldie Wrenshall
Michigan State University Most Valuable Swimmer Award, All American in 2001M and 400 freestyle. Indiana University Invitational Record Holder; Big Ten Champion 7 Individual Events. Big Ten High point winner 1972. International Intercollegiate Champion -200 Back. Bethel Park High School: Girl Athlete of Senior Class; WPIAL Champion 3 Individual Events. National qualifier at AAU Senior Nationals 1966-70. Swam in Canadian-American Dual Meet, 1968 Edmonton Alberta. Winner of Massachusetts 2 Mile Ocean Swim 1966, 1967 and 1969.
Lewis E. "Lou" Worsham Jr
Served as Golf Professional for over 55 years. Head Professional at Oakmont Country Club 1947-82. Defeated Sam Snead for 1953 USGA Open Title and winner of 1953 Tam-O-Shanter World Championship. Leading money winner of 1953. Played in 17 Masters Tournaments. Inducted into PGA Hall of Fame; American Golf Hall of Fame; Mid-Atlantic PGA Hall of Fame; Member of US Ryder Cup Team in 1947.
John Woodruff, a former track standout at Connellsville High School, blazed into the record books with his Gold Medal victory in the 800 meters at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.
In his high school days, Woodruff had wanted to play football, but his mother felt the practices took up too much of his time, so he was encouraged by a coach to join the track team.
Meanwhile, Woodruff had decided to quit school.
As he recalled, “This was Depression times and there was very little money in our house, so I figured if I could find some kind of job I could earn a little bit of money and help out at home. I quit school, but when I went looking for work, nobody was hiring. I was turned down everywhere. So I decided to go back to school.”
In spring, when it came time for track to begin, Coach Joseph “Pop” Larew approached Woodruff about trying the sport. His mother agreed, since he would be getting home earlier than he had in football and could get his chores done.
The first time he ever ran in scholastic competition, Woodruff won both the 880-yard and mile runs and, before he graduated in 1935, he owned new school, Fayette County, district and state records, plus, in 1935, he broke the national school mile record with a 4:23.4 winning time.
His athletic ability caught the attention of local schools and Pitt and Ohio State were at the top of his list.
“I was interested in Ohio State because Jesse Owens was there, but there were some business people in Connellsville who were also Pitt men and they got me a scholarship to Pitt. If it wasn't for that scholarship, I couldn't have made it. I was the only one from my family to go to college.”
Times were tough and Woodruff struggled to get by in college.
“I reported to Pitt with 25 cents in my pocket. Some people in Pittsburgh helped me get a room at the YMCA in the Hill District and I had to fight the bedbugs for sleeping space. Pitt track coach Carl Olson gave me $5 and since hamburgers were a nickel and hot beef sandwiches were 20 cents, I made that do a week.”
Woodruff was only a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh in 1936 when he placed second at the National AAU meet and first at the Olympic Trials, earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. In one of the most exciting races in Olympic history, Woodruff became boxed in by other runners and was forced to stop running. He then came from behind to win in 1:52.9. The New York Times described the race:
He remembered the anguish of his Olympic race: “Phil Edwards, the Canadian doctor, set the pace, and it was very slow. On the first lap, I was on the inside, and I was trapped. I knew that the rules of running said if I tried to break out of a trap and fouled someone, I would be disqualified. At that point, I didn’t think I could win, but I had to do something.”
Woodruff was a 21-year-old college freshman, an unsophisticated and, at 6-foot-3, an ungainly runner. But he was a fast thinker, and he made a quick decision.
“I didn’t panic,” he said. “I just figured if I had only one opportunity to win, this was it. I’ve heard people say that I slowed down or almost stopped. I didn’t almost stop. I stopped, and everyone else ran around me.”
Then, with his stride of almost 10 feet (3.0 m), Woodruff ran around everyone else. He took the lead, lost it on the backstretch, but regained it on the final turn and won the gold medal.
It was another gold medal for the United States’ so-called Black Auxiliaries — the Nazis’ term for the black athletes — and another thorn in the side of Adolf Hitler, who greeted every white winner, but none of the blacks.
Every winner in the 1936 Olympics received an oak tree from the Black Forest of Germany, presented by the German government. John brought his home, and presented it to the city of Connellsville. It was planted at the south end of the city football stadium, where today it still stands more than 60 feet straight and tall.
During a career that was curtailed by World War II, Woodruff won one AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) title in the 800 meters in 1937 and won both the 440-yard (400 meter) and 880-yard (800 meter) IC4A titles from 1937 to 1939. Woodruff also held a share of the world 4x880-yard (800 meter) relay record while competing with the national team.
Woodruff graduated in 1939, with a major in sociology, and then earned a Masters Degree in the same field from New York University in 1941. He entered military service in 1941 as a Second Lieutenant and was discharged as a Captain in 1945. He reentered military service during the Korean War, and left in 1957 as a Lieutenant Colonel. He was the battalion commander of the 369th Artillery, later the 569 Transportation Battalion New York Army National Guard.
Woodruff also worked as a teacher in New York City, a special investigator for the New York Department of Welfare, a recreation center director for the New York City Police Athletic League, a parole officer for the state of New York, a salesperson for Schieffelin and Co. and an assistant to the Center Director for Edison Job Corps Center in New Jersey.
He passed away on October 30, 2007 at the age of 92.
Dr. Jamie Wolf Jackel
Graduate of South Park High School and Clarion University of PA
One of the top student-athletes in Clarion University history
A record seven-time NCAA D-II National Diving Champion (1- and 3- meters) and three-time
NCAA D-II Female Diver of the Year
In 2007, her 1-meter total of 453.75 points was an NCAA record
In 2007, an NCAA D-II & D-III Academic All-American of the year (all sports)
Earned a post-graduate scholarship to Ohio State where she earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics
Lenore Knight Wingard
Lenore Wingard is truly one of the greatest of the United States’ women swimmers. She once held twenty-one American free-style records and a grand total of seven world records. In the 1932 Olympic games, she captured a silver medal for the 400 meters, and a gold medal for the International Relay. Her remarkable swimming feats have been recognized by her induction into the Helms Foundation Hall of Fame, the Maryland State Hall of Fame, the Pittsburgh Hall of Fame, the International Hall of Fame, arid our Commonwealth’s highest sports awards – induction into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
Although born with a spinal condition, Jim excelled in sports at Edgewood High School. He went on to the University of Georgia where he earned consensus All Southeastern Conference and All-American honors in 1965 and was named MVP Lineman in the Sun Bowl. He played in the Senior Bowl and the College All Star Games. As described by Coach Dooley, “Big Jim was the strongest football player I have ever seen and one of Georgia’s All-time greats.” He has been named to university’s All Decade and All-time Teams. Drafted by the San Francisco 49er’s he was named to the 1965 All-rookie Team. He also played with the Falcons and Rams in a 7-year career cut short by spinal surgery. He was named to the State of Georgia and Helms Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.