ShareThis Page

Local athletic greats to be celebrated at East Boros HOF ceremony

Michael Love
| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:29 p.m.
Joanne Boyle
Plum Advance Leader
Joanne Boyle
Cheryl Gatons
Plum Advance Leader
Cheryl Gatons
Joe Naunchik
Plum Advance Leader
Joe Naunchik
Tony Lonero
Plum Advance Leader
Tony Lonero

The Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, East Boros Chapter, will celebrate the Class of 2012 at a banquet and ceremony Oct. 11 at Edgewood Country Club

Eight local athletic greats — Joanne Boyle, Brian Cipollone, Cheryl Gatons, Tony Lonero, Tom McGough, Melanie Morgan-Miller, Joe Naunchik and Carol Sprague — will be honored.

This is the 35th annual class to be inducted since the first class was cele- brated in 1978.

Tickets still are available and can be purchased by calling Bob Ford at 412-551-0227 or by emailing him at

This week, the Plum Advance Leader will continue to profile members of this year's class.

Joanne Boyle

The Gateway graduate and basketball star for the Gators also excelled in three other sports during her high school career.

Her basketball career garnered the attention of Division I schools, and she went to play in college at Duke University.

Boyle was a four-year letter winner for the Blue Devils, and she led the team with a then-school record 75 steals her senior season.

After college, she played professionally for three years in both Luxembourg and Germany.

As Boyle's playing career ended, her coaching career started.

She returned to Duke as an assistant coach from 1993 to 2002. During that span, the Blue Devils advanced to the NCAA Tournament eight times and made the Final Four in 1999 and 2002.

Boyle became the head coach at the University of Richmond in 2002, and the Spiders won at least 21 games each season and earned an NCAA bid in 2004.

In 2005, she became the head coach at California in the Pac 10, and she led the Golden Bears to postseason play each year she directed the program.

Cal made four NCAA tournament appearances.

It advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2009 and won the WNIT title in 2010.

Boyle earned 2006-07 Pac 10 Coach of the Year honors, and in 2011, she received the WBCA's prestigious Carol Eckman Award, honoring coaches for a combination of success on the court and distinguished character off the court.

In 2011, Boyle returned to the ACC as the head coach of the Virginia Cavaliers, and she led her team to the quarterfinals of the WNIT Tournament.

Joe Naunchik

The 1956 Plum graduate was known throughout Western Pennsylvania as a football coach, but his list of athletic accomplishments was much more far reaching.

He was the captain of his Mustangs football, basketball and baseball teams.

As the Alle-Kiski Valley Back of the Year, he led the 1955 Plum football team to an undefeated season.

A standout on the baseball diamond, Naunchik set a WPIAL record by striking out 20 batters in a seven-inning game.

While Naunchik accept- ed a football scholarship to Arizona state, he left early to sign a baseball contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

He played in the minor leagues for three years before returning to college and eventually becoming a teacher and a coach.

Naunchik spent 40 seasons as a high school football coach, including 25 as a head coach. Nine of those years were spent as coach of the Mustangs, where his teams won two conference championships and one co-championship.

He coached four different schools — Plum, Valley, Hempfield and Fox Chapel — to the WPIAL playoffs.

Naunchik was named the Quad-A East Coach of the Year at Fox Chapel for the 1996 and 1997 seasons.

He spent four seasons as part of the University of Pittsburgh coaching staff, and during that time, the Panthers had a 42-7 record.

He coached in the Fiesta, Gator, Sugar and Cotton bowls.

He is a member of the Allie-Kiski Hall of Fame and the Plum High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Cheryl Gatons

In 1996, Gatons exploded onto the national running stage by qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Trials in only her second year of running marathons. She also ran at the Olympic Trials in 2000.

She placed second at the 1997 National Marathon Championship with a time of 2 hours, 39 minutes and earned a spot on the U.S. World Marathon team.

At the World Marathon Championships, Gatons was the top American finisher and was 25th overall.

Gatons placed second at the Pittsburgh Marathon in 1996 and 1998, and she still holds several 5K and 10K road-race records throughout western Pennsylvania.

Her best 10K time is 33:29, while her top 5K time is 16:51.

Gatons was a top distance runner in high school. She earned three varsity track letters at Plum.

She is a past Dapper Dan Sportswoman of the Year, and currently competes as a runner at the Masters level.

Gatons resides in Greensburg with her children, Sydney, Quintin and Lillian. In 2006, while running with one of his athletes at a high school cross country meet, her husband, Kevin, died suddenly from a heart attack.

Tony Lonero

The 1977 Penn Hills graduate helped the Indians win a WPIAL championship during his senior season.

After a successful two seasons at Chipola Junior College in Florida on a baseball scholarship, he was awarded a scholarship to Louisiana State University. Lonero played two years at LSU, where he held a school doubles record, batted .322 and produced a .976 fielding percentage at catcher.

In 1982, Lonero began a professional baseball career in Italy, and he won the triple crown — hitting .385 with 23 home runs and 75 RBIs. He was named the league's rookie of the year and a earned a “Golden Glove” for catching.

He was a member of the Italian National Team for the World Baseball Championships in 1982 and the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984. Italy placed fifth at the 1984 Olympics.

Lonero continued to play professionally in Italy until 1996, and records he set during his career still stand.

He hit three home run in a single game four times.

Lonero also has enjoyed success in cycling, completing numerous events of 1,000 kilometers or farther throughout Europe.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.