Paglia latest addition to Mid-Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame
Among the seven new members of the Mid-Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame is a consummate sports journalist whose thorough stories are as memorable to area sports fans as the magnificent athletic accomplishments of his six fellow 2013 inductees.
For nearly 60 years, Ron Paglia has chronicled the exploits of athletes and Mon Valley hard working citizens with detailed human-interest stories. He learned his craft under such deceased local writing legends as John R. Bunardzya and R. Mitchell Steen.
A graduate of California Community High School, Paglia started working full time as an assistant to Bunardzya at the Charleroi Mail in 1958, which became part of The Valley Independent when The Daily Independent of Monessen purchased The Mail.
From December 1959 to August 1960 Paglia was the sports editor at The Daily Republican in Monongahela.
He then worked nearly 29 years with The Valley Independent, serving as sports editor, general assignment reporter, copy editor and city editor.
Paglia served as director of media relations at Monongahela Valley Hospital from 1989 to 2009 and then worked three more years on a part-time, consulting basis. He resumed his tireless freelance work in 2005.
His “old-school” approach may make copy editors weary, but many such as Dennis Laskey, a lifelong Dunlevy resident, are grateful for Paglia's work. A veteran soccer coach, licensed referee and past standout player, Laskey was inducted into the MMVASHOF in 2007.
“I believe Ron is just a tremendous sports journalist, and what I admire the most about him is that he has always been unbiased towards athletes and individual sports,” Laskey said. “All athletes have passion for what they do, and Ron has always given them their due respect. His passion for writing and reporting sports has been instrumental in the continued growth and development of sports in the Mon Valley Region.”
Paglia's selection marks the second consecutive year that a newspaper journalist has been inducted. Last year longtime Valley Independent sports editor Brian Herman was inducted after 45 years with that paper. Previous newspaper sports writers inducted into the MMVASHOF include Clair N. Brown (1975), Bob Petriello (1969), Bunardzya (1968), John T. Matta (1958) and Floyd M. France (1957).
Not so surprisingly Paglia has played an instrumental role in reviving the Hall of Fame by tracing the origins and compiling the roster of inductees since 1951.
Stephen Russell, general chairman of the Mon Valley Hall of Fame, said Paglia has been a hero of his since he was a youngster growing up in the Mon Valley reading his columns.
“Ron was the inspiration for the Biographical Journal on local sports Hall of Fame inductees I did back in 2002,” Russell said. “We need to take the time to recognize the writers who expose our prominent athletes to the region and state at large. Ron Paglia is one of those rare writers.”
One of Paglia's fellow inductees of this year's class is standout quarterback Bill Lee, who worked summers during his collegiate days at the Allenport Plant of Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel. Lee's supervisor there was Paglia's father, the late Fred “Babe” Paglia. Lee believes Ron Paglia has made his father proud.
“Ron in my opinion has always been soft-spoken but I think through his writing has spoke volumes,” Lee said. “Many of the people I associate with enjoy Ron's reflections of the valley because he brings back the good of what the area was about. When you read Ron's stories it's as if you are at the game or event because he tells it like it was.
“For me to be inducted with Ron is quite an honor because many people appreciate what Ron has brought to the valley.”
Bruce Wald is a freelance writer.