Mon Valley sports hall of fame adds 7
For the sixth consecutive year, seven new members will be inducted into the Mid Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame.
Comprising the 2014 class are Monessen's Milfred “Bubby” Holmes (football), the late John Maczuzak from Ellsworth High School (football), Monessen's Maurice Mathieu (football), Belle Vernon Area's Heather Ferrari Milkent (softball), California's Tony Segzda (baseball player and scout), Ringgold's Chuck Smith (football) and Charleroi's Ed Zuraw (pole vaulter and coach).
The 21st annual MMVASHOF Banquet will be held beginning at 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 20, at The Willow Room in Rostraver Township.
Begun in 1951, the Mid Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame inducted Stan Musial and Bert Rechichar as its inaugural class in 1951, and there were no selections in 1954. Hall of Fame Classes were then selected from 1955 through 1970, and there were no selections in 1971-72. Classes resumed in 1973 through 1977. The Mid Mon Valley Hall of Fame was dormant from 1978 through 1995 before resuming in 1996.
When the hall of fame induction ceremony and banquet tradition resumed in 1996, St. Spyridon in Monessen played host to the event for three years before it moved to Carroll Township Social Hall for one year in 1999. For seven years, the banquet took place at two locations at California University of Pennsylvania before moving to The Willow Room in 2008. This facility can accommodate 450 people, more than any previous venue.
Stephen V. Russell, MMVASHOF general chairman and biographer of each inductee, praised the hall of fame selection committee, which includes chairman Brian Herman, Carl Crawley Jr. Dale Hamer, Tom Jenkins, Bill Kubin, Randy Marino, Stan Milchovich, Steve Russell and Bill Hughes.
“The selection committee struggles yearly to name worthy individuals to the Sports Hall of Fame,” said Russell, a retired educator and administrator. “We have hundreds of nominations and welcome suggestions. The committee has learned that if you do your homework and thus research the sports history of the Valley, names will come to the forefront.”
Honoring the Mon Valley's best and brightest in sports and in the classroom has been an integral part of the Sports Hall of Fame since its revival. This tradition will continue when 18 senior scholar athletes from the nine Mon Valley high schools will also be honored: Belle Vernon Area, Bentworth, Brownsville, California, Charleroi, Elizabeth Forward, Monessen, Ringgold and Yough.
Students are chosen by athletic directors and principals for their accomplishments and awarded a certificate of merit by the hall of fame committee. The award reflects personal dedication to achieving the highest standards of excellence as a scholar and as an athlete.
Monessen's Gina Naccarato became the first honored student scholar athlete to reach Hall of Fame status. She was recognized as a student scholar athlete in 1996 and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005. Still the WPIAL's career leading girls' basketball scorer and also a soccer standout, she is Monessen's athletic director and girls' basketball head coach.
Tickets are $40 and seating is limited. To reserve tickets, contact Russell at 724-258-3823 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mid Mon Valley Sports Hall of Fame Museum is located at the Bentleyville Best Western Garden Inn. The hall of fame website is http://www.monvalleysportshalloffame.com.
There are now 219 inductees but Russell hardly sees the talent pool dwindling anytime soon. According to the MMVASHOF bylaws, a maximum of eight can be inducted each year with a minimum of four new members. “What's amazing is the number of eligible candidates and the difficulty in selecting an annual group from such an outstanding array of talent,” he said. “We are truly blessed to have such sports personalities.”
Bruce Wald is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.