Fayette County Sports Hall of Fame announces new class
Seven individuals and two teams comprise the Fayette County Sports Hall of Fame's sixth class.
The 2014 banquet and induction ceremony will start at 5:30 p.m. June 21 at Penn State-Fayette, The Eberly Campus.
The new Hall of Fame inductees, who include two coaches, are Greg Beckwith, Bennett “Pope” Gregory (deceased), Ken Misiak, Henry “Hank” Opperman, Bill Power (deceased), Jules “Buddy” Quertinmont and Ralph Still.
A standout basketball player at Laurel Highlands High School and the University of Richmond (Va.), Beckwith represents the 1980 to 1994 era.
He was a 1,000-point scorer for the Mustangs and set a single-game school record with 51 points in a victory over Southmoreland. Beckwith was selected and played in the preliminary round of the 1982 Dapper Dan Roundball Classic in Pittsburgh.
At Richmond he led the Spiders to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 1983-84 and again in 1985-86. He averaged 9.5 assists in four tournament games. The lightning quick ball-handler is still the Spiders' career leader in assists (573) and steals (227). He also owns the top two single-season marks in both categories, as well as the top all-time single-game assist mark, 16 against Navy. He was part of Richmond's 2002-03 Hall of Fame Class.
Bennett ‘Pope' Gregory
Gregory was a three-sport star at Uniontown High School who was also a successful running back at the University of Nebraska and with the NFL's Buffalo Bills.
In high school he was a part of two WPIAL and PIAA championship basketball teams (1962, 1964) while earning Class AA All-State honorable mention honors on the football team, which won the 1962 WPIAL title. He played in the prestigious Big 33 Summer All-Star game in 1964 and scored the game-winning touchdown for Pennsylvania on an 80-yard punt return.
He was a two-time All-Big Eight Conference selection for the Cornhuskers and finished with 1,024 career collegiate rushing yards.
A knee injury ended his pro career after gaining 283 yards on 52 carries (5.4 ypc) in just six games. He passed away in 1997 and was an assistant coach with the University of Colorado.
After coaching Immaculate Conception for four years, Misiak was Geibel High School's only coach for the basketball program's first 45 years and finished with a 734-359 cumulative career record.
He guided the Gators to 27 WPIAL playoff appearances in a 31-year stretch with 15 section crowns, two WPIAL titles (1978, 1980) and the 1978 PIAA Class A championship following a 13-point win over Upper Darby in the finals. That 1978 team went 26-0 and was recognized at the Fayette County Hall of Fame's initial banquet in 2009.
He is just one of five basketball coaches in Pennsylvania to win 700 scholastic games.
Opperman, a former Connellsville High School and Penn State football star, represents the 1950 to 1959 era.
Also a scholastic standout in basketball and track, Opperman was a receiver and lineman who played in the Fayette-Washington County All Star Game before moving on to Penn State, where he played for head coach Rip Engle.
He was the Nittany Lions' 1960 team captain and was selected the Most Valuable Lineman of the 1960 Liberty Bowl after Penn State rushed for more than 300 yards in a 41-12 victory over Oregon. The previous year, Penn State beat Alabama, 7-0, in the Liberty Bowl. Opperman was selected Most Valuable Player of the 1960 North-South Shrine Game after making 10 receptions.
Serving in the military, he attained the rank of first lieutenant in the Army and served as captain in the Missouri National Guard.
Power was the head football coach of Point Marion High School from 1944 through 1947 and compiled a 28-6 mark before leading Uniontown High School's program from 1949 through 1962.
His cumulative coaching mark with the Red Raiders was 107-35-2. Uniontown concluded its undefeated 1962 season (10-0) ranked fourth in the nation and was awarded the WPIAL championship that season based on Gardner points. Two important wins that season were against Mt. Lebanon (14-7) and Johnstown (12-0).
Power also guided Uniontown to undefeated seasons in 1952 and 1957.
Inducted into the Pennsylvania Scholastic football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1995, Power passed away in December 2006. Uniontown's stadium was renamed Bill Power Stadium in 1994.
Before going on to collegiate and professional basketball, Quertinmont scored 1,358 career points for Point Marion/Albert Gallatin High School and represents the 1960-69 era.
His 687 points as a senior led the entire state, and he was a three-time All-County and two-time All-State selection. He was a two-year starter at West Virginia University and scored 689 career points. During a loss to Duke University in 1965, Quertinmont scored 32 points.
Quertinmont played a couple of pro seasons with the Scranton Miners of the-then-called American Basketball League.
Representing the 1970s era, Still was a star quarterback and basketball scorer at German Township High School.
In football he passed for 2,020 career yards and added 2,550 rushing yards while scoring 43 touchdowns. He received All-State, All WPIAL and All-Conference honors.
In basketball he totaled 1,316 career points, including a district leading 647 points and 28.1 points per game average his junior season.
Still scored a then-WPIAL record 40 points in German's 68-58 win over Edgewood for the 1973-74 WPIAL Class C championship.
He went on to play college football at the University of Pittsburgh and had the distinction of catching the first collegiate touchdown pass thrown by eventual NFL Hall of Famer Dan Marino.
Still caught 13 balls for 149 yards and one touchdown in 1978 before making 43 receptions for 580 yards with seven scores in 1979.
Power's 1962 football team and Frazier High School's 1969 WPIAL Class B champion and PIAA runner-up basketball team round out the 2014 class.
Coached by Henry DiVirgilio, Frazier finished that season 25-3 overall and knocked off undefeated Knoch in the WPIAL semifinals and Center in the title game, 69-56. After two state tourney victories over Conemaugh Township and Iroquois, Frazier lost to Mansfield in the finals.
Tickets are available online at www.fayettecountysportshalloffame.com or by calling Katie Propes at 724-415-2260.
There will be a Hall of Fame golf outing at 9 a.m. June 20 at the Uniontown Country Club.
For details, contact George Von Benko at 724-626-1433.
Bruce Wald is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
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