Groat inducted into PAA Hall of Fame; Western Pa. prep football POY to be picked
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Dick Groat was the first player inducted to both the college baseball and basketball halls of fame, but the former two-sport star is taking special delight in being enshrined to the Pittsburgh Athletic Association Hall of Fame Friday at its 11th annual Johnny Majors Night.
“Everybody in there is football-related, so I'm very proud,” Groat said. “It's a heck of an honor and a tremendous thrill for me, just to be thought of as the same level as these football greats.”
Groat, who serves as Pitt's men's basketball radio color analyst, was a two-time All-American and national player of the year at Duke who averaged 25.2 points per game in 1952. His No. 10 jersey was the first to be hung from the rafters at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Groat played one season in the NBA for the Fort Wayne Pistons, but focused on baseball and was an eight-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion who starred at shortstop for the Pirates. The Swissvale High School graduate was the 1960 National League MVP for the World Series champion Bucs after winning the batting title with a .325 average. He finished with 2,138 career hits.
“I've always maintained that since he played two sports at the highest level, he is arguably the greatest athlete we've ever produced,” said Bill Hillgrove, Groat's radio partner and presenter.
The PAA also will present its Mercury Award to the top prep football player in Western Pennsylvania. The four finalists are:
• Tyler Boyd, Clairton: The U.S. Army All-American rushed for 2,584 yards and scored 51 touchdowns to lead the Bears to their fifth consecutive WPIAL Class A championship and fourth straight PIAA title, setting a state record with 63 consecutive victories Boyd is the No. 5 rusher in WPIAL history with 5,755 yards and a WPIAL-record 117 touchdowns. He has committed to Pitt.
• Robert Foster, Central Valley: One of the nation's top 50 players and top five wide receivers, the Under Armour All-American had 45 receptions for 756 yards and eight touchdowns and rushed for 500 yards and 12 scores. Foster, who led Central Valley to the 2010 WPIAL Class AAA championship, has committed to two-time defending BCS national champion Alabama.
• Patrick Kugler, North Allegheny: An Under Armour All-American, Kugler was a three-year starter who anchored the offensive line for the Tigers as they became the first WPIAL Class AAAA team to win three straight titles. The two-time all-state selection, has committed to Michigan.
• Mack Leftwich, North Allegheny: One of the best pure passers in recent WPIAL history, Leftwich completed 175 of 268 attempts (65.3 percent) for 3,331 yards and 45 touchdowns to lead the Tigers to WPIAL and PIAA championships. A two-year starter who moved from Tulsa before his junior season, Leftwich passed for 5,554 yards and 65 touchdowns and had a 30-1 record. He has committed to UTEP, where he will play for Kugler's father, Sean.
The PAA has raised more than $80,000 for causes that include traumatic brain injury research, cancer and Operation Troop Appreciation. The event starts with the awards ceremony at 7 p.m., followed by a steak dinner. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased by calling 412-621-2400.
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