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Pine-Richland coach to receive Courage Award as part of WPIAL hall of fame ceremony

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WPIAL Hall of Fame Class of 2013

Lou “Bimbo” Cecconi Donora, 1946 Heritage Award honoree led school to three WPIAL football titles.

Jack Waltz Mt. Lebanon, 1963 Three-time WPIAL and PIAA tennis singles champion.

Elaine Sobansky-Blackhurst Trinity, 1980 Won three WPIAL and PIAA championships in shot put and a state title in discus.

Sean Gilbert Aliquippa, 1989 Parade All-American defensive lineman who became a first-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Rams.

Jeremy Hunter McGuffey, 1996 Compiled a 171-2 record and won four PIAA championships in wrestling at McGuffey.

Tyler Palko West Allegheny, 2002 Won three WPIAL Class AAA football titles and a state championship in 2001.

Megan Schnur Butler, 2002 McDonald's All-American soccer player and All-Big East player at Connecticut.

Christa Harmotta Hopewell, 2005 Tribune-Review Female Athlete of the Year while winning three consecutive WPIAL volleyball titles.

Coach Don Barth North Catholic Won 600 games as girls basketball coach while guiding team to 19 consecutive WPIAL title games.

Coach Lindy Lauro New Castle Led school to six undefeated football seasons and three WPIAL championships.

Coach Jack McCurry North Hills Won 281 football games in 35 years, winning the 1993 state title and being ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today in 1987.

Coach Donna Richey Aliquippa Started girls basketball program in 1976, went on to win four WPIAL and two state titles.

Quaker Valley boys soccer 1996 Finished 26-0, with 21 shutouts and only seven goals allowed.

Mt. Alvernia girls basketball 1983 Coached by 48-year veteran De Porucznik, team was 34-0, winning games by an average margin of 34 points.

Contest official Don Woodward Worked for 41 years at the high school and collegiate levels.

WPIAL Board of Control President Jack Fullen Blackhawk athletic director served the league for 20 years.

Top high school sports
Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 1:06 p.m.

While cancer patient Kurt Wolfe was having trouble with a clogged port during chemotherapy treatments, he kept thinking about the game.

“That was wasting time,” Wolfe, the Pine-Richland baseball coach, said of the potentially life-saving procedures. “I was running late.”

But Wolfe never missed a game through four years of treatment and three surgeries on his liver, colon and thyroid. While doctors gave him a 25 percent chance of survival, he somehow found the strength to lead Pine-Richland to the 2010 WPIAL championship, hours after a chemo session.

For his efforts while fighting stage IV colorectal cancer and keeping up a coach's demanding schedule, Wolfe is the WPIAL's 2013 Courage Award winner. Wolfe will be honored at the Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremony June 7 at the Green Tree Doubletree Hotel.

The day of the port malfunction also was the day of a semifinal game against Upper St. Clair at Washington & Jefferson's field. “I kept telling the chemo nurse to hurry up. (She said) ‘This is more important.' And she was right. But I wanted to get there.”

Weak from the chemo, Wolfe let his father drive to the game.

“I, literally, got there as soon as the game started and ran right onto third base (the coaching box),” he said.

Pine-Richland won, and a few days later defeated North Allegheny in the championship game. It was Wolfe's second title after leading Pine-Richland to WPIAL and PIAA championships in 2006, his rookie year as coach.Today, Wolfe said the cancer is “stable,” and he continues to coach. “It was his medicine,” his wife Jennifer said.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.




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