Fayette Sports Hall of Fame announces second class
Ten individuals and two championship teams make up the second class of the Fayette County Sports Hall of Fame.
This year’s banquet and induction ceremony will take place June 26, beginning at 6 p.m., at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus. Tickets are available on the Hall of Fame’s website, www.fayettecountysportshalloffame.com, or by calling 724-430-4100, ext. 4886.
As part of the weekend celebration, a golf outing will be held at 9 a.m. June 25 at the Uniontown Country Club. The day’s festivities will conclude with a 7 p.m. sock hop in the Ivory Ballroom in Uniontown.
For more information on Hall of Fame events, contact George Von Benko at 724-626-1433.
Inductees from the 1900-49 era are Charley Hyatt, a basketball standout on Uniontown High School’s 1925 state championship team and an All-American at the University of Pittsburgh, and Robert “Rip” Haley, who was a football, basketball and baseball star at South Union High School and Cornell University.
Former Uniontown and Ohio State football stalwart Francis “Moose” Machinsky and South Union four-sport star Rich Novak, who played quarterback for the University of Maryland, are the inductees from the 1950-59 decade. Machinsky was an all-conference defensive tackle on Ohio State’s 1954 national championship team while Novak was also a WPIAL broad jump champion.
Representing the 1960-69 era are Bob Bailor and Joe Thomas. Bailor was a multi-sport scholastic athletic standout at Geibel Catholic High School, who enjoyed an 11-year career in Major League Baseball. He had 90 career stolen bases and was later a coach on Toronto’s 1992 and 1993 World Series championship teams.
Thomas was a track and field star at Uniontown High School and is regarded as the finest distance runner to come out of Fayette County. He set state records in both the one- and two-mile runs. Thomas is the track and cross country head coach at Albert Gallatin High School.
Daniel “Gus” Gerard is the lone athlete selected from the 1970-90 era. He played scholastic and collegiate basketball at Laurel Highlands High School and the University of Virginia, respectively, before going on to a seven-year professional career. He played two years in the American Basketball Association and five years in the National Basketball Association. Gerard was selected to the 1976 ABA All-Star Game.
Two coaches make up this year’s class: the late Gene Franks, longtime Masontown High School football coach, and C. Vivian Stringer, a German Township native who is the women’s basketball head coach at Rutgers University. She was inducted into the Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 and has more than 800 career victories.
Stringer has guided Cheyney, Iowa and Rutgers to NCAA Final Four appearances. Franks compiled a 128-40-11 cumulative record with four WPIAL championships in 1937, 1940, 1947 and 1950.
Selected for the special recognition category was Bob Petriello, who was sports editor of the now defunct Brownsville Telegraph for 45 years. He was inducted into the Mid-Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame in 1969, and in 2004 received the Greater Brownsville Area Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year Award.
The two teams being inducted are Uniontown High School’s 1965 undefeated WPIAL championship football squad and St. John’s High School’s 1964 Pennsylvania Catholic Interscholastic Athletic Association Class C state basketball champions.
“We’re very pleased with this year’s class,” said Von Benko, a members of the Fayette County Hall of Fame’s board of directors. “There are so many outstanding athletes from Fayette County that have not even been nominated yet. For at least the next 15 years or so, the quality and quantity of the induction classes will be remarkable.”
Several members of the initial Fayette County Sports Hall of Fame class included 1947 Heisman Trophy winner John Lujack, 1936 800-meter Olympic gold medalist John Woodruff, Major League Baseball standout Bobby Locke, collegiate basketball all-American Will Robinson and legendary scholastic basketball coach Abe Everhart.