By Steve Svetovich
Dunmore Bucks legendary football coach Jack Henzes, late Berwick football coach George Curry, Abington Heights graduate Abby Peck and Scranton Prep graduate Kathleen Klein Prindle were among 12 inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Woodlands, Wilkes Barre.
Bob Walsh, president of the Northeastern Chapter, performed the Welcome during the ceremonies for the Class of 2018.
Jim Coles served as toastmaster for the 56th induction ceremony and banquet.
The presentation of colors was performed by the Northeastern Detachment Marine Corps League Department of PA.
Sue Lucas sang the national anthem. Joe Bordell introduced Hall of Fame president Ed Ludwig.
Retired Dunmore teacher and former Lady Bucks basketball coach Alice Foley of the Northeast Chapter provided the invocation and benediction.
The event was hosted by the Northeastern Chapter in collaboration with the Carbon County, Lehigh Valley-Pocono, John Popple-Luzerne, Allen Rogowicz, Ed Romance, Bernie Romanoski, Jerry Wolman-Northern Anthracite, and Bernie Romanoski Chapters.
The 12 inductees were Jack Henzes, George Curry, Abby Peck, Kathleen Klein Prindle, Joe Battista, Robert “Tick” Cloherty, Bruce Dal Canton, Abe Everhart, Tom Harbert, Karen Klassner, Manuel Pihakis and Robert Shoudt.
Henzes, who has the second most high school football wins in state history to Curry, was absent due to illness related to a heart ailment. His induction was accepted by his son Randy.
His career started as an assistant football coach at Blakely High School under his dad, the late “Papa Bear” John Henzes, Sr. In 1966 he became head coach at Wyoming Area and in 1971 was named, and currently is, head football coach at Dunmore where he has a record of 435 wins, 160 losses and eight ties. He has the most wins for an active coach in the state.
He led Dunmore to the Eastern Conference title in 1985, Class A state title in 1989, Class A state Eastern title in 2012, Class AA in 2007, 2014 state Eastern title, District 2 “A” 2012 title, and District 2 “AA” titles in 1995, 1999, 2007-09 and 2014-2017.
He was inducted into the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame, joining his late dad, in 2009. He is a member of the Chic Feldman Foundation Hall of Fame of Northeast PA.
The late Curry, whose 455 high school football wins are the most in state history, accumulated six state championships and three national champions. Curry’s son Cosmo accepted the induction.
Curry coached 38 years at Berwick, four years at Lake Lehman and three years at Wyoming Valley West. He coached 12 regular season undefeated teams and had a 47-game winning streak from 1981 to 1985. He was named Coach of the Year 28 times and helped get millions of dollars in scholarships for his players.
Abington Heights graduate Peck represented the United States at the World Championships as a member of the 1983, 1985, 1986 and 1987 National Teams and the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Teams. She was elected Captain of the 1988 Olympic Rowing Team. She is a 12 time National Champion, World Championship and Goodwill Games silver medalist and six times winner at the Head of Charles in Boston. She coached at Smith and Wellesley Colleges and at Masters and pre-Elite levels, where her teams won numerous medals.
As a coach, she worked with the “One-In-Nine” rowing program for cancer patients/survivors, helped create the ‘WeCanRow” program to teach cancer patients/survivors to row and regain physical capability and developed an exercise protocol for a Dana Farber cancer study. The free exercise program she created locally for cancer survivors is in its 11th year.
Scranton Prep graduate Klein Prindle has been involved in aquatics since 1978, first as a swimmer and later as a coach. Her elite athletes include National Champions and qualifiers from over 18 countries. She founded Performance Aquatics where Olympic hopefuls from all over the world are trained alongside local swimmers, achieving success locally at Junior Olympic/Sectional/State, to nationally at NCAA/USA Nationals, and internationally at World Champs/Olympic Games levels. She created nine Learn-to-Swim programs, 2 USA Swimming competitive teams, two US Masters teams, a Girls/Boys Varsity team and instituted middle school swimming locally.
Battista, known as the “Godfather of Penn State Hockey,” began his career at Penn Hills high school where he was a three-time hockey team captain. He helped secure the largest gift in Penn State history from Terry and Kim Pegula, Carbondale, in 2010 to field varsity men’s and women’s hockey teams and construct the Pegula Ice Arena. He was named Associate Athletic Director to oversee the project. In 2013, he became Vice-President of the Buffalo Sabres.
Cloherty was a four-time first-team PSAC offense and defense player at Clarion State College and was football captain in 1961. He was WPIAL football official for 35 years and basketball official for 25 years.
The late Dal Canton pitched the Cal Vulcans to the District 30 title and first NAIA National tournament. His 1.30 ERA remains a school and PSAC record. He pitched in the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves. He had a career big league record of 51-49 with a 3.67 ERA and later served as pitching coach for the Braves. He once set a team record retiring 23 consecutive batters for the Royals.
Everhart was coach of the Uniontown High school Red Raiders basketball team for 29 years. His career record was 549-149, including four WPIAL titles and two PIAA titles.
Harbert was the youngest head wrestling coach at Saint Vincent College and went on to Latrobe compiling a 202-87-5 record. He earned seven WPIAL titles. He started the varsity men and women’s cross country and men and women’s lacrosse programs at Saint Vincent.
Klassner took over the Wyoming Seminary Blue Knights field hockey team in 1973 and currently holds a 660-171-6 record, including 17 undefeated seasons and six state titles.
Pihakis was Western PA’s Interscholastic Athletic League wrestling champion in 1949, 1950, 1951 and 1952. At Canonsburg High School, he had a 99-1 wrestling record. He had a 58-8 wrestling record at Indiana University where he was All-American.
Shoudt was escorted by former NFL great Billy “White Shoes” Johnson who was named one of the 75 greatest players in pro football history. Shoudt coached track and field at numerous state high schools. His teams won 10 Penn Relays titles. He coached Billy White Shoes on one of his high school track and field teams. He is a six-time Big East Coach of the Year.