By Steve Svetovich
The Northeast Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame inducted 10 local athletes/coaches at its 33rd annual induction ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 4, at the University of Scranton DeNaples Center.
Bob Walsh, president of the Northeastern Chapter, served as chairman and handled arrangements for the event. Jerry Valonis is vice president. Judy Igoe Carr is secretary. Tom “Doc” Dougherty in treasurer.
Gerry Burke and Carr handled the reception. Walsh and Alice Foley handled the tickets for the event. Foley handled the Invocation.
The class of 2015 included Tony Donato, Ed Bugno, Greg Legg, Marty Myers, Heather Raley, James Burock, Wayne Lydon, Cal Urso, Kathleen Klein Prindle and the late Bob Gilbride.
The inductees, including a family member for Gilbride, all made speeches at the podium following a delicious full course prime rib dinner.
Well-known local TV sports broadcaster Sid Michaels served as toastmaster for the event.
“Who can ever forget the Scranton Red Sox, the Scranton Baseball Association, Weston Field, the Scranton Miners at the Catholic Youth Center, the Blakely Bears,” Michaels said. “This area gave birth to and nurtured these athletes.”
Cal Urso, inducted as a baseball coach at Mid Valley High School where he notched 321 wins, thanked former Mid Valley baseball star Jerry Valonis for the nomination. He also thanked the entire Mid Valley School District, including teachers, administration, coaches and players, Jerry Dempsey, his former pitching coach, and the Hall of Fame committee.
Ed Bugno, inducted for his football heroics as a receiver at West Scranton High School where he was All State and at Bloomsburg University where he was PSAC All Conference first team, told a story about his former West Scranton High School football coach Joe DeAntona.
He told how, as a player for West, he called a timeout following an interception against North Pocono. It was late in the game and West had the game in hand. DeAntona holding a locker room meeting the following day with the team watching film. DeAntona, he said, stopped the film following the interception, turned out the lights and asked who called the timeout. Bugno admitted it was him.
DeAntona responded, “There is no reason to humiliate an opponent. We don’t do that here at West.” Bugno said it was a lesson he learned and carried with him for the rest of his life. DeAntona was present in the audience during his speech.
“What an honor it is to be mentioned with all these fellow inductees,” Bugno tearfully said. “I want to thank my wife who never missed a game of mine since we began dating in 1975. It is an honor to spend this night with my wife and children and my high school coach Joe DeAntona who is here tonight.”
James Burok, who had a 21-0 pitching record for Valley View High School and was a four-year starter for Old Dominion before being drafted by the Cleveland Indians and Colorado Rockies, was inducted for baseball.
“I lost my grandmother a couple of years ago. She was my biggest fan,” said Burok. “She cut my name out of the newspaper every time my name was in there and she made it to every game I played. I want to thank my dad who never told me no. He worked 2 a.m. to 11 a.m. and was there at noon to pitch to me.”
Anthony Donato, an All-State wide receiver at Dunmore High School who spent five years as an assistant coach at Dunmore and 13 years as an assistant at North Pocono before leading Abington to its first Big 11 title, was selected for football/track/coach.
Donato recognized his wife and mother, high school and college coaches and Ed Bugno who he worked with.
The late Bob Gilbride, who coached basketball at Holy Rosary High School and baseball and basketball at Scranton Central High School and won titles in parts of four decades, was represented by his granddaughter.
“My grandfather said he never expected perfection, but he expected hard work.”
The late Gilbride, who accrued 483 wins before his retirement from Scranton High, refused induction while he was living.
Greg Legg, who has spent 33 years in the Philadelphia Phillies organization as a player, coach and manager, and is the only Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons player to have his number (14) retired, was inducted for baseball.
“I am so honored to be a part of this group,” he said. “Baseball and sports have given me so much. I don’t work for a living. The toughest part is traveling and being away from my family and friends. We were treated like kings in Northeast PA. There are so many in this game who have influenced me.”
Heather Gallagher Raley, a record holder in seven of 10 swimming events at West Scranton High School and an All-American swimmer at Gettysburg, was inducted for swimming. She thanked Frank McGuire, her first swimming coach. She thanked her husband and daughter who she called “my biggest little fan.”
Kathleen Klein Prindle, a four-year swimming letterman at Scranton Prep who assisted in preparing eight athletes in the 2008 Beijing Games resulting in two Olympic medals, was selected for coach/swimming.
Prindle, who has trained elite swimmers from 17 countries for Olympic Games, spoke of being inspired by her grandmother, Hall of Fame inductee Julie Holleran Igoe.
“Tonight is a moment in time. Looking back, it is also important to look forward and keep our focus in the community on sports and youth participation in sports, said Prindle. “I look to the future of this sport as we do everything we can to protect it. I believe we live in a peaceful and better world through the Olympic ideal.”
Wayne Lydon, who was an All State outfielder, defensive player of the year and All State safety and District track winner at Valley View High School, was selected for baseball/football/track.
Lydon, who was drafted by the New York Mets, stole 595 bases in 13 years in the minor leagues and Independent Leagues and was named Baseball America’s best base runner three times, joked that his speech would be as short as his call up to the Mets which lasted but a few hours.
Marty Myers, a sports reporter/editor for the Wayne Independent for 10 years and the Scranton Times for over 20 years, received the Service Award. Myers, the PIAA District 2 McGladrie award winner for contributions to high school athletics through journalism.
“I thank my mom and dad and wife Barbara of 32 years. They were always there to support me,” said Meyers. “When I was two hours away from home covering a very important girls’ softball game, my wife was home taking care of the house and my family. She was always behind me.
“I congratulate this Hall of Fame class.”