Daily Local News: 7/15/11
Chesco Sports Hall of Fame announces 2011 inductees
EXTON -- Fifteen local legends, and one iconic team, will be inducted into
the Chester County Sports Hall of Fame this fall, including a Super Bowl
champion, a winner of the Indianapolis 500, an Olympic gold medalist and
someone very special to the Daily Local News: former sports editor and Hall
of Fame co-founder Greg Greenday.
"I think someday when we have a permanent home for the Hall of Fame, maybe
it will be named after Greg," said 2009 hall of famer, Dick Yoder. "He was
very influential and very energetic in getting all of this off the ground.
And we really miss him."
The complete list of inductees for 2011 was announced on Friday evening at
Winner's Circle Sports Grille in Exton, where the Hall of Fame exhibit is
currently located. The fourth class will up the number of individual
honorees to 52 and also features Jay Sigel, one of the nation's most
accomplished amateur golfers; West Chester men's soccer coach Mel Lorback,
who guided the Golden Rams to the 1961 NCAA title; and Downingtown's Tina
Nicholson, who becomes the first female basketball star to make it to the
"This is a very big honor and I was very surprised," said Nicholson, 38, who
was one of three inductees on hand for the announcement. "When I was
notified, I was like, wow, it's nice that someone recognized my talents and
the talents of the teams I've been on."
In addition, the list includes football standouts George Bratcher, Walt
Downing, Frank LeMaster, E. Leroy Mercer, and Charles 'Chic' Chiccino;
accomplished high school coaches and administrators Harold Zimmerman and
Nate Kendig; referee Jerry Bannan; and all-around star athlete Gertie Dunn.
"To even be mentioned with the quality of the people who have already been
inducted is a great honor," said Chiccino.
"I am happy to be recognized," added Bannan, a lifelong West Chester
resident. "It's not very often people stop and appreciate the officials."
In addition, West Chester's 1961 NCAA champion men's soccer squad joins the
early-1970's Mighty Macs -- who captured three straight national women's
basketball titles -- and 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro, as the
CCSHOF's only special recognition recipients.
The Fourth Annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner is scheduled for Nov. 5,
2011, at Downingtown.
"This is a great and varied class," Yoder said.
"This county is so rich in sports history, you would not believe some of the
names we still haven't gotten too yet," added Hall of Fame President Jerry
Here is a closer look at the 2011 inductees (in alphabetical order):
Jerry Bannan: A pioneer in early professional basketball who spent 40 years
as a referee, Bannan eventually officiated in both the NBA and ABA.
George Bratcher: An All-State football player and basketball star at West
Chester High, Bratcher went on to stardom at Delaware State and later played
professionally in the Canadian Football League.
Charles 'Chic' Chiccino: An All-Stater on the gridiron at
Tredyffrin-Easttown High School, Chiccino was a standout at WCU and then a
highly successful head football coach at Downingtown High.
Walt Downing: A football, track and wrestling star at Coatesville High,
Downing was an All-American offensive lineman at the University of Michigan,
later spent six seasons in the NFL and was a member of the Super Bowl
champion San Francisco 49ers in 1981.
Gertie Dunn: Also accomplished in basketball and golf, Dunn played in the
All American Girls Professional League, starred in field hockey and lacrosse
at WCU and was later named a national hall of famer in both.
Greg Greenday: The co-founder of the CCSHOF, Greenday was a longtime sports
writer at the Delaware County Daily Times and sports editor of the Daily
Local News. Greenday passed away suddenly in 2010.
Ray Keech: A Coatesville native, Keech set the land speed record of 207.55
miles per hour in 1928 and won the 1929 Indy 500. He was killed 16 days
later while racing in Altoona.
Nate Kendig: The longtime athletic director at Kennett High School, Kendig
also helped guide the Blue Demons to three league basketball and baseball
titles while serving as head coach from 1953-61.
Frank LeMaster: The Birchrunville native enjoyed a nine-year career with the
Philadelphia Eagles from 1974-82, was named to the NFL's Pro Bowl and was a
starter on Philadelphia's NFC Champion team in 1981.
Mel Lorback: The head men's soccer coach at WCU for 33 years, Lorback's
teams won three conference championships, six NCAA regionals and the 1961
E. Leroy Mercer: A two-time All American in football at Penn, the Kennett
Square native competed in the 1912 Olympic Games, placing fifth in the long
jump and sixth in the decathlon.
Tina Nicholson: With 2,709 career high school points, no Chester County
player (male of female) has scored more. Nicholson led Downingtown to
back-to-back state titles, was an All-American at Penn State and then played
professionally with the WNBA.
Jay Sigel: The longtime Berwyn resident won the U.S. Amateur, the British
Amateur and the U.S. Mid-Amateur. He also competed in nine Walker Cup teams
for the U.S. and won eight times on the PGA's Champions (Senior) Tour,
including the 1998 Bell Atlantic Classic at nearby Hartefeld National.
Frank Spellman: A member of the U.S. Weightlifting Hall of Fame, Spellman
set several Olympic records and earned a gold medal in the 1949 games.
Harold Zimmerman: The successful football and track & field coach at West
Chester High School, Zimmerman was also the athletic Director. He was the
head coach of the school's undefeated 1931 squad and coached current CCSHOF
members Yoder, Al Bruno, Nick Bruno and Jon Matlack.
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