Daily Local News: 7/26/12

Chester County HOF to welcome 12 new members

WEST CHESTER – The voters have spoken and a dozen new members will officially be welcomed into the Chester County Sports Hall of Fame at its annual banquet on Nov. 10th at Coatesville Country Club.

The Class of 2012 features eight inductees selected by CCSHOF members, including a pair of internationally renowned figures from the Unionville area: thoroughbred trainer Michael Matz and wheelchair racer Amanda McGrory. A total of 26 nominees were on the ballot. And for the first time, class number five also includes four members that were chosen as part of the veteran’s category: longtime Daily Local News Sports Editor George Heaslip; pioneering women’s basketball coach Carol Eckman; All-American swimmer William Clinton and all-around star athlete Jack Helm, Sr.

“I think there are some pretty impressive people in the 2012 group,” said Hall of Fame President Jerry Schneider. “It may be a relatively quiet class compared to some of the others that had some nationally renowned figures, but they are all very, very deserving.

“Michael Matz and Amanda McGrory fit the description (of national significance) and Carol Eckman is called the “mother of women’s basketball.”

Downingtown East High School girls’ basketball icon Bob Schnure headlines an impressive group of local legends along with Phoenixville’s Neal Olkewicz, who played in three Super Bowls. And with Jack Byrne and Diane Horsey, West Chester East High is well represented.

“As for the locals, Bob Owens was Jon Matlack’s catcher through high school,” Schneider pointed out. “He signed with the Chicago Cubs and was the captain of three sports at West Chester Henderson High School. And Bob Schnure’s won over 700 games and certainly belongs in there.”

The 2011 class was the only one smaller than this year’s group, but Schneider says that there is some momentum to cut down future classes that are voted in by expanding the veteran’s selections.

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