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Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame To Hold Its Inductions Locally

Lycoming County has always been a hotbed of sports, producing many great and proficient athletes. As a way to celebrate that sports heritage, the West Branch Valley Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame was organized with its first class of inductees in 1974. The West Branch Chapter has been one of the more

Lycoming County has always been a hotbed of sports, producing many great and proficient athletes. As a way to celebrate that sports heritage, the West Branch Valley Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame was organized with its first class of inductees in 1974. The West Branch Chapter has been one of the more active chapters of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. It hosted the Pennsylvania State Sports Hall of Fame inductions in 1977. For the first time in 40 years the West Branch Chapter will host the state inductions on Saturday, October 28 at the Genetti Hotel and Convention Center.

“I think it is a great honor for the West Branch Valley Chapter to be hosting these great statewide induction ceremonies,” Rodney Laub, president of the West Branch Valley Chapter, told Webb Weekly. “This year we are especially pleased to have two inductees from our chapter going in, Ron Insinger and William Bowes.”

Insinger, of course, is the legendary basketball coach of the Loyalsock Lancers with 852 wins, and Bowes was the football coach at the University of New Hampshire for 27 seasons.

Some background on the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. It was chartered in 1962. It is the only community based Hall of Fame in the country and its present twenty-eight (28) Chartered Chapters serve more than 300 communities throughout the state of Pennsylvania. Each year the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame inducts area greats of yesteryear and endeavors to include athletes, administrators, coaches, and those involved in sports medicine and the sports media. The Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame also honors the scholastic, collegiate, community service and courageous athlete awards within those communities.

From a group of more than 250 inductees and honorees each year, the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame concludes its calendar year with its annual business session and showcase. This Convention and Induction ceremony seats ten living and two deceased inductees on its Dais of Honor who are presented with a Gold Inductee medallion with pendant after a rigorous screening and selection process from a highly disciplined governing structure. The ceremony is hosted on a rotating calendar among the chapters of its Western, Eastern, Northern and Central Regions.

The banquet is Saturday, Oct. 28, at 6:30 p.m. at the Genetti. Tickets are $75 per person and must be paid in advance. To purchase a ticket, please contact Dave Bower at dgbower2@gmail.com.

Here are the remainder of those slated for induction this year.

The living inductees include:

Joseph Walton, a football standout at the University of Pittsburgh, who later played in the NFL with the Giants and Redskins. He later served as an assistant coach for the Giants, Redskins, Jets and Steelers and served as head coach for the New York Jets.

Art Rooney Jr. was a football executive who served under his father, Art Rooney Sr. for the Pittsburgh Steelers, serving as head of their coaching department for many years and was the architect of the great Steeler Super Bowl teams.

Sheila Murphy, an outstanding multi-sport athlete in basketball, lacrosse, and field hockey in Bucks County. She later excelled at Temple University, where she was named to the Hall of Fame. She coached women’s field hockey at Neshaminy High School for 19 seasons, where she compiled an outstanding 259-52-29 record.

Bob Sanders was a standout football player, who was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2007 while playing for the Indianapolis Colts. Before that, he was a Second Team All-American at Iowa and was All-State, while playing for Erie’s Cathedral Prep.

Wil Robinson was an outstanding basketball player at Laurel Highlands, leading them to the 1968 state championship. He later excelled at West Virginia University, where he was fourth highest scorer in Mountaineer basketball history. He then played in the American Basketball Association.

Gerald “Jerry” Conboy, was one of western Pennsylvania’s most legendary high school basketball coaches. He won more than 800 games during a 50-year career, winning two state championships.

Michael Payton was an outstanding quarterback at Virginia Military Institute. He was voted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2015. He played two years for Saskatchewan in the Canadian Football League.

Joseph Egresitz, was an outstanding quarterback at John Harris High School leading them to two undefeated seasons, and was a key player on Gettysburg College’s 1966 Lambert Cup winning team. Played in the NFL with the Cowboys, the Patriots and the Redskins and for Hamilton in the CFL.

The deceased inductees are:

Robert “Red” Morrell, was an outstanding multi-sport athlete in, football, baseball, basketball, and track. He achieved several high school track records, and later excelled on Penn State’s freshman football team. Penn State established the “Red Worrell Award” in his honor following his accidental death in 1957.

Richard “Dick” Harter, was an outstanding collegiate basketball coach. He excelled as a player at the University of Pennsylvania. He later became its basketball coach, where he earned “Coach of the Year” honors for the 1970-1971 season. He later coached at Penn State and Rider College. He was one of Coach Chuck Daly’s assistants for the Detroit Pistons when they won the championship. He was the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets’ first coach.

Sam “Jet” Jethroe, was an outstanding Negro League and Major League baseball player. He was a key cog with the Cleveland Buckeyes 1945 Negro American League team. He had a reputation for outstanding speed, hence his nickname “Jet.” Dodger great, pitcher Don Newcome, described Jethroe as “the quickest human being I’ve ever seen.” He was the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 1950 with the Boston Braves, leading the National League in stolen bases with 35 and batting .274.

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