The Uniontown Area High School Academics, Arts and Athletics Hall of Fame has announced its seventh class of inductees consisting of 12 individuals and one team.
Inductees will be introduced at the Uniontown vs. Deer Lakes football game on Friday Sept. 6 and then honored at an Induction Ceremony Brunch at the Uniontown High School cafeteria and auditorium at 10 a.m. Saturday Sept. 7.
Following is a capsule look at each of the inductees:
Dr. James Zaidan
Class of 1963. Zaidan received his undergraduate degree from West Virginia University and his M.B.A. from Emory University. He completed anesthesiology training and cardiac anesthesia fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. He served with the Army as a Major in the Medical Corps. He had a 39-year association with the Emory University School of Medicine. Zaidan is currently a professor emeritus at Emory University.
Dr. Darrell L. Uphold
Class of 1955. Uphold was an educator in the Uniontown Area School District for 40 years and also was a member of the football staff. In addition to classroom teacher he held several positions in the athletic department and was assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent.
Dr. Gary Brain
Class of 1964. Dr. Brain was a four-sport standout at UHS. He graduated from George Washington University and became a teacher at Laurel Highlands Elementary School. He taught drivers education, was elementary principal, high school principal and superintendent. Brain worked at Laurel Highlands for 43 years.
Mary Ann Zimcosky Rider
Class of 1979. Rider went to Vo Tech and was in the medical field. She attended nursing school and worked at the hospital. Now in the home health arena, she has been with the same health care agency for 25 years.
Dorthy Houck Constable
Class of 1968. After high school she was a member of “The Flirts,” a professional singing and dance group. The group did a USO tour of the orient and entertained in Vietnam. She was a dance instructor at Katy Lyon Dance Studio and opened her own dance studio in 1974. She taught dance to thousands of children over the past 44 years.
Edward “Al” Owens
Class of 1966. Owens has worked in radio and television and has won three Emmy Awards. He has been a newspaper columnist from 1997 to the present and in that time he has developed more than 50 websites. Owens is now working in video productions.
Class of 1999. Malinsky attended the University of North Carolina. After graduation she moved to New York City and worked as a voice actor for Fox 4 Kids TV as well as for the Cartoon Network. Has played several roles as an actor and a producer. She appeared in the 2018 film “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.”
Robert L. Fee
Class of 1926 (Deceased). Fee coached basketball, football and track at Lafayette Junior High School. He had a 38-year coaching career. Lafayette joined the Jr. WPIAL in 1948 and during that 26-year period when records were kept it posted a record of 384-85 in basketball. Fee's teams captured 14 Jr. WPIAL Section One titles, were co-champs four times and posted 16 undefeated seasons. At one point Lafayette had a 97-game winning streak.
Class of 1963. Cramer was a four-year letter winner in track. In 1963 he ran the 880 in 1:56.6, breaking the old record of 157:5. That record still stands today. He was part of the mile relay which set a school record of 3:26 that also still stands today.
Class of 1971. Holliday was an assistant at Texas and the head coach at Oklahoma State. He also served as an assistant with the Cowboys, Arizona State and Miami (Fla.). Holliday has coached with 14 teams that participated in the College World Series, including two that won the national championship. Holliday's career record at OSU was 1,698-691 record in 38 years as an assistant and head coach. He made 17 total College World Series appearances with four different schools.
“The first thought is like, 'Wow, Uniontown High School has been in existence for a long time,'” Holliday said. “You start wondering what did you do to warrant being in the Hall of Fame? That's one of those questions that I'm still thinking about. When someone tells you that you are going in the Hall of Fame it is humbling and makes you feel really special.
“My times at Uniontown High School were during my youth and during my development as a person. I've never ever denied where I'm from.”
Class of 1970. Hull played football and basketball for the Red Raiders. He was a three-year football starter and played basketball for three seasons at Uniontown and won two section titles. Hull was an All-County linebacker as a senior. He played football at Penn State from 1971-73 and was on three straight bowl teams -- Cotton, Orange and Sugar. Hull played in NFL for San Francisco in 1974 and Green Bay in 1975.
“I was very pleased when I got the word I was going in the Hall of Fame,” Hull said. “It's a great honor, great athletes before and after I went through there. So, yes, I feel it's a great honor and I'm humbled by the fact that I have been put in that category with those other great athletes.”
1981 WPIAL & PIAA basketball champions
The Red Raiders, coached by James “Lash” Nesser, posted a record of 32-2. Unionton marched to the WPIAL Class AAA championship by beating Norwin, 76-62, Bethel Park, 91-53, and Aliquippa in the final, 80-67. In the PIAA playoffs the Red Raiders dispatched Erie Prep, 50-41, Brashear, 79-65, Erie McDowell, 66-50, and Altoona, 80-73, then won the PIAA Class AAA state championship with a 73-61 win over Springfield Delco.
Class of 1964. Tony Mercadante is affectionately known as “Mister Maroon and White" and is very proud of that designation. "Merc" was on the 1962 WPIAL championship Red Raider squad. As a senior Mercadante was part of a Red Raider team that finished with a 7-1-1 record with a loss to Washington and a tie with Charleroi. Mercadante founded the Uniontown Area High School Academics, Arts and Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013. He is thrilled to be part of the 2019 Class in the Special Recognition category.
“I'm real apprehensive,” he said. “I didn't start this Hall of Fame and form it to get into it. But everybody voted me in this year, so I'm accepting the honor.”
Tickets for the Brunch are now on sale at $20. Please contact Anthony Mercadante at 724-430-0662 (home) or 301-643-1499 (cellphone). Tickets will also be available at the door of the event.
George Von Benko’s “Memory Lane” column appears in the Monday editions of the Herald-Standard. He also hosts a sports talk show on WMBS-AM radio from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.