The induction class for the 23rd annual Mid Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame has been announced, and it will be honored on Friday, June 17.
The ceremony will once again be held at the Willow Room in Rostraver Township, and will begin at 5:30 p.m.
“This class is filled with people from the Mon Valley who put a mark on sports,” Hall of Fame General Chairman Steve Russell said. “It is exciting to add them into our folklore.”
Eight new members will be inducted, bringing the total number of inductees to 236.
The Class of 2016 consists of John Ballein, Keith Bassi, Bobby Burns, Jim Edwards, Dr. Joseph Fedorchik, Ken Kulak, Brigadier General Dave Papak, and the late Wilbert Otto “Barney” Wolfe.
n Ballein graduated from Bentworth High School in 1979 and made a name for himself in football, baseball, and wrestling before becoming a standout linebacker at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
He began his coaching career, which led to multiple head coaching stints, as a graduate assistant in 1987 on Frank Beamer’s first Virginia Tech staff.
He is still employed by the university and is currently the Associate Athletic Director for football operations.
n A 1974 graduate from Ringgold High School, Bassi was a starting fullback in the same backfield that saw Joe Montana under center and also received the school’s top academic athlete award.
Bassi moved on to Yale, where he helped the Bulldogs win two Ivy League titles and was selected as Most Valuable Player in 1977.
n Burns was a 1957 graduate of Monessen High School and earned nine letters, three each in football, basketball, and in track before becoming an NAIA All-American in 1962.
He started his 17-year college football coaching career in 1964 at Michigan State and had stops at Holy Cross, Colgate, Cincinnati University, Boston University, and Boston College.
Burns spent the remainder of his career with the BLESTO scouting combine along with doing work for the Patriots, Browns, and Redskins.
n A 1982 graduate of Charleroi High School, Edwards made a name for himself on the football field, as well as the wrestling mat as he won a WPIAL wrestling title his senior year.
Edwards earned a football scholarship at Indiana State and was a three-year starter for the Sycamores.
n Fedorchik was a 1966 graduate of Bellmar High School where he won two WPIAL individual gymnastic championships and a 1966 PIAA title.
In 1968, he helped Michigan State University win the Big Ten gymnastic championship before graduating in 1971.
n A 1958 graduate from California High School, Kulak won nine letters, three each in football, basketball, and baseball.
He continued his career on the gridiron at California University of Pennsylvania as a quarterback before playing semi-pro football for the Pittsburgh Ironmen and then served as California High School’s football coach for five years.
n Papak was a 1971 graduate of Mon Valley Catholic High School where he was a two-sport letterman in football and basketball before receiving appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy.
There, he started 33 consecutive games as a defensive tackle and was the Defensive Player of the game in the 1973 Army-Navy game.
n Wolfe, born on January 9, 1876, in California, is considered a pioneer among the contingent of Mon Valley baseball players who made it to the Major Leagues.
He began his professional career with the New York Highlanders, now known as the Yankees, and also played for the Washington Senators.
Eighteen senior scholar-athletes will be honored at the banquet, with the students representing Belle Vernon Area, Bentworth, Brownsville, California, Charleroi, Elizabeth Forward, Monessen, Ringgold and Yough.
The Hall dates back to the original Mon Valley Sports Writers Hall of Fame, started in 1951 by newspapermen Floyd France and John Bunardzya, with the initial class consisting of Stan Musial and Bert Rechichar.
The MMVASHOF selection committee includes Chairman Brian Herman, Carl Crawley, Jr., Dale Hamer, Bill Hughes, Tom Jenkins, Bill Kubin, Randy Marino, Stan Milchovich, and Russell. Also, the MMVASHOF is one of 28 chapters of The Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame made up of four geographical regions.
There are 20 current members of the MMVASHOF that have been inducted into the State Hall of Fame.
Tickets are $40 each and seating is limited. To reserve tickets, contact Russell at (724) 258-3823 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information can be found at http://www.monvalleysportshalloffame.com and its display can be viewed in the lobby at Bentleyville’s Best Western Garden Inn.