The Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame will induct 12 new members – 10 living (including retired race car driver Michael Andretti and retired federal court Judge Edward N. Cahn) and two deceased (including former District XI official Betsy Wilson) – at the group’s annual induction ceremony and banquet on Saturday, May 12, 2018, at the Northampton Memorial Community Center, the organization has announced.
The new members to be inducted include former high school, college, recreational, semi-pro, and professional athletes, coaches, officials and media personalities who were among the very best in their particular sports discipline over the past 50 years from the Lehigh Valley and the Poconos.
Here are the inductees:
Michael Andretti of Nazareth is a retired professional race car driver and current car owner who won the 1991 CART PPG Indy Car World Series. A legend in CART, Michael drove in the series both before and after competing in Formula One racing with McLaren, becoming the third most successful driver in American open-wheeled history and the most successful in the CART era with 42 race victories. Since retiring as a driver, he now runs his own IndyCar team, which includes his son, Marco Andretti, as well as running a team in the FIA Formula E Championship series. Michael is the son of 2017 LVSHOF Inductee Mario Andretti.
Edward N. “Ed” Cahn, of Allentown, is perhaps best known as a United States District Court Judge; in fact, the U.S. District Courthouse in Allentown is named after him. But 50 years ago, “Eddie” Cahn was the point guard on the Allentown High School boys’ basketball team that won the last state basketball championship in the school’s history. He later attended Lehigh University, where he also played basketball and was the first Lehigh player to score 1,000 points; he also graduated magna cum laude and continued on to Yale Law School, where he earned an LL.B, before entering private practice and serving in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. The late President Gerald Ford appointed Cahn a federal judge in 1974; he became chief judge in 1993 and retired in 1998. The Edward N. Cahn Federal Building and United States Courthouse was renamed in his honor in 2001.
Chuck Frantz, of Northampton, is a former baseball player, a member of the Tri-County Baseball League Hall of Fame, the founder of the Lehigh Valley Yankee Fan Club, which has raised thousands of dollars for charitable causes, and the owner of Frantz Trophies & Plaques, the exclusive trophy and plaque sponsor of the Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame. He has raised and contributed literally tens of thousands of dollars to charitable causes throughout the Lehigh Valley and continues to make athletes young and old smile with his high quality trophies and plaques.
Rich Lerner, formerly of Allentown, is an accomplished golfer and one of the world’s most recognizable golf announcers and commentators, including his current, long-running job at The Golf Channel, which he joined in 1997. He currently serves as the play-by-play host for Golf Channel’s PGA Tour tournament coverage, and as a lead host for the network’s Live From programming. During Live From, Lerner writes and narrates essays on critical moments in the sport and on the players that create them. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Journalism Award for his documentary about Se Ri Pak, “A Champion’s Journey,” as well as a Telly Award for his contributions to a story on 1964 U.S. Open winner Ken Venturi. Lerner grew up working at his father’s driving range and miniature golf course in Allentown and played varsity golf at Parkland High School.
Jen Lobasso of Stroudsburg recently retired after 18 years as the head coach of the Stroudsburg High School field hockey program. During her tenure, Coach Lobasso compiled a record of 281-102-17, including an amazing run of 124-17-3 from 2011-2016. Her teams won four Mountain Valley Conference Championships, three Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Mountain Division Championships, and one Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Championship, beating 10-time PIAA State Champion Emmaus High School for the first ever EPC title. Her teams were District XI runners-up six times and were nationally ranked for four straight years from 2013-2016. Coach Lobasso was named the Pocono Record Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2009 and the Pennsylvania Field Hockey Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2014, when she also was a finalist for National Coach of the Year. Jen played field hockey at Lehighton High School and East Stroudsburg University.
Brad Pensyl of Swiftwater is the former boys basketball coach at Pocono Mountain and Pocono Mountain West High School, compiling a record of 523-207 in 35 seasons, the last 28 as head coach, including an amazing 299-90 record during his 15 years at Pocono Mountain West; his record includes 16 20-win season, two district and eight league titles, and qualifying for the District XI tournament in all 28 seasons and four appearances in the PIAA State Basketball Tournament as a head coach. He is the first and currently the only head coach in Monroe County and one of only four in District XI to win more than 500 games. He also coached 10 1,000 point scorers.
Craig Smith, formerly of Bethlehem, recently retired after nearly 30 years working in the golf industry in communications and media, most recently as the director of communications and media relations for the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). Prior to joining the GCSAA, Smith spent 20 years as he director of media relations for the United States Golf Association (USGA), overseeing operations and communications for the USGA’s 13 national championships held throughout the United States, including the U.S. Open, the U.S. Women’s Open, and the U.S. Senior Open. Smith is a graduate of Liberty High School and Moravian College.
Jeff Tipping, of Allentown, is a former top-level soccer player and long-time coach and mentor to many of the best youth soccer coaches in the Lehigh Valley. Tipping played college soccer at Hartwick College, which he helped to the 1977 NCAA Division III National Championship while earning Defensive MVP honors. After his collegiate career, he played for the Pennsylvania Stoners in the American Soccer League (ASL), winning the league title in 1980. He was later an assistant coach at Hartwick before taking charge at Muhlenberg College in Allentown. In 2002, Tipping was named the Director of Coaching Education of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), which is, with 16,000 members, the largest coaches’ organization in the United States. He has been involved with the education program since 1983; his contributions included introducing the organization’s highest level coaching course, its goalkeeping diploma and bilingual (Spanish) coaching programs. Locally, he has trained some of the best coaches in the area while running some of the best-attended and acclaimed youth soccer camps.
Cindy Werley Baugh, currently of Charlotte, NC, is a former Emmaus High School, University of North Carolina, and USA Field Hockey Women’s National Team star field hockey player. Casual fans may not know that she also was a 1,000 point scorer in basketball and a standout softball pitcher for the Hornets. However, she is a household name for field hockey. During her illustrious career on the pitch, Werley accumulated numerous accolades and titles, including being named to the USA Field Hockey under 21 Team in 1992 and the Women’s National Team in 1994. She was a member of the American team that competed at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, GA, as well as numerous other international tournaments, including the Pan American Games twice and the 2000 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in England. Werley was a 1993 graduate of Emmaus, where she was a member of a team that was considered one of the best high school teams in the nation. She later played collegiately at UNC, leading her team to two straight national championships in 1996 and 1997 while being named to the All-ACC Team and the All-ACC Tournament team in 1994, 1995, and 1997, the ACC Tournament Most Valuable Player in 1994, 1996, and 1997, the ACC Player of the Year in 1996 and 1997, and to the NCAA All-Tournament Team in 1994, 1996, and 1997. She also was named a National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) All-American in 1994, 1996, and 1997, while also winning the Honda Sports Award in 1996 and 1997 as the best female athlete in the country for field hockey. She graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1998. She later worked as an assistant coach at Duke, Louisville, and UNC.
Mike Williams, of Allentown, is arguably the most successful coach in the history of Northwestern Lehigh High School wrestling program, compiling a career record of 124-17-3 in six seasons as a head coach and coaching for 20 years overall. His record includes six straight winning seasons as head coach, eight District Championships, five Regional Championships, a second place team finish in States, one individual State Champion, and two wrestlers named All-Americans, four State place winners, 10 Regional Qualifiers, 12 District Medalists, and one state runner-up. Following the 2006-2007 season, during which his team went 24-1 in dual meets and outscored opponents 1305 to 342, Williams was named The Morning Call Wrestling Coach of the Year, the District XI Head Coach of the Year, and the PA Wrestling Head Coach of the Year. He was later inducted into the Northwestern Lehigh High School Hall of Fame. Williams is a graduate of William Allen High School in Allentown, where he won a state title as a member of his junior high school team, and a graduate of Lock Haven State College (now Lock Haven University).
John Fallon “Jack” Pressman, of Allentown, was perhaps the most successful high school cross country coach in local history. He was the head cross country coach from 1997-2009, head track coach from 1998-2009, coach of the 2001 PIAA AAA champion girls cross country team, the 2005 PIAA AAA runner up girls cross country team, the four time District XI champions in girls cross country, and three time Lehigh Valley conference champions in girls cross country. He coached Frances Koons to a State Championship in cross country in 2003 and a State Track Championship in 2004. Jack was elected as a Lehigh County Commissioner from 1982-1984 and as a Pennsylvania State Representative from 1985-1990; he was the Democratic Nominee for Mayor of Allentown in 1993, and he was an adjunct professor at LCCC & NCC. He also was a former member of the Lehigh Valley Velodrome Committee. Jack was a 1971 graduate of Allentown Central Catholic High School, received his BS from Cedar Crest College, and did Masters study at East Stroudsburg University. Pressman died in July of 2009 while hiking on Mt. Langley in Eastern California. The hike was to benefit inner city youth’s participation in wildlife activities.
Betsy Wilson, of Emmaus, WAS the embodiment of girls sports in District XI to many in the Lehigh Valley. Wilson was a coach and teacher at Moravian Academy in Bethlehem from 1984 to 1998; she also served as the school’s Athletic Director from 1989 to 1996. She also was a former Chairperson of the National Federation of High School Sports (NFHSS) and served at the Women’s Official Representative for the Board of Control for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (P.I.A.A.). She was the PA State Rules Interpreter for 35 years and was an official for women’s field hockey from 1956 to 2010. She also coached girls’ basketball and softball in the East Penn School District. Wilson was a graduate of Scranton Central High School, and earned her Bachelor’s degree in physical education from West Chester University and her Master’s degree in education from East Stroudsburg University. Wilson died in October of 2016.
The group also will be recognizing eight outstanding high school senior student athletes with its Big School and Small School Multi-Sport Athlete of the Year Awards and Scholar Athlete of the Year Awards for both boys and girls sports and both Male and Female College Athlete of the Year Awards and Male and Female College Scholar Athlete of the Year Awards for the 2017-18 academic year.
The high school and college award winners will be announced in May – at or near the conclusion of the spring sports season.
Nominations will be accepted for the high school and college awards from all high school athletic directors in PIAA District XI and from the public until May 1. To be considered for the high school awards, a student athlete must a senior student athlete who has excelled in TWO OR MORE SPORTS during high school for both the athlete of the year and scholar athlete awards and in addition must have been an outstanding student to be considered for the scholar athlete awards. To be considered for the college athlete of the year and scholar athlete of the year awards, it is not necessary to have played more than one sport in college, but additional consideration will be given to nominees who do.
This year’s event will be held on Saturday, May 12, beginning at 5:30 p.m., with doors open for mingling, autographs, cash bar, bidding on silent auction items, and purchase of raffle tickets, followed by a country style dinner beginning at 6:00 p.m. and the annual Induction Ceremony and Awards beginning at 7:00 p.m. Sportswriter Keith Groller of The Morning Call will emcee the event, and Service Electric Cable TV-2 Sports is expected to tape the event for later broadcast.
St. Luke’s University Health Network is the exclusive Event Sponsor of the Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame Annual Induction Ceremony and Banquet. Discover Lehigh Valley is a marketing partner, Royal Graphic Studios is the exclusive Printing Sponsor, and Franz Trophies & Plaques is the exclusive Trophy and Plaque Sponsor.
The Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 2009 by Don Zangl and Joe Zemba, Director Emeritus, as the Lehigh Valley Recreational Sports Hall of Fame to recognize recreational athletes who excelled in their sports in the Lehigh Valley. It was later renamed the Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame and began to recognize former high school, college, amateur, semi-pro, and professional athletes in addition to recreational athletes from the Lehigh Valley and later the Poconos who excelled in one or more sports as an athlete, coach, manager, organizer, builder, official, announcer, sportswriter, or in some other way related to sports while living in the Lehigh Valley and beyond.
The group reorganized and incorporated last year as the Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame, Inc., and it also was approved as the Lehigh Valley – Pocono Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in May of last year.
The LVSHOF is run by an 11-member board of directors headed by Edward John White of Allentown as Chairman/Chapter President, Joe Mayer of Easton as Vice Chairman/Chapter Vice President, Luiz D. Garcia of Allentown as Secretary, and Ron Spinner of Stroudsburg as Treasurer.
The other members elected at the board’s annual reorganization meeting in December are Mark Brown, Angel “El Bravo” Cruz, Alden “Red” Fetherman, Pete Heard, Bill Reese, and Jeff Zettlemoyer; the board is currently seeking applications for one additional board member.
For more information on the Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame or the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame or to purchase tickets or advertising for the May 12 Lehigh Valley Sports Hall of Fame banquet, please contact LVSHOF Board Chairman Edward John White via telephone at 610-739-3414 or via email at LVSportsHOF@gmail.com.
Information provided by: